Peninsula School District delays return of in-person learning for 2nd graders

PIRECE COUNTY, Wash. — On Friday, the Peninsula School District announced it would delay the return of in-person learning for second graders planned for Nov. 12.

School officials said after talking daily with the Tacoma-Pierce Health Department, it made the decision to halt the return, setting a tentative goal date of Nov. 30.

The district’s superintendent Dr. Art Jarvis said, “We know this delay of second graders returning to in-person learning will disappoint many students, families, and staff. We have all prepared with schedule adjustments and tireless work for a safe originally planned Nov. 12 return.”

In the letter, it stated the following contributing factors:

"We have experienced a recent case of COVID-19 at Purdy Elementary (with no exposure at school) and current cases at Peninsula High School. We worked with TPCHD to take appropriate safety measures and persons determined to be in close contact of a confirmed case have already been notified.

We are still developing details of our pilot testing program with TPCHD. We will be working with them this afternoon to make preliminary technical decisions regarding the testing program and have ongoing meetings scheduled with our district Testing Taskforce. More information will be communicated as a plan is developed and concrete measures are ready to implement."

Jarvis said the district will continue to offer dual in-person and remote platforms for preschoolers, kindergartners, first graders, special education and some “select small groups of non-K-1 students” while the testing pilot program is being explored with the health department.

“We have not seen any COVID-19 cases in our K-1 program, where students have been learning in-person for six weeks,” Jarvis said.