Reopening Updates

Reopening Updates
Posted on 03/30/2021
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This page will have the most recent news and updates on reopening. Additional COVID-19 information and Reopening resources can be found on the COVID-19 and Reopening Page.


March 30, 2021

We are so excited to announce our plan to have all Kindergarten through 5th Grade blended learning students back at school five days per week. This will begin after Spring Break [see below for start dates].

Grades K-2
    Starts April 12
   No In-Person Learning
    April 1 and 2
In-Person Learning
[5 days a week]
Distance Learning
(Family choice)
 Grades 3-5
Starts April 14
No In Person Learning
April 12-13
 In-Person Learning
[5 days a week] 
Distance Learning
(Family choice) 
Starts April 14

Blended Learning
[T / W / Fr in-person] 

For Blended Learning Kindergarten, 1st Grade, and 2nd Grade students there will be no in-person school on Thursday, April 1st, and Friday, April 2nd to allow teachers time to rearrange their classrooms to accommodate both their A and B Cohort students in the same classroom. All students will report to their same classroom teacher on Monday April 12th with an 8:15 AM start time. School dismissal will still be 2:50 PM, except on Wednesdays, when it will be 12:50 PM.

For Blended Learning 3rd Grade, 4th Grade, and 5th Grade students there will be no in-person school on Monday, April 12th, and Tuesday, April 13th to allow teachers time to rearrange their classrooms to accommodate both their A and B Cohort students in the same classroom. All students will report to their same classroom teacher on Wednesday, April 14th with an 8:15 AM start time. School dismissal on Wednesdays will be 12:50 PM, School dismissal on all other days will still be 2:50 PM.

For current Blended Learning OPEPO students, they will continue in their same classrooms with the same teachers and will attend their regular Tuesday and Friday, plus Wednesday for three days a week of in-person learn. Wednesday from 8:15--12:50 will be an additional in person learning day. Given that OPEPO is not making the changes other classrooms are they will continue on their same schedule and have their first additional Wednesday in-person learning time on April 14th from 8:15--12:50. This means for the week before and after spring break OPEPO students will have in person school on March 30th, April 2nd, April 13th, April 14th, and April 16th.

Students will have distance learning opportunities through their playlist until the day they return in person for five days per week in person learning. After this, there will only be playlists for distance learning students.

Waitlist for Changing Learning Models
There is limited capacity to add additional students in blended learning. If you have not yet contacted the school, current distance learners should contact the school to be placed on a waitlist for in-person learning. Call the office 360-379-4535 or email Debi Munro


March 26, 2021

We are working on updating our prior expansion plans for in-person learning based on Governor Jay Inslee’s announcement yesterday that the Department of Health would adopt the CDC guidance for schools.

The staff is in the process of working with all internal district stakeholders to work on how to best do this and are sharing information as we have it available. Below are the plans as they stand today, more details will be provided next week.

Salish Coast Elementary

Grades K-2
    Starts April 12
    April 1 and 2
In-Person Learning
[5 days a week]
Distance Learning
(Family choice)
Grade 3-5 and OPEPO
 To Be Determined

Grades K-2 will start 5 days a week of in-person learning April 12 with asynchronous learning April 1 and 2.

Our goal is to get all 3-5 grade students in for 5 days a week of in-person learning. But we need additional time to work through some of the logistics to determine the feasibility. We will provide more information next week.

OPEPO is providing a unique program this year, and we are working directly with the staff and families to determine next steps.

There is limited capacity to add additional students in blended learning. If you have not yet contacted the school, current distance learners should contact the school to be placed on a waitlist for in-person learning.

Blue Heron Middle School

Grade 6-8
   Start April 19
   April 12 and 13
 Blended Learning
[4 days in-person]
 Distance Learning
(Family choice)

Starting April 19 Blended Learners will attend four days a week of in-person learning with Wednesday asynchronous learning.

Distance Learners will have four days a week of Zoom instruction with Wednesday asynchronous learning.

There will be asynchronous days April 12 and 13 to allow time for teachers to make this transition. April 15 and 16 will be A/B cohort days. Students attending Wednesday intervention will continue to attend every Wednesday.

