Aberdeen Schools

Helping you stay informed about our district.

Aberdeen School District No. 5 -- August 27, 2021

Welcome Back!


Miller Junior High School and Aberdeen High School hosted back-to-school days this week. Students were able to tour their school, pick up their schedules and check out their new device.

You can see more pictures in the gallery posted on the district website.

The grade schools are hosting open houses Aug. 30 and Aug. 31. The first day of school for all grades is Wednesday, Sept. 1. Please monitor the website and subscribe to the electronic newsletter to be sure to get the latest information about the timing and scheduling of school events.

2021-2022 is off to a great start!

Open Houses on Monday, Aug. 30:

  • Miller Junior High, 5:30 - 7:30 p.m.
  • Central Park, 6 p.m.
  • Robert Gray Elementary, 6 p.m.
  • Stevens Elementary, 6 p.m.

Open House on Tuesday, Aug. 31:

  • A.J. West Elementary, 6 p.m.

Bell Schedules:

  • Hopkins is 8:30 for AM Preschool, and 12:15 for PM Preschool,
  • A J West, 8:30 a.m.
  • Central Park, 9 a.m.
  • McDermoth, 8:40 a.m.
  • Robert Gray, 8:40 a.m.
  • Stevens, 8:55 a.m.
  • Miller Junior High, 7:55 a.m.
  • AHS, 8:10 a.m.
  • Harbor High/Harbor Learning Center, 8:05 a.m.

Grays Harbor Academy is now K-12

As part of an ongoing effort to provide robust, educational options for families who may choose not to return to school in person at this time, the district has expanded its online school -- Grays Harbor Academy -- to K-12. The School Board approved the contract with Edgenuity at its meeting on Aug. 17.

To learn more about Grays Harbor Academy, visit the web site or contact the Harbor Learning Center principal, Lisa Griebel, at (360) 538-2180.

FAQs on the Back-to-School COVID rules

Masks will continue to be required for everyone in school. In addition, the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction has published FAQs regarding the new state vaccine requirement for school employees. We hope these FAQs are helpful.

Department of Health Guidance for K-12 Schools.

We know many people have questions about what school will look like this fall, especially the precautions being taken to keep students and staff safe.

The information in this article is lifted directly from the Department of Health Requirements for K-12 Schools 2021-2022. The Aberdeen School Board and Superintendent Alicia Henderson have stated their commitment to providing the support needed for the district to adhere to the regulations and guidelines. The full document is available on the district website under the Health and Safety tab.

In-Person Instruction

For the 2021-2022 school year, schools must plan to provide full time in-person education for all interested students. Universal masking is required. Universal masking means that face coverings are required to be worn by all individuals, regardless of vaccination status.

While vaccination is not a requirement for in-person education at K-12 schools, it is the strongest protective measure against COVID-19 available to individuals 12 years of age and older and should be promoted for all eligible students, teachers, staff, volunteers, and families.


COVID-19 vaccines are available free to all people age 12 and older. Schools should promote vaccinations for eligible students, teachers, staff, and families.

While universal masking is required of all students and staff now, there is the possibility in the future that fully vaccinated people may not be required to wear masks indoors.

Face Coverings/Masks

Correct use of cloth face coverings or masks helps prevent the spread of COVID-19 and is required when indoors at K-12 facilities for all school personnel, students, and visitors. There are specific exceptions based on age, development, or disability. See DOH’s Guidance on Cloth Face Coverings for more information.

Passengers and drivers are required to wear a mask on school buses.

Schools must provide face coverings or masks, as appropriate, for staff and students who do not have them.

Outdoor Mask Requirements

Face coverings are not required outdoors except in certain athletics and activities situations. Schools should support students and staff who choose to wear a mask or face covering outdoors.

Physical Distancing

Maintain physical distance of three feet or more between students in classroom settings to the degree possible and reasonable, that allows for full-time, in-person learning for all students. There may be moments, such as passing by others in the hallway or during play at recess when students are not fully physically distanced from each other.

Maximize distance between students to the degree possible for all students when masks cannot be worn, such as:

  • When eating lunch.
  • In common areas outside of the classroom.
  • High-risk activities such as PE or exercise, singing or playing instruments, and cheering or shouting should be moved outdoors or to large, well-ventilated spaces whenever possible.


Good ventilation and indoor air quality are important in reducing airborne exposure to respiratory pathogens, chemicals, and odors. Offer more outside time, open windows often, and adjust the HVAC system to allow the maximum amount of outside air to enter the program space and increase air filtration.

Because each building and its existing HVAC systems will be different, a professional engineer or HVAC specialist should be consulted to determine the best way to maximize the system’s ventilation and air filtration capabilities for each area in the building.

Note from ASD5: All HVAC systems in the Aberdeen School District have been inspected and improvements made where recommended. In addition, work is being completed to create an “isolation room” at each school. In these rooms, the ventilation in that room is separate from the main building.

