Reopening Schools

                                                                                  Pioneer School District 

March 17, 2021

Dear Pioneer Families,

We are in the middle of our third week of Hybrid In-person Learning at Pioneer Elementary School and we are so excited to have your children back in our buildings!  Seeing your children in our classrooms and on our playgrounds has been such a wonderful experience for our whole district!  We have worked diligently to maintain a safe learning environment for our students as they returned to school and we are extremely grateful to all of our families who are supporting our efforts and the systems we have in place. 

The next step in our journey is our Middle School Virtual Forum on Thursday, March 18th at 6:00 pm.  You can access a link to that event here Middle School Parent Forum .  We encourage our middle school families to attend the virtual forum where they will have an opportunity to get additional information on their child’s return to school and will have an opportunity to ask questions to a panel of teachers and district leaders.  Our first day of in-person learning for our A Cohort will be Monday, March 22nd and our first day for our B Cohort will be Thursday, March 25th. We will all be warmly welcoming our middle school students back to the building!

As our students return next week, please remember they need to complete their Health Screening on Skyward Family Access before going to the bus stop or being transported to school.  Please see a video on how to complete your child’s health screening at the following link Wellness Screening Video.  Because we are just beginning our final phase of in-person learning next week, please see important information below about a change in our spring parent-teacher conference schedule.


Jill Diehl, Superintendent



Our spring parent-teacher conferences will be moved from the last week of March to the first week of May. The district goal is to have all families participate in an in-person conference during that week. All district students will have a combination of asynchronous lessons and synchronous teacher-student connection time during the May 3rd – May 7th conference week, but students will not be attending school onsite or in their regular remote schedule.  Principals will be providing families with their student’s class schedule for conference week in April.

                                                                                  Pioneer School District 
Below is a embedded PowerPoint slideshow (use full screen mode if available) and PDF version of the Reopening Schools Plan set to begin March 1st.  Please feel free to download the PDF. 

Pioneer School District - Plan for Transitioning to In-person Learning 2021.pdf

                                                                                  Pioneer School District 

January 29, 2021


Dear Pioneer Families,

The start date for Hybrid In-person Learning has not yet been determined by the school board, but will be identified and communicated to families next week.  The Hybrid Task Force is working together to finalize schedules for both the elementary and middle schools. Once schedules for each building are completed, they will be shared with our families.

Thank you to the 90% of our families who have completed the survey regarding selection of their student’s learning model once in-person learning begins.  For the families who have not yet decided what learning model they want, staff at the elementary and middle schools will reach out to you, soon, so that we can determine staffing for our current Remote Learning Model and which students will be in cohort A or B when we begin the Hybrid In-person learning Model.

Based on current data, we are making the following assumptions for Elementary students:

  • Students enrolled in our Hybrid In-person Learning Model will remain with their current teacher (this is where the majority of our students will be).
  • Students continuing with our current Remote Learning Model will most likely have a different teacher. Final classroom assignments will be determined once all student data is collected and before in-person learning begins.
  • Students enrolled in Pioneer Academy will continue with their current teacher.

Please see information below on the Hybrid Task Force process so far, next steps in the process, and what has been identified as of today’s date.  We are excitedly looking forward to having students safely on our campus again!



Jill Diehl, Superintendent



  • The Hybrid Task Force met as a team on January 6th and January 20th to develop a plan for what the instructional schedule will look like for students at each building.
  • The Hybrid Task Force leaders shared the draft plans they developed with building teams during additional building leadership meetings to get feedback from their building staff.
  • The teams were led by Elementary Principal Amy Koster, Elementary Assistant Principal Amy Dahlberg, and Middle School Principal, Josh Stoney. Teachers and staff were selected to be on the team by building principals.
  • Teachers and staff providing leadership on the Hybrid Task Force include:
    • Elementary Team: Liz Rusher, Kirsten Tratnick, Beth Derrick, Amy Lindsey, Katie Deacon, Deneen Phelan, Rachael Baldwin, Tami Dubois, Kamala Budge, Cicely Conklin, Lori Watkins, Donna Demott, Tawnya Chemers, Lynn Zamzow, Kevin Kelley, and Shalynn Gould.
    • Middle School Team:Ruth Hockensmith, Dan Deacon, Amy Byykkonen, Mike Moore, Connie Bingham, Aaron Leth, Rebecca Shipman, and Hilary Paul


  • Next steps for the team will be to finalize schedules for both buildings when we begin Hybrid In-person Learning.
  • Next steps for the district will include working with building safety teams and the Mason County Health Department to ensure all safety requirements for in-person learning are finalized.


