Monday morning’s Department of Health meeting brought no new changes. Seattle and King County are in the high-risk category. The recommendation is for us to stay the course, so we will continue with remote learning for students in grades 3-8 and in-school learning for students in PreK-2, who are already in cohorts.
Public Health representatives reminded us that each one of us is responsible for helping to decrease the numbers. We learned that over 100 of the recent outbreaks occurred in businesses and family gatherings; many of them were the result of community spread. We must remain vigilant. We have had requests to host trunk/treat events on the playground, but we cannot condone such risky gatherings. Regardless of how your family chooses to celebrate Halloween this year, please remember that our top priority is the health and safety of our community. We strongly encourage you to follow the Department of Health’s guidelines for Halloween safety and know that the school will do its part by closing the campus, including the parking lot and playground, on Halloween.
Speaking of the safety of our community, it is imperative that all pedestrians use the crosswalks, especially during drop off and pick up when there is an increase in vehicular activity. Remind your children that they must use the crosswalks any time they want to cross the street. Please obey traffic laws and pick up your student on the north side of 79th Street. If you are dropping off or picking up curbside by car, please be extremely cautious and on high alert for students looking for their parents.
Next week we have virtual conferences. There is no school on conference days as teachers will be hosting conferences on zoom. Teachers will send you pertinent information, including their zoom links. They will utilize the waiting room, and you will be ‘admitted’ once they finish the conference before yours. Some teachers request the student’s presence for the duration of the conference. The younger students may be asked to leave after the first few minutes. These conferences are a time to build on what is going well and to discuss good habits to maintain wellness and health for remote and in-person learners.
It is almost election time, and I am sure you are researching the candidates nationally and in our district and completing your ballot. In class, teachers are discussing topics such as the history and importance of voting, democracy, and the electoral college. They are aware that students may pick up on the many conversations and emotions that they witness around election time. Our teachers offer a safe space for the students to express their thoughts and ask questions. The teachers will never push their political views; instead, they discuss issues as objectively as possible. As a faculty, we talk about the Pope’s message of voting with our consciences. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has issued a pastoral letter regarding racism and voting, which may help with further discussion.
Over the past year, our children have been exposed to conversations about coronavirus, racism, environmental disasters, and food insecurity. Our role as parents and teachers is to offer them the opportunities to be heard, the comfort of community, and the virtue of hope and prayer. I am sure that during this time of so many uncertainties, you are having such conversations at home. If your child is experiencing any signs of anxiety, let us know. You can also reach out to our counselor, Ms. Shaw, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As I reread this letter I feel it is lacking joy! I do want us to laugh, to laugh cheerfully, and have fun! I also want us to be healthy and the decision tree to show that we are in the low-risk zone. I am very grateful to all of you who are showing your appreciation to the hard-working teachers and adding smiles to our days! Together we can!
The St. John 8th grade math teams who competed in the Settle Prep Virtual Math Games practiced the theme! Student teams of eighth-graders from 22 different schools zoomed their way through a creative scavenger hunt, followed by a timed “escape room.” St. John Team 1 made it out of the escape room! Well done!
Today is the Feast Day of Pope John Paul II. I found this message of his to be so relevant: “The way Jesus shows you is not easy. Rather it is like a path winding up a mountain. Do not lose heart! The steeper the road, the faster it rises to ever-widening horizons!”