Opening of Wilkes Elementary School postponed until next week

The Bainbridge Island School District has announced that Wilkes Elementary School will not open as planned for the first day of school Wednesday.

District Superintendent Faith Chapel made the announcement in an email to parents Tuesday afternoon. Ongoing construction at the new school is to blame.

School is now expected to start Tuesday, Sept. 4.

"While many of you and other members of the community may have wondered whether the school would open on time, we had received numerous assurances from our contractors, as recently as yesterday morning, that all would be well," Chapel said in her email.

"So, what happened to change the timeline? While the building itself was prepared for occupancy, we learned yesterday evening that our safety requirements for the site (e.g. perimeter fencing, playground preparation, etc.) were probably not going to be met in time to open school tomorrow morning. After intensive discussion with consultants and the contractor, we made the decision to delay the start of school. The safety of our students is our top priority," she said.

The three-day delay will be made up by changing three of the full-day parent conferences at the school to half-days. Wilkes will hold school for half the day on Oct. 4, Oct. 5 and March 21 and conduct parent conferences for the remainder of the day.

"Please know that this decision was not made lightly. Teachers and staff members invested innumerable hours preparing to start school tomorrow," Chapel said. "However, there was broad consensus among Wilkes and district staff that the delay was necessary and would ultimately benefit student safety and student learning."

"We understand and deeply regret the disruption that this decision creates for Wilkes families," she said. "We hope that you and your family have a relaxing Labor Day weekend, and we look forward to welcoming you and your students to this remarkable, new facility next Tuesday morning.  Thank you for your understanding and support."


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