Please contact Kirsten Bledsoe by March 31 at 3pm if you would like to change your students learning model. As space is available we will accommodate changes.

Port Townsend High School

Grades 9-12
   Start April 19
Blended Learning
[M/Th or T/F in-person]
Distance Learning
(Family choice)

Starting April 19 there will be two options available for students at PTHS:
Two days of in-person learning attending a typical six period day with instruction in all classes, or distance learning. If your family has not yet let the school know that your distance learner will be returning to blended learning by March 31 at 3pm.

Click here to see the group assignments and detailed schedule.

Special Education case managers will provide a detailed schedule with additional on campus learning time.

We will reevaluate the ability to add more in-person time this school year through reducing social distancing to three feet after we successfully return students to this six period day model.
More information will come from the schools in the next few weeks.


Grades K-12
Distance Learning
(Family choice for in-person enrichment options) 

OCEAN will continue to be a distance learning program for the remainder of the school year. Teachers are offering some limited in-person enrichment activities and study support. Families should work directly with their conferencing teacher with any questions.

More Information
At this time, expansion of in-person learning will happen first for those students who have been in the blended learning model. Then based on available spots, we will be able to determine if there will be room for students in the distance only learning model to transfer over to the blended model. The short explanation for this is that the district based teacher assignments on which models parents chose in August. For example, a number of families chose to join the OCEAN ALE program this year therefore Salish Coast Elementary lost enrollment and therefore teaching staff who were transferred over to the OCEAN program. This is one example of the staffing changes we had to make in August to accommodate what our families selected.

However, the added benefit for this step in expanding our in-person learning this spring is that we will have time to work with the new distancing guidelines that allow for the three feet distance in the classroom, but maintain the six feet distancing in all other areas and in between adults. This will help all of our schools plan and practice for the fall return.

March 23, 2021
Kindergarten - 2nd Grade Blended Students Return to Full In-Person Learning April 12

District Continuing to Consider Options for Grades 3-12

We are excited to announce that starting April 12, 2021 Kindergarten through 2nd grade blended learning students at Salish Coast Elementary will attend school in-person full time, five days a week. The school day will run from 8:15am-2:50pm, with early release every Wednesday at 12:50pm.

All K-2 students will remain with the same classroom teacher. All current K-2 distance only learners will continue in distance learning. OPEPO students will all stay in the same blended model they are currently in.

To allow staff time to support this change, K-2 blended learners only will have asynchronous at-home learning days April 1 and 2. Classrooms will be shifting locations to accommodate appropriate 6 foot spacing for students in the classroom. Look for more communication from the classroom teacher and the school before spring break.

Our staff are continuing to analyze a number of different options for grades 3-12. Our school board has asked staff to continue working on returning students for additional in-person learning whenever possible to do so safely. Last week the CDC updated guidance for schools, and we are still awaiting an announcement from the Washington State Department of Health about how the new guidance will be adopted in our state. We will keep families updated with more information when we have it. Any other changes that we are able to make to our learning model schedules would take place no sooner than April 12.

We thank you for your continued support. We know that each of our families has a vested interest in having schools fully reopened. Over the course of this calendar year, we have also learned that each family will make choices based on what is right for their child or children. We know that there isn’t one plan that meets all needs or family situations. But we are dedicated to continuing to work towards getting more in-person learning time for each student given the current case data in our county.

March 19, 2021

Thank you to all the families that have responded to our recent survey. We have responses from 565 students on their families preferences. We are using the survey results to help us make decisions about what types of changes we can make to the current plan to increase in-person learning options for as many students as possible.

Our staff are working hard to analyze a number of different options and current constraints. Our school board has asked staff to continue working on returning students for additional in-person learning whenever possible to do so safely with an emphasis on high school students who have not received as much in-person learning this year and who may be struggling more with mental health issues due to social isolation. We anticipate we will not make any changes until after spring break, and will provide families with details when a plan has been finalized.