  • Grade Level Groups –Students will return in two groups, the first group to return will be: Group 1-pre-school – Grade 5, the second group returning two weeks later will be: Group 2 -Grade 6 – 8.
  • Attestation – Parents will be required to take their child’s temperature and complete the four attestation questions in Skyward Family Access before bringing their child to school or taking them to the bus.
  • 8:30 Arrival Time – all students will arrive between 8:30 and 9:00, will have their temperatures checked, and will go directly to their first class/classroom for connection time with their teacher along with an optional breakfast prior to the start of instruction.
  • Temperature Checks – all students will have their temperature checked by staff as they leave parent or bus transportation.
  • Transportation – Bus transportation will be limited due to social distancing requirements, parents will be encouraged to transport their children if possible.
  • Social Emotional Learning – all students will continue to have a daily Monday – Friday SEL lesson whether they are learning remotely or in person.
  • Masks/Handwashing – Students will be required to wear a mask and will wash their hands when arriving at school
  • Safety Training – All students will be provided with safety training for 6-foot social distancing, appropriate mask wearing, and handwashing procedures on the first day of school.
  • A & B Cohort groups – Students will be separated into two different groups/cohorts and be assigned specific attendance days.
  • Attendance – Students will attend two consecutive days (Monday/Tuesday or Thursday/Friday) and have three consecutive days of distance learning.
  • Wednesdays – No students will be on campus on Wednesdays, this day will be dedicated to deep cleaning between cohort groups.
  • Reopening Parent Guide 2021 – A reopening guide will be posted on the website and sent to parents that will include schedules, safety practices, and school practices for Remote and In-person learning, once all details for the Hybrid In-person Learning model are finalized.
  • Parent Forums – Once dates for reopening are established by the school board and schedules are finalized, the district will hold informational virtual forums with parents to address questions.
  • Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) – A list of frequently asked questions and responses will be provided on the district website for families.


A Visual of the AA/BB Schedule (two consecutive attendance days)

                                                                                  Pioneer School District 

January 19, 2021

Dear Pioneer Families,

As the school district prepares for our future Hybrid In-Person Learning, I will be providing our families with an update each week in January. At this time, it has been decided that we will not be returning to in-person learning prior to middle or late February.   The board will be determining a specific start date at our next board meeting on January 26th. 

As we continue preparing, it is essential for our families who are currently in our Distance Learning Remote model to complete the survey sent out in December. Information gathered in this survey allows the district to identify classroom sizes, staffing, transportation, and meal requirements to meet the needs of students who will be returning to in-person learning and will also let us know how many students will be remaining in our current remote learning model. We currently have about 80% of our elementary students and 90% of our middle school families who have completed the survey and the majority of our families are requesting in-person learning for their children.  If you still need to complete a survey for your children, you can access the surveys at the link below:

Elementary and Middle School Surveys Link

Please see our most current plans for Hybrid In-person Learning below, the final specific details about the student day are still being developed by our Hybrid Learning Task Force.  Once these details are finalized, a safety committee will be working with the Mason County Health Department to develop a detailed safety plan for the student day.  Additional details from these two groups will be provided to families in the next weekly updates and prior to our first group returning, a parent guide will be provided and parent forums will be held to provide additional information to our families as each group of students return to school.  We continue to have great excitement about our students returning safely to in-person learning!



Jill Diehl, Superintendent


Student Schedule:

  • AA/BB Schedule - Two consecutive days in person and three days of remote learning (that will also include connection opportunities to live (synchronous) instruction).
  • In-Person Attendance Days - Students will attend in-person learning in small groups on Mon/Tues or Thursday/Friday.All students will have a remote learning SEL class on Wednesdays but there will be no students onsite.Deep cleaning will occur on Wednesdays.
  • Start and end Time for In-Person Learning - Students will arrive at school at 8:30 on in-person learning days. Students will report directly to their teacher’s classroom for “connection time” and instruction will begin at 9:00.In-person learning will end at 12:00 and students will have opportunities for synchronous and asynchronous learning when they are home.
  • Students will be divided into small separate cohort groups and class sizes will be 13 or less each day.Cohorts will be divided by family at each school so that families will bring all students to school at the same time once all grade levels are open.
  • Social Emotional Learning – Each day will begin with SEL instruction.



