Coronavirus (COVID-19)

 

West Sound Academy is closely monitoring news and information on the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in our area.  The situation continues to evolve rapidly; please check this page regularly for information and updates regarding our preparation and procedures to address coronavirus with our community.

 

West Sound Academy updates

Remote Learning Course Schedule, updated March 20, 2020

Remote Learning Course Schedule, UPDATED March 20, 2020

Use this schedule to know what period your classes meet in and when you have no classes scheduled.

Please note that several classes have changed to different periods.

Remote Learning Course Schedule

 

Download the Remote Learning Course Schedule, updated March 20, 2020,  here.

Remote Learning Guidelines for Students, updated March 17, 2020

Last updated 03-17-2020 Blue text represents changes since the last version.

The need for remote learning has presented itself with the spread of COVID-19, also known as the coronavirus in recent weeks.  WSA is moving to remote learning from home for students for a period to help ensure the safety of our community.  However, learning to work effectively on a virtual platform is a skill that you will need in the future. This guide is designed to establish the protocols for participating in a WSA Zoom class.

Attendance

Students will follow the new daily class schedule and course schedule emailed, attached to this document and posted to the Hawk’s Nest on our website.  This class schedule has changed when some of your classes meet in order to support balance while learning at home.  Some elective classes have been suspended and will not meet or have been condensed into one period. You should plan to attend class even if you are sick as long as you are not incapacitated.  A good measure is that if you are well enough to watch TV, you are well enough to attend class.

Every scheduled class will start with a minimum ten-minute Zoom meeting check-in for the purpose of taking attendance.  Students will be marked Absent Unexcused if they miss the ten-minute mark. If they email or check-in after ten minutes, they will be marked Tardy Excused.  If you need to miss a class, please email the teacher ahead of time.

Using Zoom for Virtual Classes (Synchronous Class Time)

Environment
  • Choose a place that you can sit comfortably for at least 60 minutes without interruption.
  • Make sure you are not sitting in front of a window or bright light that shadows your face or makes it hard to look at your video image
  • Make sure items in the background are suitable for classmates and teachers to see
  • Try to keep pets or other distracting elements out of the room
  • Don’t plan to multi-task while Zoom conferencing. No cooking, knitting, jumping on the bed, folding laundry, etc.
Tools You Need
  • Computer with your email, Google classroom and preferred browser open
  • Power plug for computer
  • Books or notebooks for the class
  • Headphones are required! To preserve the safe space of the classroom and the privacy of your peers, you should always attend a Zoom class with headphones rather than the audio on for all to hear at home
  • Pen or pencil for note-taking
Meeting Habits
  • Please join the meeting “using computer audio” and with your video on
  • Upon joining, say hello to test that the host can hear you and you can hear the host
  • Once that has been confirmed, turn your audio to mute using the toolbar in the lower right corner of the Zoom video screen
  • Do not record a Zoom session unless instructed to do so by the teacher
  • Keep the video on unless the teacher tells you to turn it off, or you need to do something that you prefer people don’t see like blow your nose, etc.
  • If the teacher plans to record part of the session, he or she will instruct you to turn your video off
  • If you have a question, there is a “raise your hand” feature on Zoom that your teacher will show you
  • Don’t leave the meeting until the teacher has dismissed you or ended the session for all

Seatwork, Projects & Assessments (Asynchronous Time)

Seatwork

The nature of remote learning is that independent seatwork is assigned more than if you were in the classroom together.  The teacher may host a Zoom class meeting and then assign seatwork instead of doing the class in Zoom for the full 100 minutes.  The teacher will require seatwork to be submitted to Google classroom by a specific time.  If the due date and time are not the end of the current class period it was assigned in, then you can do the work asynchronously, which means you don’t have to do it at the same time as the class period. However, turning your work in on time is very important, so set reminders on your phone or computer to help you remember when you need to get things completed. Seatwork might look like homework or might be in addition to homework.

Projects

Project assignments that are already in process will be modified so that they are completed remotely.  Your teachers will give you specifics on what those changes will be.  New projects that are assigned during remote learning will be more structured and streamlined since you have to do much of the work without the teacher being as readily accessible. However, using email to ask questions is essential to making sure you don’t get stuck.

Assessments

Tests and quizzes will look a little different than they do when given in class. The teachers have several ways that they might administer a test remotely.  Parents might be asked to proctor a test.  You might be asked to sign a statement of academic honesty, indicating that you completed the test without additional resources that were not allowed.  Or tests might be given open note.  Your teachers will provide clear instructions on what is required for quizzes and tests.  Academic honesty remains at the core of our teaching and learning at WSA.  Students are bound by the policy that they signed at the start of the year.

