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Schools remain closed for the rest of the 2019-20 school year

Schools remain close for the rest of the 2019-20 school year
Posted on 04/07/2020
Schools remain close for the rest of the 2019-20 school year

April 7, 2020

Schools remain closed for the rest of the 2019-20 school year

Port Angeles, WA - Governor Inslee announced yesterday that all schools will remain closed for the rest of the 2019-20 school year in order to slow the spread of COVID-19.

We know continued school closures are difficult for students, staff, families and the entire community. The extended closure also raises many questions for all of us. We are working to answer those questions as soon as possible. This is what we know now:

•   Our teachers will continue to work with students through the last scheduled day of school. We are committed to partnering with families and the community to support our students' learning while they are at home.

•   We will continue to provide meals for children Monday-Friday, at least through the last scheduled day of school.

•   Community partners will continue to offer childcare for children of healthcare workers, first responders, and other essential workers.

•   We continue to work on a plan to support high school seniors. We anticipate much needed guidance coming soon from both Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction and State Board of Education. Also, we are still developing the concept of graduation. This will depend greatly on the social distancing recommendations from the State.

With all that in mind, we are in the process of creating a distance learning model that will meet the needs of our district, its students and families. We are working to provide more access to technology (the device and Wi-Fi). Last week the district issued nearly 300 Chromebooks, and we will continue to do so on an as-needed basis. We are also building Wi-Fi capabilities and working with community partners, such as the City, the County, service providers, independent business, the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe, etc.

Port Angeles School District has been using digital tools to enhance instruction for over three years. We will be extending this practice to provide instruction remotely. We will be focusing on a few tools as we begin, specifically the Google Suite. The district has incredible success with this Google platform within the classroom. We will be embracing much of this suite for distance learning. Google Classroom, Google Docs, Google Sheets, and Google Slides are a few of these tools. We will also be leveraging instructional videos for students to follow along with certain lessons.

The district understands that not all students have access to the internet. We created a Wi-Fi map showing free available Wi-Fi within our area. This map is available by going to any of our district websites and clicking on the banner at the top of the page. Many of these spaces are outdoor so you can connect and still follow rules for social distancing. PASD is also investing in Wi-Fi technology that we can integrate into school buses. We will be using CradlePoint technology to propagate a cellular signal via Wi-Fi to students within 400 feet of the bus. This is an exciting time because this allows us to bring internet into neighborhoods via the traditional school bus. By installing cellular-connected routers with Wi-Fi access capability in a school bus and parking that bus in a neighborhood, students can access the Internet and lessons from their phone, tablet or computer. More details to come regarding the school bus Wi-Fi.

The distance learning model relies heavily on devices for students. Much of our content can be accessed from a smartphone. Within the classroom, we have been using Chromebooks; the Chromebooks are easy to use and provide access to the Google Suite, which is one of our primary tools for online instruction. We have been providing Chromebooks to students who do not have any other way to access online instruction. Again, this will continue on an as-needed basis. If interested in borrowing a Chromebook, families should contact their students’ school/principal for more information. Additionally, Chromebooks are relatively inexpensive and can be purchased at local stores. If you plan to purchase a Chromebook, then please get one with at least 4GB of RAM and 16GB of storage.

We remain inspired by our teachers’ enthusiasm and creativity in connecting with students. We are committed to adapting and continuing the learning process. We appreciate the Port Angeles community and all the support we receive during this difficult (and sometimes frustrating) time. We are here as a resource for students and families, and we will provide updates as more is learned. Be well.


For more information:

Jennifer Sperline, Communications Coordinator

Port Angeles School District

360.565.3703

jsperline@portangelesschools.org

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