Anacortes School District Reopening Schools Update

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Tuesday, March 09, 2021, 10:00pm

Updated 04/20/2021

Anacortes Schools Update Dec2020



From the ASD website 04/16/21

The district continues to plan and coordinate with our employee groups about an expanded return for students, using CDC and Washington State guidance that schools can implement 3-foot distancing in classrooms, and maintain 6-foot distancing at other times, such as meal times. pending approval of our plans from the Skagit County Health Department. 

We are finalizing details (such as hiring additional staff, etc.) to expand in-person learning, working toward Thursday, May 6. We are working closely with the Skagit County Health Department and know that cases are on the rise, which means that increasing in-person learning will be pending their approval, as we have followed throughout the year. 




Superintendent's Weekly Update from the ASD Weekly Community Bulletin 02/19/21

Reopening Update

High school students will return to in-person learning on Monday, February 22. Our teams have done an incredible job getting classrooms ready, setting schedules, and establishing routines to keep our staff and students safe. We are excited to welcome more students to our campus next week!

 We continue to have success at elementary and middle schools with in-person learning.

Reopening update from the ASD website on 2/5/21:



Update on the Anacortes School District Reopening Schools in 2021
Facebook Post 12/17/2020:

The State of Washington has revised their guidance to schools and in-person learning related to the coronavirus. The State Department of Health (DOH) revised the metrics to inform local decisions around the provision of in-person learning and the risk of transmission of COVID-19 in school environments. These revisions were based on emerging research and data gathered by state and national officials.

New metrics recommend that schools can now move to hybrid (some in-person) learning when community cases are between 50-350 cases per 100,000. This is an increase of the previous recommended metric of 25-75 cases per 100,000. Governor Inslee’s press conference from December 16 can be viewed here:

The Anacortes School District continues its plan to return Pre-K-5th grade students to in-person learning on January 11, and 6th-12th grade students on February 8. All students receiving special education services will return to in-person learning on January 11. Elementary students will continue on a morning/ afternoon split schedule Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, with Wednesday as a full remote learning day. 6th-12th grade students will attend full days on a rotating schedule.

“We have been working on the logistics for our students to return to in-person learning,” said Superintendent Justin Irish. “This new state guidance gives us further confidence that we can continue with our plans. We look forward to welcoming students back into our buildings.”

The state’s guidance was revised based on research and data, particularly related to transmission rates in schools when all safety and health protocols are followed. The district continues to work closely with the Skagit County Health Department on its return to in-person learning.

“Students will continue to wear masks, follow social distancing, remain in small groups in classrooms, and complete daily health attestations,” said District Nurse Emily Wade. “As we’ve seen throughout the state, these measures are helping contain the transmission of the virus, and we need everyone to continue to be vigilant in following all health protocols.”

The district continues to work closely with its employee labor groups in planning a safe return to schools. The district’s pool of substitutes also continues to grow in order to respond to staff that may need to quarantine. Anyone interested in subbing for the district should visit our Human Resources website:

“We are all hands on deck,” said Dr. Irish. “Our staff are cross-training where they can in order to cover staff absences, and I remain incredibly impressed by the teamwork across the district.”

Questions? Please contact your building principal or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 360-503-1200. 



Update on the Anacortes School District Bringing All Grades Back To Virtual Learning
Facebook Post 11/19/20:

"District returns to full remote learning for all grades

Based on current coronavirus cases and a projected spike in cases, the Anacortes School District is returning all students to remote learning beginning on November 25 through January 11, 2021, at least.

While district schools remain relatively safe, and there have been no outbreaks within our schools, the surge in coronavirus cases in Anacortes impacts our ability to staff our buildings adequately and to provide learning for students. Anacortes saw 47 cases between November 5-18. This is a rate of 204 cases per 100,000 population averaged over 14 days. Public health officials warn that the cases will continue to surge, anticipating higher rates after the Thanksgiving holiday.

“This is an incredibly sad and disappointing decision,” said Superintendent Justin Irish. “All of us would like students to return to more in-person learning, but we must and will follow the guidance of our local public health officials.”

As more children and their families are being forced to quarantine, schools find it more difficult to simultaneously manage students’ learning while quarantined and manage learning while in person. Staff from various employee groups cannot report to work, as they manage their own health risks and community exposures. We do not have an adequate substitute pool for the various positions, as the community surge in cases is also impacting substitutes.