Communication

Students will need to check email, FACTS Homework page and Google Classroom daily.  Teachers will not send any email communications or change anything on FACTS or Google Classroom after 5 pm that affects the next day’s class.  Teachers will try to streamline information by using Google Classroom to communicate class information and email for individual information. Check your email and Google Classrooms daily in case something unexpected comes up and the teacher needs to adjust the day’s plan.  Teachers will respond to questions between 8 am and 5 pm.  Do not expect teachers to respond to email after 5 pm.

Less is More

Having consulted with teachers and schools who have moved to remote learning before WSA, we have learned a few tips. Teachers will start your remote learning experience with a “less is more “ approach and then adjust from there.   We know we have to remote learn for at least six weeks, perhaps longer, so we don’t want to burn students out right from the get go.  As we find our rhythm, we will have a new routine that becomes our new normal and still prepares you for next year.  We have modified our schedule in order to support student endurance as well.

Wellness

The reasons behind moving to remote learning are important and the learning will still be effective, but it will not be as engaging or collaborative as it is when we have school on site.  The novelty of remote learning will wear off quickly.  Communicate to teachers when you are struggling or completing your work very quickly with too much downtime.  They can make adjustments but will need your feedback to know what changes are needed.

Remote Learning Daily Schedule

Use this schedule to know what time each period meets.  There are some adjustments to the start time for some periods.

Daily Schedule for Remote Learning, Spring, 2020

Remote Learning Course Schedule

Use this schedule to know what period your classes meet in and when you have no classes scheduled.

Please note that several classes have changed to different periods.

Remote Learning Course Schedule, March 19 - April 24, 2020 

Download the PDF of this flyer:  Remote Learning Guidelines for Students, updated March 17, 2020
March 13, 2020 - Email to staff, parents and guardians, and students; Subject: WSA on Extended Closure until April 27

Hello WSA Students, Staff and Parents,

Governor Inslee made the directive this afternoon that all public and private schools in Washington State must close to on-site learning starting March 17 through April 24, 2020.  This means that that the earliest that WSA will re-open to on-site learning is April 27, 2020.  The governor acknowledge the fluidity of these circumstances and that things may continue to change.  WSA will continue with our plan for remote learning until Spring Break and then resume remote learning the two weeks after Spring Break. 

There currently is legislation that has passed and is ready for the governor’s signature that makes an emergency adjustment for required instructional hours.  I do not have the details of that yet, but WSA will continue instruction until we have finished the intended second semester content planned for this year so that our students are not starting next year from a disadvantage.  We will be able to achieve this goal within our original academic calendar and not spill over into summer break.  I am sure you are wondering about June Term, and we will keep you updated as things unfold.

The next phase of this virus is that people close to us are going to be exposed or diagnosed. There will be more cases rather than fewer cases in the coming weeks. We still do not have a direct case diagnosed at WSA, but we do have a few reports of secondary contact.  There will be more, but these efforts to slow the spread will be effective.

And so, we are looking forward to “seeing” our students on Thursday at virtual school. Please know that we recognize this is new to all of us and that there are no absolutes. If students have technical issues, we will work with you…good communication is your best tool. If something is challenging with our new normal, let us know. We will figure it all out.

Have a safe and socially distant weekend!

Barrie

 

March 11, 2020 - Email to staff, parents and guardians, and students; Subject: Extended Closure starts March 16

We have made the decision to go into extended closure status with remote learning effective March 16, 2020 through our return from Spring Break, Monday, April 13, 2020.  We will continue to have school tomorrow and Friday of this week.  Teachers will encourage students to take home materials they might need on Friday.  Please read this entire email carefully as it contains many relevant answers to your questions.

Moving to Extended Closure and remote learning is not a decision that Board Chair, Margaret Johnston, and I make lightly, especially as we have not received an agency directive to close the school, nor a response to specific cases of COVID-19 being present in our school’s community. West Sound Academy continues to have no reported or confirmed cases of students, faculty, staff, or administration with Coronavirus (COVID-19) or who have had direct exposure to someone who has been diagnosed with Coronavirus (COVID-19).  

Governor Jay Inslee has taken new measures today which has also prompted Seattle Public Schools and Bellevue School District to announce two -week closures. Moving to remote learning at this time may still be at the early stages of the impact to our region, but it is a prudent decision that WSA can make as an independent and nimble school.

