Kent schools to be closed again Wednesday

Superintendent Watts explains reasons

  • Tuesday, February 12, 2019 2:41pm
  • News
Calvin Watts

Calvin Watts

All Kent School District schools will be closed again on Wednesday, Feb. 13, due to continued icy conditions, power outages and maintenance needs caused by winter storms.

The Central Administrative Office will be closed and all activities are canceled, according to a district website posting Tuesday afternoon. The regular school board meeting for Wednesday, Feb. 13, has been moved to Wednesday, Feb. 27. Schools also were closed Monday and Tuesday.

Superintendent Calvin Watts posted the following winter weather update on the district’s website about the closure on Wednesday, school calendar changes and more:

“I hope this update finds you warm and dry as we continue to experience a record breaking winter storm. While many of the main roads have been cleared of snow, ice and slush, many side roads have not. As another weather system moves through our area tonight (Tuesday), we have some schools without power today, there are weak and falling branches that need to be cleared from pathways and playgrounds, and our parking lots continue to be cleared as quickly as possible. For all of these reasons we cannot safely welcome students and staff into our buildings on Wednesday.

I wish to thank our dedicated maintenance and custodial staff who continue to address our facilities and maintenance issues brought on by the storm, including power outages. Through Wednesday, our staff will continue working to clear snow, slush and debris from sidewalks and parking lots to ensure all buildings are safe for reentry.

I also want to thank our labor partners who have worked closely with us to make decisions about the early release last Friday, and to cancel Elementary Conferences this week. We appreciate the collaboration and we are grateful for our partnerships with each of our labor partners.

Revised school calendar

This month’s winter storms have greatly impacted our school schedule and ultimately our school year calendar. As both a member of #TeamKSD415 and a KSD parent, I recognize the impact that school schedule changes have on your families. Please know how much I personally appreciate both your partnership and flexibility during these unpredictable weather situations. Recognizing that school closures create schedule changes that are challenging for students, staff and families, here are some key points to keep in mind:

• Make up days are determined though a bargaining process with our labor partner, Kent Education Association.

• All options are being considered. There are certain circumstances when school districts are able to apply for a waiver to the 180-day school year requirement. At this time, we do not know if a waiver is a possibility for Puget Sound area school districts. We may not know the answer to this question for several weeks and then we would still need to follow an application approval process. At this time, please plan for additional snow days to be added to the end of the school year calendar.

• The timing of this storm is unfortunate as mid-winter break is next week! Once breaks are established and the school year has begun, many of our staff members and school district families have made plans to be away from the area during this week. Therefore, we will not make a change to our scheduled mid-winter break.

• No decisions will be made this week as we continue to manage inclement weather that could result in school delays and closures.

We will continue to keep everyone updated as school closure and delay decisions are made, and when any school calendar changes are made.

Finally, I want to say thank you to everyone in our KSD community for your patience as we prioritize the safety of all students and staff across the district.”

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