Additionally today the CDC released new school guidance that may impact many of the factors that have previously limited our capacity to serve students in person. While the CDC offers guidance, it is our state health department (DOH) that issues guidance to schools. We hope to receive some more information from the DOH about how the new guidance will be adopted in our state and when. However, the guidance may reference opening up schools in the fall and not necessarily this spring. We then will be in consultation with our county department of health. Jefferson County is in a unique position because we have offered in-person learning since the beginning of the school year due to our relatively low case data. Many districts around the state are just now beginning to open their doors to in-person learning.

What the survey said
We heard from families that if we can not get kids back for five days of in-person learning:
  • High school families would prefer students have no more than 2 days of zoom classes.
  • Middle school families would prefer to maintain two full days of learning rather than transition to half days.
  • Elementary families are evenly split between maintaining two full days of learning or transitioning to a half day model.
  • About 60% of elementary families do not want their students to change teachers even if that would allow us to offer five days a week of in-person education.
  • Elementary families asked us to prioritize getting K-2 back for 5 days a week of in-person learning.
  • Many families that have students participating in distance learning plan to continue for the rest of the school year, but some would return if we can safely increase the amount of in-person instructional time.
Some families wanted more information about our staff’s ability to get vaccinated. All of our school staff have had the opportunity to get vaccinated starting March 4, 2021. 98% of our staff who responded to our internal survey have already received a vaccination or will get vaccinated soon.

Whatever changes we make we are committed to:
  • Prioritizing the health and safety of staff and students
  • Maintaining access to school meals for all students
  • Providing school bus transportation for students to attend school
  • Supporting the academic and social emotional needs of all students
  • Communicating with families and listening to feedback
  • Working with our union leadership as we move forward


March 4, 2021

Dear Community Members,

According to the New York Times this week, Jefferson and Clallam County schools have a low enough case rate and positivity rate to open up for full in-person learning per the CDC guidelines. And this is somewhat true, up to a point. And the point is the six feet. Six feet is the required distance for social distancing which is one of the rules we have to abide by to be open for any in-person learning in Washington state. This guidance can be found in the CDC guidelines themselves along with the Washington State Department of Health Guidelines.

The normal capacity for class sizes is dependent upon the room size. The majority of our classrooms were built to accommodate 24-30 students without any social distancing. With social distancing, we can only accommodate groups of 15-18 depending on square footage of the classroom space and staffing needs. Currently it is the social distancing guidelines that hold us back from fully reopening due to the limited classroom capacity.

We will be watching the data closely over the course of the next four weeks to determine if the current data is indicative of the end of pandemic or whether there will be a fourth wave due to the variants. We have noticed that most regions and countries that open up too soon and loosen restrictions tend to have additional upticks in virus activity. We also remain hopeful that the race to vaccinate will overtake the spread of the variants. We are working with Jefferson Healthcare to help get school staff vaccinated as they are now eligible under the current vaccine phase.

At the beginning of April, our school district will be on spring break. We know that everyone has a great desire to travel since we have all made sacrifices the last year and stayed close to home. If you are inclined to travel, it is best to stay in the Pacific Northwest. Oregon and Washington are by far the safest states to be in at this time. And the data may spike again after spring break depending upon the level of travel in and out of our county and our personal actions.

We want to acknowledge that we deeply admire all of our families. And recognize that you are doing the hardest job right now keeping your children engaged in their learning and supporting them in all of their subjects. Knowing you are doing this and at the same time financially and emotionally supporting your family is truly heroic. We are grateful that you have stayed with your local school district and supported public schools. We know you have many choices now when it comes to educating your children. We continue to learn more about how to reach and support our students given the current constraints and I can say that all staff members are working hard to make our current learning model the best it can be under these circumstances.

Sandra Gessner-Crabtree

January 6, 2021

Thank you for all you are continuing to do to support your students in this very challenging year. We know every family is impacted by this pandemic, and that students are encountering many challenges.

Return to Blended Learning
Based on the current guidance from the state and our local health department we plan for students to return to in person cohorts on the following dates:

Salish Coast Elementary: January 19
Blue Heron Middle School and Port Townsend High School: February 1

Student Schedule
Students will attend on their same scheduled cohort days that they attended before Thanksgiving. Families wishing to change learning models should contact the school office directly, and changes will be accommodated as space is available. Our return to blended learning dates are subject to change if there are any significant changes to the community health data or guidance. We will continue to communicate to families about any changes.