Monday through Wednesday next week will be in-service days where students are not expected to connect to school. Thursday and Friday will be our first remote learning days.  Remote Learning will continue through April 2 and then there will be no remote learning on Friday, April 3 or during Spring Break.  Please refer to the WSA planner to know what classes meet on what days.

Yesterday we shared a guidance document that was provided this week in Advisory class that helps students understand our protocols for remote learning.  We may send out updates to that after our in-service next week.  Please see the Remote Learning Daily Schedule. It allows for first and fourth period as well as third and sixth periods to start on the half hour.  We ask that parents try not to schedule other activities during the “school day” schedule.  That being said, there will be times when kids can choose to work asynchronously to the class period.

WSA administrators, faculty, and staff will be accessible through email. There will be admin staff on campus during Extended Closure from 9 am to 3 pm, Monday through Friday. Students need to be diligent in checking email, FACTS, and Google classroom multiple times a day, and at least once in the morning and once in the afternoon. 

We understand that some families may not have the best connectivity at home.  We recommend that you connect via Zoom using audio only and not video if you are worried about that. As we learn more what problems arise, we will make adjustments.  Internet speeds in your neighborhood may be slower than usual due to so many people working from home.  If a student has difficulty connecting or there are power outages, just send an email to the teacher(s) of the classes missed letting them know and then treat it just like a normal absence from school to find out what was missed.

During Extended Closure, our participation in all competitions, rehearsals and performances, and club activities are canceled through April 13, 2020. We recognize that this will be deeply disappointing to students who have been working hard to prepare for their competitions and performances, but we must prioritize their long-term health and safety. Rehearsals for the school musical performance will be put on hiatus starting Monday, March 16 until we return. The performance date will be rescheduled to June and rehearsals restarted after the closure has ended if time allows.  The State Knowledge Bowl competition is currently being rescheduled so we will make a decision on that once we know their plans.

Teachers of Extended Research Project students will communicate directly to their students about the alternative plans for completing that project and conducting presentations. However, we will not host ERP presentations here at school.  IB Teachers will communicate directly to their students about Internal Assessments that need to be completed on-site.

Throughout the closure, Joe will continue to do a deep clean of our campus, supporting a healthy and clean environment for students to return to. Families will also receive regular email communications from the school with new and updated information. These updates will also be posted on our dedicated webpage here.

We ask that you restrict your in-person social interactions during the campus closure. Congregating in groups larger than 10 in public spaces and spending time with peers showing signs of respiratory distress is more likely to contribute to the spread of the virus. School closures will not be effective unless we put into place the type of social distancing measures recommended by our local public health officials.

I want to acknowledge that this situation is impacting all of us. The decision to close campus is one of the most challenging decisions we have had to make. We know it is challenging to manage our range of emotions, and the emotions of those around us, especially our children’s. As a way to remain positive in this environment, I encourage you to use this as an opportunity for family time, to eat meals together, play cards, read a book, and share stories of hope, fun and success. Be a support to a friend, a neighbor, a relative, or a stranger. Most of all, remember to experience the abundance of joy and love that surrounds us daily.

Please reach out to Barrie directly if you have questions.

Barrie Hillman, Head of School and Margaret Johnston, Board Chair

Remote Learning Guidelines for Students, updated March 10, 2020

The possible need for remote learning has presented itself with the spread of COVID-19, also known as the coronavirus in recent weeks. It is feasible that WSA will need to move to remote learning from home for a period to help ensure the safety of our community. However, learning to work effectively on a virtual platform is a skill that you will need in the future. This guide is designed to establish the protocols for participating in a WSA Zoom class.

Attendance

Students will follow the regular class schedule outlined in their WSA planner each school day. Math, Science, Language, English, and History will meet every scheduled class. For elective courses, the teacher has the discretion of reducing the schedule for remote learning and will communicate the schedule directly to the students affected what days students need to sign in.

Every scheduled class will start with a minimum ten-minute Zoom meeting check-in for the purpose of taking attendance. Students will be marked Absent Unexcused if they miss the ten-minute mark. If they email or check- in after ten minutes, they will be marked Tardy Unexcused. If you need to miss a class, please email the teacher ahead of time.

Using Zoom for Virtual Classes (Synchronous Class Time)

Environment

o Choose a place thaty ou can sit comfortably for at least 60 minutes without interruption.
o Make sure you are not sitting in front of a window or bright light that shadows your face or makes it hard to look at your video image
o Make sure items in the background are suitable for classmates and teachers to see
o Try to keep pets or other distracting elements out of the room
o Don’t plan to multi-task while Zoom conferencing. No cooking, knitting, jumping on the bed, folding laundry, etc.

