“It was the hardest year of my life; hardest year of my career.”  So stated Dr. Laurynn Evans, North Kitsap Schools Superintendent, about her experience when Covid closed schools Mar 13, 2020.  She rendered her annual NK Schools update at the Sep 22 noon meeting of the Kingston North Kitsap Rotary Club.  Notably, she said one-third of school superintendents resigned or retired due to Covid.  

    Dr. Evans thanked Rotarians and other service clubs that immediately asked “what can we do to help?,” when the crisis hit.  She said “we had great community and tribal support.” Among the most helpful was getting devices and hotspots in the hands of every child in the district.  Now kids are back in school all-day, every-day.  The district’s online academy is open for remote learning if parents desire.  

    One of the challenges this fall, still yet to be determined, is where the kids are in learning.  To help transition to new school environments, kindergarten, 6th and 9th-grade students were in their new buildings a week early to get acquainted with their new surroundings, such that when school officially started, they were not lost.  

    Leadership in the district and in the ten schools in NK District are focusing intensely on the mental health, social, and emotional wellness of students who were abruptly thrown out of their school environment and now must re-enter that environment after being away eighteen months.  Sleep patterns were mentioned, to laughter.  

    Covid was a gift in some regards.  Thanks to the passage of a Capital levy measure in 2018, the NK District had authorization to tackle $90m in deferred maintenance.  They were able to accelerate those projects when schools were closed by Covid.  Such matters as roof repairs, HVAC maintenance, security cameras, re-configuring drop-off zones were on the list.  Also in the levy was funding for technology updates across the district, which if that had not been accomplished before Covid, the district would have been unable to provide online learning during Covid.