Since they’re online, no reason for school delays

  • Tuesday, December 1, 2020 9:05am
  • News

One good thing about COVID-19 restrictions, with the Bainbridge Island School District doing so much online learning, there will be no snow days or any reason for one- or two-hour delays this year.

“Given the uniqueness of the 2020-21 school year, we are reframing our parameters when it comes to inclement weather and/or power outages and their impacts on the school day. It’s important to note that because of the AM/PM Hybrid Schedule for in-person learning, we will not be utilizing one- or two-hour delays this year,” the Bainbridge Island School District says in its weekly newsletter.

“In order to help families and staff facilitate planning, BISD will do its best to make the decision whether or not school will be in session as soon as possible. But as we’ve experienced in the past, Mother Nature can be unpredictable. Sometimes a decision cannot be made until the last minute,” it continues.

If there will be changes to the usual school day, the district will communicate with its stakeholders via communication channels such as email, phone, text, social media or on the district website.

If it snows

It remains a typical day of Continuous Learning and 100% Online Learning. But there will be noin-person learning for those students who access BISD sites; they will access their learning in a Continuous Learning environment. Facilities will be closed for afterschool interscholastic activities and outside rentals and reservations. This will count as a school day, and so BISD will not be required to make it up at the end of the school year.

Power outage

The district willwork with Puget Sound Energy to determine how wide-spread the power outage is; if it is determined that the power will not be restored to the majority of the island by 9:30 a.m., it will be a non-school day, and facilities will be closed. It will not count as a school day, and the district may be required to make-up the day.

For those who are learning in-person, if and when that happens, the decision will be made on a case by case basis. Included in the decision will be whether or not PSE predicts the school will be without power for the majority of the day.

A decision about the feasibility of transitioning to asynchronous learning for the day will be assessed. If not feasible due to a wide-spread lack of power, school may be canceled for the impacted building(s).

The distict would then need to apply for a waiver to the state for the missed day(s); if the waiver is not granted, the impacted school(s) may be required to make-up the day(s).

Other situations

When inclement weather hits overnight, district officials begin driving island roads around 3 a.m. to evaluate conditions. They drive main roads, side roads and hills throughout the island, as conditions can vary from one end to another.

Once a decision is made to alter the schedule, the district begins alerting staff and families by 5:30 a.m. (if possible). Because many staff live and many parents work off-island it’s imperative to get the messages out as soon as possible.

Besides road conditions, other factor factors that play into the decision include:

  • What are the surrounding conditions like in Kitsap County? Approximately one-third of our staff live off-island. If the majority of that staff is unable to get to work, there would not be enough substitute teachers, bus drivers, food servers, etc. to operate a school day.
  • Are the BISD parking lots and walking paths safe? Despite Herculean efforts of the grounds and custodial crews, sometimes Mother Nature dumps more snow or ice than they can keep up with.
  • Other considerations: the weather forecast; weather conditions for students getting to and from (and waiting for) school buses.

Communication tools

When a decision to cancel school is made, the following communication tools are used:

School Messenger: This system pulls information from Skyward so please make sure your contact information is up to date by logging into your Family Access Account. School Messenger sends emails, phone calls and text messages. To opt in to text: 1. Log-in to your account and click on the “My Account” link. 2. Verify that your cell phone number. 3. Using your cell phone, text Y to 67587. You will receive a reply saying that you are now subscribed.

Website: Go to

Social media: Go to those accounts.

Local media announcements: Radio/TV stations will announce districts by name. Bainbridge Island School District #303.

Questions? Contact Erin Bischoff at or 206-780-1081.

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