Tools You Need

o Computer with your email, Google classroom and preferred browser open
o Power plug for computer
o Books or notebooks for the class
o Headphones are required! To preserve the safe space of the classroom and the privacy of your peers,you should always attend a Zoom class with headphones rather than the audio on for all to hear at home
o Pen or pencil for note-taking

Meeting Habits

o Please join the meeting “using computer audio” and with your video on
o Upon joining, say hello to test that the host can hear you and you can hear the host
o Once that has been confirmed, turn your audio to mute using the toolbar in the lower right corner of the Zoom video screen
o Do not record a Zoom session unless instructed to do so by the teacher
o Keep the video on unless the teacher tells you to turn it off, or you need to do something that you prefer people don’t see like blow your nose, etc.
o If the teacher plans to record part of the session, he or she will instruct you to turn your video off
o If yo uhave a question, you can unmute yourself as an indicator and wait to be acknowledged by the teacher or you can type a chat message to the group or just to one participant
o Don’t leave the meeting until the teacher has dismissed you or ended the session for all

Seatwork, Projects & Assessments (Asynchronous Time)

Seatwork

The nature of remote learning is that independent seatwork is assigned more than if you were in the classroom together. The teacher may host a 40-minute Zoom class and then assign seatwork instead of doing the class in Zoom for the full 100 minutes. The teacher will require seatwork to be submitted to Google classroom by a specific time. If the due date and time are not the end of the current class period it was assigned in, then you can do the work asynchronously, which means you don’t have to do it at the same time as the class period. However, turning your work in on time is very important, so set reminders on your phone to help you remember when you need to get things completed. Seatwork might look like homework or might be in addition to homework.

Projects

Project assignments that are already in process will be modified so that they are completed remotely. Your teachers will give you specifics on what those changes will be. New projects that are assigned during remote learning will be more structured and streamlined since you have to do much of the work without the teacher being as readily accessible. However, using email to ask questions is essential to making sure you don’t get stuck.

Assessments

Tests and quizzes will look a little different than they do when given in class. The teachers have several ways that they might administer a test remotely. Parents might be asked to proctor a test. You might be asked to sign a statement of academic honesty, indicating that you completed the test without additional resources that were not allowed. Or tests might be given open note. Your teachers will provide clear instructions on what is required for quizzes and tests. Academic honesty remains at the core of our teaching and learning at WSA. Students are bound by the policy that they signed at the start of the year.

Wellness

The reasons behind moving to remote learning are important and the learning will still be effective, but it will not be as engaging or collaborative as it is when we have school on site. The novelty of remote learning will wear off quickly. Communicate to teachers when you are struggling or completing your work very quickly with too much downtime. They can make adjustments but will need your feedback to know what changes are needed.

Remote learning due to wide-spread illness requires that you also maintain social distancing – meaning you should not go out to public events, museums, movies or similar environments. Staying home a lot generates boredom, and the feeling of being antsy and caged. Exercise, take walks, garden, get outside every day. Limit your fun screen time even more because you will have more school screen time. Eat well and, of course, wash your hands even at home!

 
Download the PDF of this flyer: Remote Learning Guidelines for Students
March 10, 2020 - Email to staff, parents and guardians, and students

Hello, WSA Students, Parents and Staff,

Today, as part of our preparation process,  Advisors went over WSA’s  document Remote Learning Guidelines for Students with our students in anticipation that we may have an Extended Closure.  Parents should also take a look at this document and are welcome to ask questions.

Here is a link to a new article from the Seattle Times summarizing King County’s newly developed system for response in regards to the virus that you might find informative.

While the disease is progressing in Kitsap County it is doing so slowly. As such, please plan that we will continue to have school this week. There are some major curricular milestones that we want to accomplish this week and the longer we are in class at school, the better.  We also have normal attendance rates for students and teachers. Low attendance for teachers and students is what is prompting many of the independent school closures in King County.

However, we are fully preparing for the possibility that next week could be the start of our Extended Closure.  The Board and I will make that decision by Friday in order to try to get us all out of a state of limbo as soon as we can.  I appreciate your support in knowing that this decision takes tremendous consideration of many factors that might not be as apparent to families as they are to us.