In-person Learning Groups Model

Students will return in separate grade level groups according to the following: First group to return will be : 
Grade 5*  (Date to be determined)

Three-week break between groups

Second group to return will be:  6th 8th Grade    (Date to be determined)

*This is a change from previous communication, the enrollment numbers and student groups are low enough that these students can return as one group, rather than two.

                                                                                  Pioneer School District 

Dear Pioneer School District Families:

We are ending a challenging week in our district where we have suffered the painful loss of a student, unprecedented financial cuts that have impacted our staff, and have unique and ever changing challenges in reopening schools this fall.

We understand how difficult it has been to wait and how anxious families are to get answers to their questions and concerns about our new school year. As information coming from the state and county has added additional challenges, the plan we have for fall keeps adjusting to meet them. Our goal is to provide our most current information in the attached document, but please know some things may shift slightly in these unprecedented times.

Please know that our primary goal as a district is to always do the important things that are best for your children because their learning and success is the reason we are here at Pioneer.

I have faith in our amazing team of teachers and staff at Pioneer and believe we will continue to move forward together with our families keeping the best interests of our students at the heart of each step we take.  It will not be an easy year, but we will find joy in this new and evolving way of doing what we do best, preparing our students for an amazing future that we set the foundation for through our work with them.

The attached document Includes detailed information to guide you, but is the first of many communications that will be shared to provide guidance and support for our new school year. In this plan, our district has worked hard to develop what we believe is best for our students as we begin school in this challenging time.

We embrace the opportunity to move forward together in partnership with our families because we believe as a district that what is best for our students will always be at the heart of everything we do. We will take the steps in this journey together with you our students and families mean so much to us

 We will do everything in our power to make this the best year for our students because our vision of wanting “every child, every day” to succeed are more than just words to us.

Your child’s teacher will be reaching out to schedule a Connection for Success conference as referenced in this document and information will continue to flow from us to you as we begin our year.

Thank you for your grace and patience, we are grateful to be on this journey into Fall 2020 together with you and your children.

I am wishing the best to each of you as summer ends and school begins.


Jill Diehl, Superintendent

Queridas familias del Distrito Escolar Pioneer:


Nuestro distrito está finalizando con una semana llena de dificultades en la que hemos sufrido la dolorosa pérdida de un estudiante, recortes financieros sin precedentes que han impactado a nuestro personal y que presentan dificultades únicas, y en constante cambio, para reabrir las escuelas este otoño.

Entendemos lo difícil que ha sido esperar y lo ansiosas que están las familias por obtener respuestas a sus preguntas e inquietudes sobre nuestro nuevo año escolar. Debido a que la información que viene del estado y del condado nos ha traído más retos, el plan que tenemos para el otoño se sigue ajustando para cumplir con ellos. En el documento adjunto, nuestro objetivo es proveerles nuestra información más actualizada, pero por favor sepan que algunas cosas pueden cambiar ligeramente en estos tiempos sin precedentes.

Quiero que sepan que nuestro objetivo principal como distrito es hacer siempre lo mejor para sus hijos, porque su aprendizaje y éxito es la razón por la que estamos aquí en Pioneer.

Tengo fe en nuestro increíble equipo de docentes y personal de Pioneer y creo que seguiremos avanzando de la mano de nuestras familias manteniendo los intereses de nuestros estudiantes en el centro de cada paso que demos.  No será un año fácil, pero hallaremos satisfacción en esta nueva y evolutiva forma de hacer lo que mejor sabemos hacer, preparando a nuestros estudiantes para un increíble futuro en el que nosotros ponemos los cimientos a través de nuestro trabajo con ellos.

