Principal’s Letter

This Advent we are forced to slow down; we are asked to stay home. In order to be safe we must put off the big trips and forgo our  large gatherings of extended family and friends. Slowing down and keeping it simple can be difficult, but we need to be humble, to forego our wants, and focus on heart, soul, and health!  Though this is a different kind of holiday season, the opening of today’s first reading offers us comfort.

I am the LORD, your God,
who grasp your right hand;
It is I who say to you, “Fear not,
I will help you.”

God is good, kind, helpful.  We can trust him. Remember our theme this year, “Together we can: Love with mercy, Act with justice, Walk humbly with God.”

We began Tuesday’s All School Mass with the song, “I say yes, my Lord.”  Thank you to all who are saying yes, like those who are supporting our Unbound friends – shout out to the elves who have been dropping off donations in class and at hot lunch pick-up, and to the Elves-in-Training who have responded to the Kindness Activities and STEM challenge!  Please send pictures of your elves in action to Adrey Ocampo at

Thank you to the middle school students who are saying yes by leading service drives outside of school as well as helping Unbound.  Thank you, Ryan O., who answered the call for advocacy and is now collecting new coats for Youth Care, and to Amelia G. and Lennon C. who are raising money for Veterans’ Affairs.

At yesterday’s meeting with Public Health, Seattle & King County, officials said they have not established any further guidance regarding reopening after the holiday break. Officials reiterated that they are supporting “the recommendations of the governor’s office on individuals quarantining after out-of-state travel and that travel should be avoided if possible.”  They advised us to continue screening and to be alert for possibilities of an increase in symptoms due to increased travel and holiday gathering.  They expressed concern for school faculty and staff because of the exponential increase in virus transmission.

What does that mean for St. John School? Can more remote students return? Will more grades be on-campus? We, faculty and staff, are asking you:  Are you traveling this Christmas?  Are you gathering with folks outside your immediate family?  Are you going to crowded places? Children are impacted by transmission rates in the community, and schools cannot be successful unless people are cooperating. We request that you follow the guidelines to keep our students and teachers safe. Please follow the quarantine guidelines if you travel and if you find yourself in a group larger than six. We need a significant drop in the transmission rate before we can safely bring back more students.  Currently, the two-week trend for the total number of cases per 100,000 residents is over 400; the new dashboard metric, if implemented, would advise that the number be below 200 before we can bring more students back on campus.

Though these trying times ask a lot from us, we can still appreciate and enjoy the spirit of the holidays. Be on the watch next week as our music teachers share with you our first ever virtual Christmas programs. Light your Advent candle and pray for your family, friends, and community, donate to your favorite non-profit, and let loose – join in Spirit Week – and have some holiday fun.


Bernadette O’Leary