Thank you,

Barrie Hillman

Head of School

March 8, 2020 - Emails to staff, parents and guardians, and students

Email, March 8, 2020, 8:50 PM:

Hello again, Parents, Students and Staff,

I am erring on the side of more communication rather than less.  Kitsap County has reported a preliminary positive case for Covid-19 for a person over the age of 60 on Bainbridge Island. It was not a matter of if, but when, cases would be identified in Kitsap County due to wider testing protocols.  This is not a catalyst to close WSA yet.  We will be open for school tomorrow as previously reported. However, each family can make decisions that best fit their individual circumstances and needs. Absences for this reason are excused but students should take a pro-active role to communicate to teachers on how to stay up to speed on content.

The Board Chair and rest of the Executive Committee of the Board and I are in daily communication. The Heads of School in Seattle, the East side and outlying WA areas as a network are in hourly communication.  Here are WSA’s considerations today:

  • There have been no reported cases or reported exposures to COVID-19 in our school community
  • Kitsap County Health District continues to recommend schools remain open. They also recommend avoiding large gatherings, working remotely if possible, and protecting people at higher risk of infection
  • The absentee rate at WSA remains below average for this time of year, with a low percentage of families keeping children at home out of caution or medical reasons
  • Seattle Public Schools, North Kitsap School District and Bainbridge Island School District remain open as of this email
  • While some peer NWAIS schools in Seattle and the East side have elected to close proactively through mid-April, an equal number remain open. Schools are making decisions based on their specific needs and circumstances
  • We have not yet seen reported cases of COVID-19 increasing exponentially, and we are not seeing cases reported in children, even with increased testing underway

WSA acknowledges:

  • There is an absence of information regarding under what circumstances schools that are closed would trigger a reopening.
  • The WA Department of Health and Kitsap County Health District are weighing a broad range of issues that impact an array of constituencies, whereas our community at WSA may have a more narrow and unique set of needs triggering an extended closure
  • We know that the data and information is changing rapidly and that we must be prepared to respond promptly as new circumstances emerge

In light of the above, WSA will remain open tomorrow. However, the possibility of an extended closure is real and all of us should be anticipating several weeks of students learning from home and social distancing which means staying home a lot.   Oftentimes, if schools are closed due to illness, children’s exposures actually increase because they go to the grocery, the movies or meet up with non-school friends. We also recognize that some families are not comfortable leaving their children home alone while they go to work and want to support them as best we can. The decision to move to remote learning will come quickly. The health of our students, faculty, staff, and families is at the forefront of every decision and we have been grateful for your support in these unprecedented times. .

Best,

Barrie

Email, March 8, 2020, 2:04 PM:

Hello WSA Parents, Students and Staff,

Well, this week starts with the time change, includes a full moon and ends with Friday, the 13th so throw in a scary virus and we are all bound to feel overwhelmed and exhausted.  However, as of the 11 am report this morning, Kitsap County does not have any confirmed cases.  So we are essentially in the same place we were a week ago.  Things are evolving in Seattle and the East side with the agencies still not recommending school closures. However, while the public school districts must operate in a fashion tied to an agency directive, independent schools are more nimble. A handful of independent schools in Seattle and the East side have decided to move to an extended closure and remote learning status through the end of their spring breaks while others are still preparing and trying to keep kids in class as long as they can.   Most of the closures are coming as voluntary absentee rates rise for students and teachers and none of them are because there has been a case in the school’s immediate circle.

Long story short, WSA is still planning to operate status quo tomorrow on site and in the classroom.  We will continue to have Jessica teach remotely with Katelyn helping on site.  We have received a shipment of more hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes and ask that kids wash hands upon arrival, before lunch and before departing school and, of course, after using the restroom at a minimum.

I will keep you posted if anything changes,

Barrie

March 6, 2020 - Email to staff, parents and guardians, and students

Hello WSA Students, Staff and Parents,

Happy Friday and here is the latest update on COVID-19 as well as some more details on how we are getting ready for remote learning, if needed.  Kitsap County Healthy District still has not identified any cases although there are people being tested. They update their website at 11 am every morning. King County Public Health District has escalated their recommendations for schools in King County to be prepared for a closure directive, but have not yet issued that closure directive.  Several King County independent schools are planning for in-service days today and Monday to prepare for remote learning but will resume on-site school until that directive comes or another decision needs to be made.