El documento adjunto incluye información detallada para guiarlos, pero es la primera de las muchas comunicaciones que se compartirán para proporcionarles orientación y apoyo para nuestro nuevo año escolar. En este plan, nuestro distrito ha trabajado muy duro para desarrollar lo que creemos que es mejor para nuestros estudiantes al comienzo de la escuela en esta época tan difícil.

 Aprovechamos la oportunidad de avanzar juntos en asociación con nuestras familias porque creemos como distrito que lo mejor para nuestros estudiantes siempre estará en el corazón de todo lo que hacemos. ¡Daremos los pasos de este viaje junto con ustedes, porque nuestros estudiantes y familias significan mucho para nosotros!

Haremos todo lo que esté a nuestro alcance para que este sea el mejor año para nuestros estudiantes porque nuestra visión de querer que "cada niño, cada día" tenga éxito significa más que sólo palabras para nosotros.

El maestro de su estudiante se pondrá en contacto para programar una conferencia llamada Conexión para el Éxito que se menciona en este documento y continuaremos enviándoles información al comenzar el año.

Gracias por su amabilidad y paciencia, estamos agradecidos de estar en este viaje hacia el otoño de 2020 junto con ustedes y sus hijos.


Les deseo lo mejor a cada uno de ustedes al terminar el verano y comenzar la escuela.


Jill Diehl, Superintendenta

A message from the Mason County Health Officer:

August 12, 2020

Dear Mason County School Superintendents:

First, I wanted to extend my gratitude to the education leadership for all the hard work that has been done in order to ensure the safety of our county’s children. Unfortunately, currently Mason County has started to see a drastic increase in new cases. Over the past 3 weeks, the confirmed cases of COVID-19 in our county have almost tripled the total that we had over the previous 5 months. The age of the confirmed COVID-19 cases in our community has also been trending towards younger individuals. Multiple studies have recently been published indicating the impact of schools in the spread of COVID-19. The reduction in the spread of the virus can lead to a significantly reduced incidence of death throughout the community.

The Washington State Department of Health has provided guidance for reopening schools. This decision tree stratifies areas into low, moderate and high COVID-19 activity levels. The State considers any area with more than 75 cases per 100,000 individuals in a 14-day time period, an increasing trend in cases and a test positivity rate of more than 5% as high activity locations. In calculating our values, Mason County is currently at 169 new cases per 100,000 residents in the last14 days, there is an increasing case rate and we have a more than 10% positivity rate over the past 10 days. These values clearly place Mason County into the high-risk category. The guidance from the State in this situation would be to “strongly recommend distance learning with the option for limiting in-person learning in small groups… for the highest need students…” This guidance continues that high-risk communities should “strongly recommend cancelling or postponing all in person extracurricular activities, including sports, performances, clubs, events, etc.” Based on the activity level of COVID-19 in Mason County, along with the guidance from the State, I am recommending that all public and private K-12 education centers open only to distance learning options. Exceptions to this guidance would be to consider limited in-person education for those students who are unable to fully utilize distance learning options.

School administrators remain ultimately responsible for establishing the education services appropriate for their students. Cooperation and coordination with the local health department is essential to preserve the health and wellness of our county’s youth. I recognize that changing our previous education strategy may have many unintended consequences for individuals and family members. I commit to frequently reassessing the state of COVID-19 in our community and will recommend opening to further in-person education as soon as it is safe to do so.

In order to safely open, we must start to see a reduction in the community spread of this virus. It is the responsibility of everyone in our community to work on the mitigation strategies that we had previously laid out. I want to again emphasize the importance of maintaining social distancing, masking while in public, staying away from others when you are ill, and getting tested if you are exhibiting any COVID-19 symptoms. This is an unprecedented time. We must all come together to reduce the spread of this virus to protect our children and our community.


Daniel Stein, M.D., Mason County Health Officer

Letter from Dr. Stein - PDF

     Pioneer School District

August 4, 2020

Dear Pioneer School District Family,

Our district’s primary focus is on the health and safety of our students, families, and staff as we plan for reopening school.  After careful consideration of the increasing COVID-19 cases in Mason County and the concerns expressed by our Public Health Officer, we have made the decision to start school with our Remote Continuous Learning 2.0 model where our students will be in 100% remote distance learning in Fall 2020 or families will have the option of selecting the Pioneer Academy Home School program.