Continue Health and Safety Protocols
Our staff and students have been doing a great job with the health and safety protocols and they will continue to be in place. Students and staff will continue to wear masks, wash hands regularly, maintain six feet of physical distancing, and complete daily health attestations and temperature checks. Our strong adherence to the healthy and safety protocols will allow in person learning to continue.

We ask that any students that are coming on campus follow the state guidance and self-quarantine for 14 days after out of state travel, and not attend in person school until that time has passed.

Student Support
We know how challenging this school year has been for students and families. We are hearing from many students and families how important the connections with teachers and peers are for students. Staff are working on ideas for how to increase social connections and opportunities for each student to connect with their peers and we always welcome your ideas and input. Please reach out to teachers and school counselors if your student is needing additional support now.


December 17, 2020

Updated Guidance for Schools
On Wednesday afternoon Governor Inslee announced updated guidance for schools that may allow Port Townsend Schools to return to our blended learning model at some point in January or February, as well as resume some other school activities.

We will make these changes no sooner than January 19th and most likely at the end of the semester if our county Health Department can support these changes. We will update families in early January as we see updated information on the case numbers and positivity rates after the holidays.

You can help reduce the spread of COVID-19 and get students back to school for blended learning by following all the guidance for COVID safety including masking and physical distancing outside of your household, limiting in-person gathering, and regular hand washing. In addition we ask that any students that are coming on campus for services follow the state guidance and self-quarantine for 14 days after out of state travel, and not attend in person school until that time has passed.

Winter Break Begins
Friday, December 18 is the last day of school before winter break. No classes or school services will take place from December 21-January 1.

Over winter break there will be no food service delivery or pick up. Meals will resume January 4.

November 21, 2020

Dear Families,

After careful consideration and weighing the risks and benefits of keeping schools open for blended in person learning, we are announcing that we will pause our in-person blended learning and we will begin district wide distance learning after Thanksgiving Break, Monday, November 30, 2020.

With the significantly increased rate of community infection, our blended in-person learning model is vulnerable to frequent disruption due to out-of-school exposure of students and staff, and we are making the decision to transition now in a planned and organized way.

Our staff have a clear plan to provide high quality distance learning for students, including the Playlists on the eLearning webpage, Google Classrooms and SeeSaw, Zoom, and pre-recorded lessons. Attendance and grading procedures will remain the same. If you are unsure of your student’s distance learning schedule look for communications from your teacher or school and find Zoom links in the class playlists. You can always contact a teacher directly if you have questions about the schedule.

Important services will continue: Students who receive special education and other intervention services will be contacted individually with a schedule for in-person services.

At this time, we do not have a specific date that we will return to the blended learning model. We will continue to monitor the community transmission with the Jefferson County Health Department and will communicate with families regularly. When the health data indicates that community spread has reduced to a level where we may be able to return without significant disruptions, we will resume the blended learning model.

With the holiday season upon us each of our choices over the next few weeks will determine how quickly the cases decline in our community and allow us to return to in-person blended instruction. Please follow the governor's orders for no indoor social gatherings and limit outdoor social gatherings to 5 people. As a community we can all support one another through careful and thoughtful actions and behaviors.


November 18, 2020

While we are continuing to see a rise in COVID-19 cases in Jefferson County, the cases are not associated with transmission in our schools. However, if the community transmission levels continue to rise, we may need to pause blended learning cohorts and transition to distance learning for almost all students.

We have not yet made a final decision about when or if the transition will happen. This gives us time to prepare for changes in learning models rather than making abrupt changes with no notice. We will not be closing schools as we did in the spring, and will still be able to offer limited in-person support for some students receiving special education or intervention services.

If a transition to distance learning is needed families can expect the continuation of:
  • Daily meal delivery and pick up
  • YMCA childcare at Salish Coast Elementary
  • Current grading practices
  • Daily attendance tasks
  • Playlists and Google Classrooms/SeeSaw
  • Technology support for school issued devices
  • Home internet support for low income families
We will not make the decision to transition to distance learning without first considering the large impact this will have on students and families. While schools that implement proper health and safety measures are not seeing significant in school transmission, continuing our blended learning model with the high rate of community spread may lead to frequent disruption due to out of school exposure of students and staff. We will continue to monitor the situation, and will provide an additional update before next Monday morning about our next steps.

