Principal’s Letter

Day four of having both preschool and primary students on campus! It is delightful to hear the children’s happy voices in the building. I am very grateful to our teachers, assistants, maintenance team, playground volunteers, and kitchen team who have stepped up to tackle this very challenging situation. The protocols required to bring students back on campus are very demanding; there are daily health screenings, scheduling for nine cohorts, social distancing – ask your student about eagle arms, bathroom assignments, frequent handwashing, cleaning and sanitizing of desks, doorknobs, faucets, railings, PE equipment; children touch it, we clean it!

Our community’s top priority is to keep everyone safe and healthy. Only then can we focus on academics. Vigilance is key.  We have had to send some families home at check-in due to high body temperatures. We cannot and will not take risks. We have to refuse entry to children who exhibit ANY COVID-19 symptoms unless they have been cleared, in writing, by their pediatrician. Please keep them home where they can join the remote session. We attached these guidelines to the Reopening Plan on the website, but I have copied this section for your reference:

When should sick students or staff isolate/quarantine and for how long?
Sick students or staff who have not been in close contact with anyone with confirmed COVID-19 should be encouraged to follow-up with a medical provider if possible, especially if symptoms get worse. If they have NOT been tested for COVID-19, remain home for at least 10 days after symptoms began, AND at least 24 hours after the fever has resolved AND symptoms have improved.

If they tested NEGATIVE for COVID-19, remain home for at least 24 hours after the fever has resolved and symptoms have improved. Sick students or staff who have been in close contact with someone with confirmed COVID-19 should be encouraged to get tested and remain home for:

      • at least 14 days from date of last exposure
      • AND at least 10 days after symptoms began
      • AND at least 24 hours after fever has resolved without the use of fever-reducing medications
      • AND symptoms have improved.
        Updated September 3, 2020

Just as you balanced remote learning and work, our teachers are balancing teaching to three cohorts in three different rooms as well as remote learners.  I am in awe of their creativity, flexibility, and willingness to deal with the logistics.  And I am in awe of our students, who are keeping their masks on, social distancing, washing their hands, all the while still so eager to learn.  Thank you also for your patience as we manage this reality.

The Public Health – Seattle & King County dashboard indicates that the transmission rate is rising.  Last week it was 53, yesterday it was 72.  The COVID-19 situation is dynamic, so we will remain nimble in our ability to switch back to an all-school remote learning schedule should COVID-19 numbers increase or if cases appear on campus.

Because of this two week increase, at the recommendation of the Department of Health School Reopening Team, we need to slow down bringing additional students on campus. Until we hear otherwise, we will remain open for grades K – 2.  We are postponing bringing grades 3-5 back on campus. We will not consider bringing middle-school back to campus until we have reached the low-risk phase (25 per 100,000). Given the fact that we are back at 72, and with the holidays approaching, this may not be until after Christmas.

In brighter news, pat yourself on the back!  We exceeded our Jog-a-thon goal!  Thank you, again, for your cooperation and generosity to the Jog-a-thon.

On Sunday, our last group of third graders will receive First Communion. Congratulations to all the children and their families who waited months for this special moment. In other years, at the first Mass after the First Communion weekend, we acknowledge the second graders who are receiving Holy Communion for the second time.  Next week, we will live-stream mass on Monday, October 12 at 9:15am, and we will pray for all the First Communicants at this Mass.

Some key dates are coming up.  Please schedule accordingly:

  • Progress reports will be sent home, by mail, to families of students in grades 3 – 8 on October 15;
  • October 16 is a day off for the students and a professional development day for the teachers;
  • October 26 and 30 are Student/Parent/Teacher conference days – lookout for the sign-up opportunity and please make time to Zoom in with your child’s homeroom teacher.

Pray on,

Bernadette O’Leary