The Remote Continuous Learning 2.0 model will be strongly focused on quality learning for all students and may include options for small group onsite instructional intervention with adherence to the Washington State Department of Health requirements. The model will be significantly improved from last spring's emergency closure plan. Instruction will include a combination of enhanced learning opportunities and experiences, structured support for students and families, and improved communication for the highest levels of student success. The remote learning model will be in place through the first trimester or until we can safely transition our students to a hybrid or traditional face-to-face learning model. 

Detailed information on both models including enrollment, schedules, attendance, course completion, and grading will be provided soon. We appreciate your patience and support as we move forward with our reopening plan and please know the heartfelt decision-making that went into selecting what we believe to be the healthiest and safest models for each member of our Pioneer family.


Jill Diehl, Superintendent
Pioneer School District

Agosto 4, 2020

Apreciadas Familias y Comunidad del Distrito Pioneer

El enfoque principal de nuestro distrito es la salud y la seguridad de nuestros estudiantes, familias y personal mientras planeamos la reapertura de la escuela. Después de una cuidadosa consideración de los crecientes casos de COVID-19 en el Condado de Mason y de las preocupaciones expresadas por nuestro Oficial de Salud Pública, hemos tomado la decisión de comenzar la escuela con nuestro modelo de Aprendizaje a Distancia Continuo 2.0 donde nuestros estudiantes estarán de tiempo completo en un modelo de aprendizaje a distancia en el otoño del 2020.

Este modelo de aprendizaje a distancia se centrará en gran medida en un aprendizaje de calidad para todos los estudiantes e incluirá una combinación de grandes oportunidades y experiencias de aprendizaje con un apoyo estructurado y una comunicación óptima para lograr los más altos niveles de éxito de los estudiantes. 

Próximamente se dará una información detallada sobre el modelo, incluyendo los horarios, la asistencia, la finalización del curso y la calificación. Este plan estará en marcha durante el primer trimestre o hasta que podamos hacer una transición segura de nuestros estudiantes a un modelo de aprendizaje híbrido o el tradicional de forma presencial. Apreciamos su paciencia y apoyo a medida que avanzamos con este modelo y por favor sepan de la sincera decisión que se tomó al seleccionar lo que creemos que es el modelo más saludable y seguro para cada miembro de nuestra familia Pioneer.


Jill Diehl, Superintendenta

Escuelas del Distrito Pioneer

July 28, 2020

Dear Pioneer School District Families & Staff: 

Tonight the Pioneer School District Board of Trustees approved the Reopening Schools Plan that is currently posted on our website in the Reopening Tab and we will now be submitting the plan to OSPI for final approval.  The plan our district has developed includes two primary models, the Pioneer Online Academy, which is a home schooling option and the Pioneer Flex Program, which is a hybrid model combining on-site learning two days per week with distance learning three days per week.  Detailed information regarding scheduling, structure, and guidelines for attendance and grading will be coming out soon to our families and staff. 

The final model in our plan is our Remote Continuous Learning Plan 2.0. In this model, all students will participate in distance learning if it is determined that it is not safe to return students to school or if schools are required to close by the Mason County Health Department, Washington State Department of Health, OSPI, Governor Inslee, or through an emergency board decision due to the COVID 19 Pandemic. If the decision to close is determined, the district will quickly shift from face-to-face instruction to a Continuous Learning 2.0 plan for all Pre-K-8th grade students who enrolled in the Pioneer Flex program.

Implementation of our new and improved Continuous Learning 2.0 plan will include a combination of enhanced asynchronous learning experiences through online lessons, pre-recorded video lessons, and prepared lessons along with live streaming and virtual interaction opportunities with classroom teachers.  Students, families, and staff will be provided with specific details around the structure and schedule for each grade level, guidelines for attendance, course completion, and grading for remote learning if this plan is implemented to meet health and safety standards.

Our current situation is an evolving process with daily changes but the district is working closely with our Mason County Health Officer to identify the reopening plan that provides the safest option for our students and staff.  As information changes or is updated, we will provide updated communication to our staff and families through our website, email, and social media.  

We appreciate your patience and support as the district works through a very challenging process. Please know the health and safety of each member of our Pioneer family and quality student learning are our highest priorities.  


Jill Diehl, Superintendent

Pioneer School District