‘Ravaged by COVID,’ North Beach district shuts down all schools for rest of week

Jan 19, 2022, 9:35 AM
North Beach School District...
North Beach District schools will shut down for the rest of the week. (KIRO 7)
(KIRO 7)

School has been canceled for over 700 students in the North Beach School District this week.

Spate of Puget Sound region K-12 schools return to remote learning

The district — which spans both Grays Harbor and Pacific counties — sent a letter to parents Tuesday, announcing a full closure of all of its schools between Wednesday, Jan. 19, and Friday, Jan. 21.

In the letter, North Beach Superintendent Andy Kelly described how the district “is being ravaged by COVID-19.”

“We just don’t have enough personnel to adequately serve our kids the educational programming that they deserve,” he said.

On Tuesday alone, over 20 staff members called out for COVID-related reasons, as well as over 300 students. That made for a student absentee rate of almost 40% district-wide.

The hope is to resume classes by Jan. 24.

Between this cancellation and a pair of weather-related closures earlier in the month, North Beach schools will likely make up for the missed days by either extending the school year or lengthening school days after spring break.

Western Washington schools feel strain of omicron surge

Kelly also noted that “this isn’t cause for alarm or panic, but is absolute cause of us to continue to follow the science and the guidance about how to mitigate the spread of COVID to the best of our ability.”

Schools across the Puget Sound region have dealt with similar issues to start the winter term, with several temporarily shifting to remote learning. That includes schools in Edmonds, Seattle, Redmond, and Mountlake Terrace, among others. Most expect to return to in-person learning before the end of January.

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‘Ravaged by COVID,’ North Beach district shuts down all schools for rest of week