“These decisions weigh heavily on all of us,” said School Board President Bobbilyn Hogge. “The board is grateful to our district leadership team and staff for their hard work, collaboration and dedication to students during this challenging time. We remain hopeful that we can return our students to in-person learning as soon as it is possible to do so.”

The district regularly collaborates with its local union representatives, administrators, and other staff to make remote learning as successful as possible and plan for an eventual return to in-person learning when it is safe to do so. Everyone wants students to return to in-person learning, and everyone is saddened that our community faces these unfortunate circumstances.

“Our teachers, and all our staff, want children back in our buildings. We know that students learn better in person,” said Erin Gibson, Anacortes High School teacher and Anacortes Educators Association president. “We are committed to collaborating with the district to ensure success for our students, even in this remote environment.”

During the holiday break, the district will monitor if and when it can return K-3 students to in-person learning, as well as other grades. Using the Department of Health’s Decision Tree, we will be able to reopen in-person learning when the two-week average remains between 25-75 cases per 100,000 people (for Skagit County and Anacortes). We will also be able to return in-person when we fill vacant positions or when our staff are able to return to work because their health is not at risk.

“The surge in cases locally is greatly impacting our ability to keep our building even minimally staffed,” said Mt Erie Elementary Principal Kevin Schwartz. “More of our staff are having to take time off to care for their own quarantined families, and our substitute pool is also limited for the same reasons.”

Effective November 25, the district will revert back to its fully remote schedule for all students.
The elementary remote schedule can be found here:

If you have any questions about the schedule, please contact your teacher or principal directly.

Special Services and Other Students of Concern
Students who receive special education services and other students who are currently receiving in-person learning will also return to remote learning. The district will continue to plan for an in-person return to these services as soon as it is safe to do so.

Food Services
The district will continue to operate its weekly meal pick up and drop off program. Grab and Go meals are available to all children ages 1-18 at no cost throughout the school year. Meals must be ordered the week prior, and are available for pick up on Tuesdays and Thursdays. To sign up, and see the pick up locations and menus, please visit our website:

Skagit County Health Department Guidance
We have seen an exponential rise in the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Skagit County. This significant surge is happening around our state and the nation. Schools must maintain their capacity to trace contacts in the event of a school-associated closure. Please see the attached letter from Skagit County Health Officer, Dr. Howard Leibrand:

What can you do?
The district strongly encourages families, staff, and students to continue following public health guidance:
Wear a mask
Wash your hands
Limit your social interactions
Keep your holiday gathering small and safe
Limit your travel, particularly outside the state
The district will continue to collaborate with local health professionals to monitor the situation and will reassess plans as necessary.
Questions? (360) 503-1211 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it."


Update on Anacortes School District Delaying the Return of 4th & 5th Grade in November:

The Anacortes School District is delaying its planned in-person return of students in grades 4-5, who were expected to return to school buildings on Monday, November 9, based on increased coronavirus cases in Skagit County. Students in grades K-3 returned to limited in-person instruction on Monday, November 2, and those students will continue their hybrid in-person and remote schedule.

The district’s decision is based on the recommendation from the Skagit County Department of Health, which has seen a sharp increase on the number of coronavirus cases recently. Skagit County is reporting 89.8 cases per 100,000 people as of November 2. The county’s website shows lagging data; however county officials have been in constant communication with the district. In order to move to the next step of reopening, the two-week average must remain between 25-75 cases per 100,000 people.

“We have strict safety and sanitizing procedures in place for the students who are currently receiving in-person instruction,” said Superintendent Justin Irish. “This decision is made out of an abundance of caution in order to limit the number of staff and students on our campuses.”

The district will continue to monitor the cases throughout the county, and will reassess its plans, though, based on the district’s decision matrix, it is unlikely that more students will return to in-person learning before January, 2021.

The district continues to provide limited in-person instruction for students in all grades who receive special education services, English language support, and other special services.
“I know this is disappointing news to our staff, students, and families, who have been looking forward to welcoming more students back into our buildings, especially after such a successful return of our youngest learners,” said Dr. Irish. “I urge everyone to remain vigilant against the virus: wear a mask, get a flu shot, limit in-person social interactions, wash your hands."

Questions? Superintendent’s Office, (360) 503-1211 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.