Thank you for your continued flexibility as we adjust to this changing situation.


November 15, 2020

Today Governor Inslee announced additional restrictions on business and private gatherings. There are no additional restrictions on K-12 schools or on continuing our in-person blended learning cohorts. Students will continue to attend on their scheduled days for in-person instruction, and the YMCA childcare program at Salish Coast Elementary will continue to operate. The decisions to prioritize keeping schools open where possible are based on prioritizing the educational needs of students.

In order for us to keep schools open for in-person learning we will need all families, students, and staff to follow all the state guidance both in and out of school to help stop the spread of COVID-19:
  • Do not come to school sick, or if you have been exposed to someone with COVID-19
  • Always wear a mask at school and when out in public
  • Wash your hands regularly
  • Maintain six feet of distance between you and others when outside your house
  • Do not have indoor social gatherings with people outside your household
  • Limit outdoor gatherings to five people
  • Self-quarantine for 14 days after out of state travel
At school we will be continuing our health and safety measures:
  • Wellness screenings and temperature checks
  • Masking
  • Maintaining physical distancing
  • Exclusion of anyone with symptoms
  • No visitors in the school
  • Increased cleaning of surfaces
In addition, we are asking that families call and make an appointment before visiting the school or district office.

Our staff and students have been doing a good job following our health and safety protocols on campus, due to these circumstances we are taking a cautious approach and we are stopping the on campus band cohort rehearsals at Blue Heron and PTHS, and PTHS sports conditioning.  We will determine when these activities can safely resume based on the community transmission data.

The school district will be asking all families and staff to follow the travel advisory issued on Friday. If students or staff travel out of state, they will need to practice self-quarantine for 14 days after returning home before coming back to their school. Students will participate in distance learning during this time. 

We continue to closely monitor the spread of COVID-19 in Jefferson County and work closely with Jefferson County Public Health to make decisions about maintaining in-person cohorts. We know that closing in-person learning will have a large impact on students and families, so we plan to keep our in-person cohorts open as long as we continue to be advised it is safe to do so. 
If your family is experiencing additional challenges or financial hardship please reach out to your school counselor or teacher, and we are able to connect families with resources in the community to provide assistance with food, housing, financial assistance, mental health care, and internet connectivity. There are also many community resources linked on this local page:

School Contact Information
District Office, 360-379-4501
Port Townsend High School, 360-379-4520
Blue Heron Middle School/OCEAN, 360-379-4540
Salish Coast Elementary School, 360-379-4535


November 11, 2020

As you may be aware public health officials are seeing an increased number of COVID-19 cases across the state, and even in our county over the past few weeks. Jefferson County Public Health has advised us that it is likely that there will be a surge in cases over the next few months.

Our schools are following the WA State Department of Health Decision Tree, which provides recommendations for the conditions necessary for in-person learning. Our superintendent meets regularly with the local health department, and Dr. Locke, and regularly monitor the COVID-19 conditions in our community.

If COVID-19 case continue to grow in our community, we may at some point need to move some or all students to distance only learning for a period of time. The closure of in person learning for a cohort, school, or the district may occur for just short period of time, a few weeks, or until the community spread of COVID-19 decreases to lower levels.

Ultimately, we will follow the data and science to make decisions about keeping schools open, and students and staff safe. This means we will be tracking the data on a daily and weekly basis to determine the next best course of action. 

The playlists will continue to be the anchor student learning for each week at each grade level and each content area so that learning can continue whether cohorts are meeting in person or in distance only. If a cohort, classroom, school or the whole district has to go to distance learning only, the transition will be easier than it was last spring since students and teachers all know how to use the playlist. 

