SKSD to delay start of in-class instruction for kindergarten, first-grade students

School district cites a ‘steady increase’ in COVID-19 cases in county

PORT ORCHARD — South Kitsap School District will not welcome kindergarten and first-grade students to begin in-class sessions as had been planned for Monday.

School spokeswoman Amy Miller announced Friday morning that the students’ return to campus will be delayed to an undetermined date due to an increase in COVID-19 cases in Kitsap County.

In a letter to district families and staff, Miller wrote that positive case trends show a steady increase in coronavirus infections in the county. She said rates in Kitsap County are rising and are expected to meet the state Department of Health’s “High” COVID-19 activity level of over 75 cases per 100,000 residents over 14 days.

“At this time, we will not move forward with Kindergarten and first-grade students on campus next week,” the statement from SKSD read. “Local health officials have advised us that pausing the return of additional students to in-person learning is the safest choice for our school community.”

Acknowledging the delay will disappoint students, families and staff, the statement read, “We also understand that our families have been adjusting schedules and students were excited to see teachers and classmates in person. Please know that any changes to elementary class assignments with SK Flex and SK Online will remain in place.”

Miller said the pause does not affect the small number of students who are currently receiving in-person instruction or participating in limited on-campus activities.

“We will continue our communication with Kitsap Public Health District and will further assess our Return to Campus timeline next week. We understand time is needed to adjust schedules and families can expect frequent follow-up messages as the timeline is adjusted,” the statement read.

Bainbridge Island, Bremerton and Central Kitsap schools have postponed their hybrid in-classroom teaching to January.