Moving to Step 4 update:

Questions? (360) 503-1200 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Updated 09/01/2020 

 Anacortes BTS Plan2


Fall 2020 Reopening information including daily schedules for Elementary, Middle and High Schools from the ASD website:

Fall 2020 Anacortes School District School Supply Lists: 

Fall 2020 Special Education Info Session recorded to YouTube:



Update on 8/12/2020 regarding school placements from the ASD Facebook page: 

Kindergarten students will not be placed at the Whitney Early Childhood Education Center for the 2020-21 school year, based on financial constraints, space needs, and projected enrollment numbers.

The district will continue to run its developmental pre-school program at Whitney, as well as continue to lease space to the YMCA for their childcare program. Kindergarten teachers and some staff from Whitney will be reassigned to other buildings. Developmental pre-school staff will remain assigned to Whitney.

“I know that Whitney is a special place for our students and our staff,” said Superintendent Justin Irish. “We are also facing several tough decisions this year, based in part on lower kindergarten enrollment numbers. We also want to help the YMCA expand their childcare options, as we know many of our families will have increased needs this year, with all schools beginning in a remote format.”

Superintendent Irish and Whitney Principal Shannon Gilbert met with staff this week to let them know of the upcoming changes.

Elementary placement

Principals continue to work through the elementary placement process. Families will begin to be notified of their assigned elementary school on August 28th via email; teacher assignments will be sent out by September 4, via email. ASD@Home will follow a similar timeline.


The Anacortes School District has been holding several Q&A sessions with parents via ZOOM. These are listed as events on the ASD Facebook page

The ASD has decided to not offer any school athletics/sports for the Fall 2020 season. There will be some recreational opportunities through the Anacortes Parks & Recreation Department.


The Anacortes School District will begin its fall school year in a fully remote model, based on recommendations by the Anacortes School Board. Superintendent Justin Irish provided an update to the board earlier this week, outlining the complexities required to offer in-person instruction, including transportation challenges, health screening, social distancing guidelines, limited space, and staffing constraints. District staff continue to plan the learning model for the fall, as well as support for students receiving special education and English language services.

The school year will begin on Monday, September 14. Families will have two options to choose from once registration opens on August 17: ASD Hybrid and ASD@Home. The ASD Hybrid model will include an eventual phased-in approach to in-person learning. ASD@Home is a fully remote option, with a parent or guardian as the primary teacher/ coach and ASD staff offering support. Current AMS Principal Ryan Pike will lead ASD@Home.

By starting the year fully remote, the district can better plan for an eventual return to in-person instruction, and focus on developing an instructional model that supports all learners. Instruction will look different than it did last spring, when we had little time to plan for the school closure.

Requirements for our learning model will include:

Daily Attendance
Required Learning Minutes per Day
Student and Staff Accountability
Student Assessment and Feedback
Staff Professional Learning
Online Instructional Materials (new and existing materials)
Phased-in approach for face-to-face
Support for students who receive special education services (more detail to come)

We also know that this poses challenges to parents and guardians, creating impacts on work schedules and childcare. We are partnering with community agencies to help promote childcare options.

We will continue to keep our staff and community informed as plans develop. More information is posted on our website:

Please continue to join our Q&A sessions:

July 31 - noon (
August 4 - 6 p.m. (
August 12 - 5:30 p.m (

Questions? This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (360) 503-1200


If you are a parent in Anacortes I would encourage you to join the Anacortes Parents Group on Facebook to stay up to date on the school district and also what's happening in Anacortes for families.

 Questions? Contact the Superintendent’s Office - (360) 503-1211 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The Anacortes School Year will begin September 14th and end June 21st. Link to the updated calendar here:

Anacortes 20 21 Calendar

From the Anacortes School District Facebook page: The Anacortes School Board recently approved an update to the school calendar for the 2020-21 school year.

The school year will now start on Monday, September 14, 2020, and end on Monday, June 21, 2021. The updated calendar is posted on our website. This shifted start time allows us to provide more staff training in September before school starts.

The district is continuing to build its homeschool platform and a long-term hybrid learning model for the year. That hybrid learning model will likely start off as a full remote learning option, due to a number of factors and complexities, and will phase into an in-person model. Exact dates and other details continue to be finalized. We will continue to keep our community updated.

Families will be asked to officially register for their selected learning model mid-August, rather than a preliminary survey this month. The school board plans to officially vote on the district’s continuous learning plan on August 27.

Letter detailing the updates to the calendar above:

Anacortes Calendar LetterFind the full details for current plans for reopening Anacortes Schools here: and here

Location : Anacortes, WA
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