Each school has a plan in place for student schedules if blended learners transition to distance learning for some period of time. If we transition to all distance learning, High School students will follow the distance learning schedule, Blue Heron students will follow the same schedule as if they were at school and teachers will be available on Zoom during the scheduled class times, Salish Coast students will get a Zoom schedule from their teacher. The same expectations of daily attendance check ins, turning in assignments, and grading will stay in place. If we need to close in person learning we will work to get all students back to blended learning as soon as the science of the pandemic allows.

Now is a good time to remember that the choices we each make outside of school will impact the schools ability to stay open for in person learning. Family gatherings are one of the largest transmitters of COVID-19. If family gathers must occur, do them wisely, especially if you go outside our county or others from outside our county come in. The Department of Health has helpful Safe Gathering Guidelines. 

Thank you for all that families are doing to support masking, handwashing, and social distancing, and limiting gatherings to help keep us all healthy and in school.

November 4, 2020

Starting November 4, 2020 we will begin using an updated Return to School Flow Chart based on recommendations from Jefferson County Public Health.

What will change
  • COVID-19 symptoms are now classified as either less specific and more specific
  • Someone with two or fewer less specific symptoms that resolve in 24 hours can return to school without testing or evaluation by a medical professional
What will not change
  • People with any COVID-19 symptoms will continue to be excluded from school
  • All other protocols such as masking, handwashing, and social distancing will continue
If your student has any of the below COVID-19 symptoms please keep them home from school and contact the attendance office. If your student develops a COVID-19 symptom at school they will be isolated until you can pick them up. Please make sure we have your current contact information on file.

COVID-19 Symptoms
More specific:
Fever (100.4°) or chills
Shortness of breath/difficulty breathing
New loss of taste or smell

Less specific:
Muscle or body aches
Sore throat
Congestion or runny nose
Nausea or vomiting


September 8, 2020

Food Service

For distance learners and blended learners at home days, breakfast and lunch are available for pick up at Salish Coast Elementary from 9am-11am every day. Blended learners at school will receive meals if pre-ordered. To pre-order meals you will need to complete the Food Service Survey linked here. Meal delivery will begin later this week. All meals are no cost to enrolled students through December 31, 2020.

Tech Support
We are aware of an issue impacting some students from emailing their teachers. Our tech team is working to resolve that issue as quickly as possible. Need help with other technology issues, visit our Tech Support Page,

Questions about student schedule
If you need more information on your student’s schedule please contact their teachers or the front office of the student’s school.


September 1, 2020

Thank you for your patience and understanding as we have worked to get things ready for this very unique school year

Health and Safety Guidelines for Students Attending In Person
As part of our reopening plan, careful consideration was given to the safety of staff and students. We are fortunate to be able to provide “in person” learning. Listed below are some critical safety measures that allow us to open our doors. For all families with students attending school in-person here are important health and safety guidelines”


  • All students and staff will wear masks on campus.
  • All students and staff will have their temperature taken before entering PTSD buildings.
  • All students and staff will complete a daily wellness screening.
  • Students will work in dedicated cohort groups that are consistent each day.
Health and Safety Guidelines overview is found here.

Daily Wellness Screening
The Wellness Screening is a requirement each day before entry into the building. The process is simple. You can complete it through the Skyward website or Skyward Smartphone App.

Log into your Family Skyward Account.
  • Answer two screening questions
  • Click “submit”
How to use the Skyward App Video.
How to use the Skyward Website Directions.

If you cannot remember your Skyward password or don’t think you have an account, please reach out to your student’s school for assistance.

Chromebook Distribution
Chromebooks were handed out for high school students last week, and Blue Heron students this week. If your student has not yet picked up their chromebook please contact the school office to make arrangements. Salish Coast and OCEAN students will pick up chromebooks the week of Sept 8.

Tech Support
Middle and high school students should log onto their device from home and make sure they can open Zoom, school email, and google classroom. Self help videos, and tech support emails can be found on our tech support page. More information is added each day as we build our support video library. Please reach out if you have a problem so we can fix it as quickly as possible.

Student Schedules
Students schedules and teacher assignments at Blue Heron and Salish Coast will be provided to families this week, as well as additional school specific information. Salish Coast Elementary will be holding family conferences Sept 8 and 10 to help all families get started this school year.

OCEAN families will be contacted directly by the teachers to set up conferences.
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