WSA continues to prepare as well.  Spanish teacher, Jessica Outlaw, will be staying home and conducting her classes from home today and next week.  She has some underlying health issues that are reason enough to be extra cautious and so we are using this opportunity to allow her to practice conducting lessons remotely and to help work out the bugs for us. Since she is the only teacher doing this, her students in grades 8-10 will be in their regular classroom supervised by Katelyn Stevens, our student teacher, and using Zoom to connect to Jessica with just one computer.  Students in 11th and 12th grade will have class in the conference room instead of in Parke and connect to Jessica up there under the supervision of an admin person.  I will help Katelyn get the classes started and answer any questions students have at the start of each Spanish class today.

We plan to have school next week at this time. After school on Monday, the teachers will be doing some Zoom connectivity testing and setting up a connectivity test for all students to opt to participate in at 7 pm on Tuesday from home. We will send more details out on that “all school test” on Monday evening.  Should the need arise to close school, the first two days of that closure would be dedicated to teacher preparation with classes resuming on the third school day.

Right now, it is the greater good for classes to continue as long as possible without a closure directive from a governing agency or a direct case.  However, we are ever vigilant.

Best,

Barrie

March 4, 2020 - Email to staff, parents and guardians

Hello WSA Staff and Parents,

WSA remains vigilant about the COVID-19 virus and our students have been pretty great about following hygiene protocols. The situation is the same in that we have no confirmed cases in Kitsap County and no directives from agencies to close school as of right now.  We are consistently weighing the balance of closing out of caution and staying open as long as we have no directives to close in case things escalate into a need for really long closure.  From the information we have, it is likely it will get worse before it gets better, but we are planning for that. Again, there is no perfect course of action but remaining calm, careful and realistic is our plan. 

Best,

Barrie

March 2, 2020 - Email to staff, parents and guardians, and students

Hi Parents, Students and Staff,

I am so sorry for how frightening the COVID-19 virus rapidly changing circumstances are.   I am constantly evaluating the situation about making a decision that will impact a great many people in a seriously big way vs. protecting our community with an “abundance of caution.”  Of course, I want to keep our community safe but it is not a light decision to just close school and go virtual. 

As of noon today, the health department in Kitsap County does not recommend closure and there are no confirmed cases in our county, so I am continuing with school tomorrow. It changes hourly what will happen.   As always, you have to make the best decision for your family especially if you have a compromised immune system.   An Extended Closure is an all or nothing thing where teachers are either teaching in class or virtually, but we can’t do both at the same time. So right now staying home from school is just like any other absence and students need to be proactive to communicate to teachers about their work.  It is a day to day situation.

What we have decided today, in hopes of prioritizing our ability to run classes on campus, is to take some simple steps to minimize the exposure our community has to the public.  So we are rescheduling field trips and public evening events.  This means that Arts Poetica on March 6 and the School Dance on March 20th will be rescheduled to a later date. The 6-7 field trip this week will also be rescheduled.  Play rehearsals and clubs will continue for now.   The meeting for seniors and parents on Wednesday will continue for now but there will be a Zoom link provided to attend virtually (as we already planned to offer anyway).

This situation is changing rapidly and I appreciate your trust in us to make the best decisions we can.  And still, there is no need to panic.  Deep breath in…deep breath out. Thank you,

Barrie

February 29, 2020 - Email to staff, parents and guardians, and students

Hello, WSA,

I will keep sending you updates as the response to Covid-19 continues to roll out. The purpose of these communications is to help maintain calm as well as assure you that I am monitoring this closely. I am getting many helpful “have you seen this” emails and I appreciate all the shared resources but can’t respond to each individually. I am happy to answer questions families and staff have about their individual circumstances or plans but will try to anticipate your needs with regular communications.

Today, in response to the first passing of an individual with Covid-19 in Washington state and some new cases reported at a senior living facility on the east side, Governor Inslee declared a state of emergency. This doesn’t mean we need to close school. This declaration allows him to access funds to prepare and be ready should the disease escalate. He is proactively preparing. Remember that 21 people have died from seasonal flu since September 2019 and we haven’t closed school.

Just like the governor, WSA is prepping too. We are updating our Extended Closure Plan. This is an internal document but here are some highlights:

  • An extended closure (EC) is one that goes beyond the buffer of instructional days we have already in place in our annual calendar: five for high school; more like ten for middle school. During an EC, faculty and students would stay home but still follow the school schedule outlined in their planners.
  • Teachers would communicate to students via email with instructions on the day’s activities.
  • Teachers will use Zoom video conferencing as one way to conduct instruction.
  • Teachers will email a weekly schedule to indicate whether the student needs to log in to Zoom at the start of the class period or do assigned seat work through Google classroom.
  • Teachers would use a variety of techniques to continue teaching and learning but they may be different from how we teach in person. Some classes might be reduced in time or excused from having to meet.
  • Depending on the timing of an EC, we would make adjustments to extended projects and IB requirements as approved by IB.
  • After school activities and group gatherings would be suspended with the exception of graduation which would be limited to family and staff in person and live streamed.
  • A minimum number of administrators would continue to work on site on campus during regular school hours and days.
  • Depending on the length of the closure, we would work with the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) to consider adjusting the instructional hour requirements especially if there is a state-wide need to do so.