Handwashing and Respiratory Etiquette

Schools should continue to encourage frequent handwashing and good respiratory etiquette to both prevent contracting and spreading infectious diseases, including COVID-19.

Support healthy hygiene behaviors by providing adequate supplies, including soap, a way to dry hands, tissues, face masks (as feasible), and no-touch/foot- pedal trash cans. Ensure that teachers and staff practice proper handwashing and respiratory etiquette.

When handwashing is not possible, hand sanitizer contacting at least 60 percent alcohol should be used.

Staying Home When Sick

Staying home when sick with COVID-19 is essential to keep COVID-19 infections out of schools. Students and school employees who have symptoms of infectious illness should stay home and seek medical evaluation, which may include testing for COVID-19 and other respiratory infections.

Diagnostic Testing

Schools must ensure access to timely diagnostic testing among students with symptoms or who are close contacts of someone with COVID-19. This can be done at the school, at a centralized site for the district, and/or in partnership with a trusted and accessible community-based testing provider and local public health.

Note from ASD5: An earlier version of this newsletter misstated how our district will work with students and employees who exhibit symptoms. All suspected cases that may need testing are handled on a case-by-case basis in coordination with the Health Department. Other guidelines apply to athletics. (Updated Aug. 29)

Responding to Cases or Suspected Cases of COVID-19

Schools should prepare for instructing students who are excluded from school due to illness or quarantine.

Any student, teacher, or staff who reports COVID-19-like symptoms must be immediately isolated from others and sent home and referred to diagnostic testing as soon as feasible. While waiting to leave school, the individual with symptoms must be isolated in a designated isolation space.

What to Do if Someone is a Close Contact of Someone with COVID-19

In a K-12 indoor classroom, the close contact definition excludes students who were at least three feet away from an infected student when (a) both students were wearing face coverings/masks and (b) other prevention strategies were in place. This exception does not apply to teachers, staff, or other adults in the indoor classroom setting.


People who may be exempt from quarantine:

  • Close contacts who are fully vaccinated and do not have symptoms.
  • Close contact who had confirmed COVID-19 in the past three months, have recovered and do not have symptoms.


Schools must have a response and communication plan in place that includes communication with staff, families, their school district, and their local health jurisdiction.

Schools should prepare for instructing students and their families who are excluded from school due to illness or quarantine in accordance with all federal and state laws.

Schools are required to provide written notice to all employees, and the employers of subcontracted employees, who were on the premises at the same worksite as the person with COVID-19 that they may have been exposed to COVID-19.

Athletics, Extra-curricular activities and Performing Arts

The Department of Health has specific guidelines for student activities that can be found in the DOH document starting on Page 13.

Don't hesitate to ask questions

There is a lot of information to digest and it competes with some misinformation. Your questions are welcome and should be directed to the attention of Dr. Alicia Henderson, Superintendent, at ahenderson@asd5.org. We are also starting a Q&A page where the answers to general questions from staff and community about the 2021-2022 school year will be posted.

Aberdeen School District Board of Directors

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Next Meeting of the Board

The next regular meeting of the Board is scheduled for 5 p.m. Tuesday, September 7, via webinar. A link and agenda materials will be posted prior to the meeting.

Enroll today for Kindergarten

Please enroll your 5-year-old for Kindergarten as soon as possible so we can keep you informed about upcoming events and so our principals and teachers know to expect you this fall.

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Cancellations and changes for September:

  • Late start for Miller 8th Grade is removed. All grades begin on Sept. 1.
  • Elementary Orchestra Recruitment is canceled. Orchestra is Grades 6-12 this year.

Additions for September:

  • Community Pep Rally at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 2, outdoors at Aberdeen High School, which is the night before the Aberdeen-Hoquiam game. Fall athletes will be introduced, food provided, cheers yelled and the band will play. Go, Cats!

Back to School means After School ...

The 21st Century After School Program continues in our district.

Currently there are staff openings for site coordinators and some secondary teacher positions in the district.

In addition, our partner, the YMCA of Grays Harbor, is hiring Academic Coaches and Student Mentors for all the sites. These are part-time positions. Applications are available through the YMCA.

Apply today! This is an important year in the lives of our students. You can make a difference by working in this program.

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Download a PDF of the 2021-2022 Calendar

Calendar includes first and last days of school, vacation days, teacher collaboration days and School Board meeting dates.

Staying in touch with Leadership


The Aberdeen School District does not discriminate in any programs or activities on the basis of sex, race, creed, religion, color, national origin, age, veteran or military status, sexual orientation, gender expression or identity, disability, or the use of a trained dog guide or service animal and provides equal access to the Boy Scouts and other designated youth groups. The following employees have been designated to handle questions and complaints of alleged discrimination: Christi Sayres, Title IX Coordinator and Civil rights Compliance Coordinator, 216 North G St., Aberdeen, WA 98520; (360) 538-2222; csayres@asd5.org; Dr. Richard Bates, Section 504/ADA Coordinator, 216 North G St., Aberdeen, WA 98520; (360) 538-2017; rbates@asd5.org.