Principal’s Letter

It is Holy Thursday. This day is also known as Maundy Thursday (maundy from the Latin mandatum meaning command, order, mandate). On this day we remember Jesus gave his disciples “a new commandment:  love one another. As I have loved you so you also should love one another.”  John 13:34.

Teachers this week have been bringing Holy Week alive in our classrooms. The second graders will present the Stations of the Cross devotion tomorrow at 11am. Along with written reflections the student will showcase art created by our 8th grade students commemorating Jesus’s last day on earth. Join us at 11am on the Parish Facebook page for the live stream service.

And Sunday we celebrate Easter and God’s resurrection. We are reminded of the Paschal Mystery—the dying and the rising—and we look for connections to this in our own lives and collective experiences. The sacrifices we have all made during this pandemic year seem small in comparison when we remember how Jesus gave us His life for us. I invite you to join the Parish this evening, tomorrow Good Friday, and for Easter services, as we gather together in-person and virtually to celebrate the primary feast in our liturgical year.

In the spirit of rising, we are also planning to open our classrooms to more students in April. Last week the Governor shared updated guidance from the Washington State Department of Health in which the CDC’s physical distancing recommendation was reduced from six feet to three feet in certain situations. This update will allow more students into each classroom. Please note the following updates:

  • New guidance states that in areas of high community transmission, middle school must maintain six feet between students. High transmission is defined as a “COVID-19 case rate of greater than 200 cases per 100,000 population over 14 days or test positivity is greater than 10%.” Today’s level was 149.1. Should cases continue to rise in King County to these levels, the school may postpone plans and remain in the hybrid model.
  • CDC’s new guidance commands that six feet of distancing remain in place between students and teachers/staff and in common areas and during lunch.

Based on the new guidance, the school continues to work on our plan to get students in grades 3-8 back on campus five days a week. We are able to communicate the following today:

  • The school is not identifying a specific date for a transition to 100% capacity at this time. No changes to the current plan will be implemented prior to April 19.
  • Should the school move to 100% capacity, arrival and dismissal times for grades PreK-8 will remain as they are now.
  • Grades 3-8 will be on campus on Fridays for in-person instruction.
  • Hot lunch service will be offered Tuesday-Thursday. A variety of locations, both indoor and outdoor, will be utilized for student dining areas, keeping in mind a distance of 6 feet once masks are removed.
  • Zero Period (grades 7/8) will be taught on campus.
  • A remote learning option will be limited to those students with accommodation plans, families who are in quarantine due to Covid-19 or those at home for medical reasons.
  • Should families elect for non-essential travel out of the state after Easter break, the remote option during recommended quarantine will not be offered. I encourage you to avoid out-of-state travel for those last eight weeks of school. Once we open to full in-person learning, your children need to be here on a consistent basis so we can ensure they are ready for the next grade level.
  • You can expect more detailed communication from the school following Easter Break.

One of our kindergarten cohorts, along with support staff, are currently in quarantine as we learned of a student’s positive test result last evening. Having not had a case in the school since November, this instance is a reminder to all of us to remain vigilant and not be complacent in our battle against this virus. Please continue to act for the common good.

Thank you, St. John Drama, for providing the community with an outstanding musical production! We all thoroughly enjoyed the musical. Our younger students were in awe as they watched the big kids perform. I am in awe of our amazing director Kari Aguila and her team: David Benefiel, Production Assistant; Jaden Jones, choreographer; and Carlene Merlino, Telia Oines, Meg McNulty, and Kathleen Owens, who created and delivered the Special Ticket Packages. Bravo! Mrs. Aguila brought out the best in these students whose talent and enthusiasm shone through the virtual production. Tickets are still available for the final three shows this weekend! Parents and children both love this production!

There is still time to sign up for an Ethan Stowell virtual cooking class. Guests will receive ingredients to make three pastas and will also get to enjoy seasonal mozzarella, little gem salad, cookies and a bottle of wine. The meal serves two people and features three of his signature pastas – Gnocchi Telefono, Tonnarelli cacio e Pepe, and Rigatoni with Italian sausage, tomato and marjoram. Ethan is generously donating these classes to the school – so the school will keep all of the proceeds. Thank you, Ethan!

Mrs. Costa is beginning her maternity leave tomorrow Friday, April 2. We wish her and Mr. Costa the very best, and we are looking forward to hearing about the arrival of Baby Costa. Mrs. Caroline Lochner will begin on April 12 as the long-term substitute for Mrs. Costa’s class. She has her Eagle wings having already shadowed and subbed for Mrs. Costa. Mrs. Lochner is an experienced, certified teacher. As she shared with the first-grade families,  “… My name is Caroline Lochner, but I go by “Bonnie.” I completed my Master’s in Teaching and have been subbing for Seattle Public Schools and the Archdiocese of Seattle. I have three children, the oldest is a freshman at Tulane University, a daughter in 11th grade at Ballard High, and a 6th grader at St. Alphonsus.” Mrs. Lochner is looking forward to spending more time with our community.

We also welcome Mr. Adam Peterson to the school and parish maintenance team. You will see Adam on campus assisting the team.

I want to recognize our teachers for their efforts as they have earned a needed vacation.

I wish you all a restful and joyous Easter vacation. God Bless,

Bernadette O’Leary