Until we see reason to close, we will continue to clean well, wash our hands, cover our coughs and sneezes and stay home if sick. At this time, I ask that families self-report if there is any reason you are concerned about your own exposure or symptoms. We can use the experts at Kitsap County Health Department to help determine if your exposure warrants action.

I hope you all can go do something fun with your loved ones and try to focus on all the good things in your world that are so often overshadowed by bad news. Good stuff is still happening.

Cheers,

Barrie

February 25, 2020 - Email to WSA staff, parents and guardians

Hello WSA Parents and Staff,

This message is sent to just parents and staff at WSA. Please pass along to your student those aspects of the message that you feel are pertinent and appropriate for them.

Today the CDC issued an update of information about the novel coronavirus, or Covid-19, located here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/summary.html.  Here is more localized information from Kitsap County Health Department: https://kitsappublichealth.org/temporaryContent/CoronaVirus.php

The message is essentially be prepared, be cautious, but don’t panic.  WSA is preparing for all possibilities as this pandemic plays out.  Students attending WSA are at very low risk at this time. There is no reason for a healthy student not to attend school or school activities at this time.  WSA works with and follows the recommendations of Kitsap County Health Department as well as consults with local school district officials to make decisions about school closures due to illness. At this time there is no reason to close school, but we are monitoring the situation closely as the virus potentially escalates in the United States.

Our international students have not traveled internationally recently and do not plan to travel outside US in the near future.  They are worried about their families back home so I encourage empathy for everyone who has people living in areas that are directly affected.  We encourage good hygiene practices at all time as a precaution to all illnesses, so please wash hands, avoid sharing food and drink, cover coughs and sneezes, and have students stay home if they are showing signs of illness.  We will work with students who require extended absences due to illness.  We are also working with Educational First to monitor the international situation in regards to our planned June TREC to the Galapagos. At this time, there is no reason to reschedule the trip but we are monitoring the situation closely.

We will keep the community informed should there be any cause for alarm or need to suspend school activities. If we must suspend school activities, we will use technology, online resources and make other adjustments as needed to complete the school year and still abide by the instructional hour requirements of the state.  As the weeks progress, the steps we would take would change according to the time of year of a closure so we are not releasing any specifics about how we would conduct school during a closure at this time.  Please be assured that we are preparing just in case.

This can be a scary news feed for students so please encourage them that their risks are low, they should take the situation seriously, but also remain calm and confident in your decisions as parents. Please do not hesitate to reach out if you have questions.

Thank you,

Barrie


 

Steps WSA families can take

Stay informed; information is changing frequently.  Links to dedicated coronavirus pages from public health departments and other trustworthy organizations are on this page.  Summaries of important information can be found in the website, flyers and article linked below:

Kitsap Community Foundation

Kitsap Cares – a centralized point of information for local community resources to help individuals, nonprofit organizations, and businesses cope with the coronavirus pandemic. The site is managed by the Kitsap Community Foundation, in partnership with the Kitsap County Emergency Operations Center.

Kitsap Public Health District - NOVEL CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) RESOURCES AND UPDATESKitsap Public Health District: What you need to know about novel coronavirus.

The Seattle Times - Extended coverage of the COVID-19 outbreakExtended coverage of the outbreak of a new coronavirus known as SARS-CoV-2; the illness it causes, COVID-19; and its effects on the Seattle area, the Pacific Northwest and the world: Coronavirus

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

CDC: What you need to know about coronavirus disease 2019 and
What to do if you are sick with coronavirus disease 2019

 

Take steps to protect yourself and others, and slow the spread of the disease.  A clear explanation of the basics of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), including the symptoms, how it spreads, how it affects the body in infected patients is in this article from The Seattle Times:

Facts about novel coronavirus and how to prevent COVID-19.  The author lists the common-sense actions you can take to prevent the flu and common cold that will also help prevent the spread of the new coronavirus:

      • Wash hands often with soap and water. If that’s not available, use hand sanitizer.
      • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
      • Avoid contact with people who are sick.
      • Stay home while you are sick and avoid close contact with others.
      • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing.

Practice appropriate social distancing strategies. Recommendations from the World Health Organization are for people “to maintain at least 1 meter (3 feet) distance between themselves and anyone who is coughing or sneezing. Why? When someone coughs or sneezes they spray small liquid droplets from their nose or mouth which may contain virus. If you are too close, you can breathe in the droplets, including the COVID-19 virus if the person coughing has the disease.”

 

Talk about the coronavirus with your family.  What are your tweens and teens thoughts and feelings about it?  Some helpful resources are linked below.

Comics for GoodSeparating COVID-19 Facts from Fiction, a comic series from Comics for Good

 

Common Sense MediaHelp Your Family De-Stress During Coronavirus Uncertainty

 

 

National Public RadioJust For Kids: A Comic Exploring The New Coronavirus

 

 

Seattle Children'sHelping Children and Teens Cope with Anxiety About COVID-19 (Seattle Children’s Hospital)

 

The GuardianThe Family Lockdown Guide: How to Emotionally Prepare for Coronavirus Quarantine

 

The New York Times

Talking to Teens and Tweens About Coronavirus

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, et al. “Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2).” 30 Jan. 2020. Wikimedia Commons. 

Event changes and cancellations

All participation in competitions, arts (rehearsals and performances), and club activities are canceled through the rest of the 2019-2020 school year.

Effective March 23, 2020: The May 2020 examinations as scheduled between May 5 and May 22 for WSA International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme candidates and certificate students will no longer be held.

March 6: Canceled – Arts Poetica, WSA Campus

March 17-20: Canceled – Spring Spirit Week

March 20: Canceled – Spring Fling Dance, WSA Campus

March 21: Postponed – Washington State Knowledge Bowl Tournament XXXVIII

March 24: Canceled – ACT Testing for Juniors

March 27: Canceled – Kitsap Youth Rally for Human Rights, Olympic College, Bremerton

March 27: Canceled – Grades 6 and 7 Extended Research Project Presentations, 6:30 PM

April 2 and April 3: Canceled – Grades 8 -10 Extended Research Project and Grade 12 Senior Project Presentations 

April 17:  Canceled – Listen to Your Art’s Friday Sound

April 20:  Canceled – Earth Day – Special Modified Schedule

April 24 – 26: Canceled – Performances of Once Upon a Mattress

April 28: Canceled – SAT Testing for Juniors and Pre-ACT Testing for Grade 10

May 2:  Canceled – Upper School Spring Formal

May 4, 6, 7, and 8: Canceled – West Fest Music Festival


 

Public Health Resources

 

Kitsap Public Health District - NOVEL CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) RESOURCES AND UPDATESKitsap Public Health District

 

Washington State Department of Health - 2019 Novel Coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19)

Washington State Department of Health

WSDH Information Hotline:  1-800-525-0127

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

 

World Health Organization - Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak

World Health Organization

 


 

Accurate Information on COVID-19

 

Bing
Bing Coronavirus Tracker from Microsoft

 

Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) - Johns Hopkins University
Coronavirus COVID-19 Global Cases, Johns Hopkins Center for Systems Science and Engineering

 

Snopes
The Coronavirus Collection: Fact-Checking COVID-19

 

USAFacts
USAFacts:  Coronavirus in the United  States

 

wolframWolfram Cloud:  Epidemic Data for COVID19 (UnitedStates)

 

 


 

Relevant Articles

MediumCoronavirus: Why You Must Act Now

Using charts, graphs, and models from numerous sources, this article covers these questions: How many cases of coronavirus will there be in your area? What will happen when these cases materialize? What should you do? When? The main takeaway from the article is that the only way to prevent the worst-case outcomes of the current outbreak is “social distancing today. Not tomorrow. Today. That means keeping as many people home as possible, starting now.” Updated daily. Author: Tomas Pueyo, Vice President, Growth at Course Hero. Pueyo holds MSc in Engineering degrees from two European universities and an MBA from Stanford.

VoxHow canceled events and self-quarantines save lives, in one chart

This article explains the “flattening the curve” chart promoted by epidemiologists – the strategy of avoiding a huge spike in cases of COVID-19.  “A disastrous inundation of hospitals can likely be averted with protective measures we’re now seeing more of — closing schools, canceling mass gatherings, working from home, self-quarantine, self-isolation, avoiding crowds — to keep the virus from spreading fast.”  Part of the Vox guide to the COVID-19 virus. Authors: Eliza Barclay and Dylan Scott for Vox.