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About Bush

COVID-19 Information

Last updated: July 23, 2020

This webpage is intended to help share updates and information with The Bush School community about how the school is preparing and responding to the coronavirus (COVID-19) health outbreak, which has been declared a public health emergency of global concern by the World Health Organization (WHO). As educators, our top priority is to provide a healthy and safe educational environment for our students, staff, and families. This is a quickly evolving situation so please check this page regularly for updates.

Please send any comments or questions regarding preparedness measures and planning directly to safety@bush.edu.

Bush COVID-19 Communications

List of 34 items.

  • July 23: COVID-19 Preparedness & Planning

    Thursday, July 23
     
    Dear Bush Community,
     
    I have been experiencing a host of feelings as we all continue to confront the staggering loss of life from the health pandemic and the fear, anxiety, trauma, and loss from the pandemic caused by systemic racism; I know that you have been as well. These weeks and months have been difficult, and I hope that you have been able to openly process these events with your children with love, empathy, and strength.
     
    I am writing with a preview of The Bush School’s Reopening Plan. As I communicated in a previous email, we will share the comprehensive Fall Reopening Plan on July 31. Today, I offer a look at The Bush School’s models for on-campus and remote schooling for the 2020-2021 school year and the timeline announcing the decision to begin the school year in an on-campus or remote schooling model. Please expect to receive the complete Fall Reopening Plan, including the recommendations of the Academic, Operations, and Financial task forces, next Friday.
     
    The school is creating a plan that prioritizes the wellness, health, and safety of all members of our community. Our goal is to create schedules that will allow for more direct support for our youngest learners and flexibility as conditions around us change. In recent weeks, the rate of infection, death rate, and the number of cases of coronavirus in Seattle, King County, and Washington have increased. These circumstances have influenced the national conversation about the choices and challenges facing K-12 schools, colleges, and universities. We recognize the stress and uncertainty this causes. Our work continues to be guided by careful planning, science and data, and the expertise of healthcare professionals with a focus on student wellness, supporting faculty and staff, community engagement, and our mission.
     

    COMMUNICATION TIMELINE

    Friday, July 31
    The Bush School’s Reopening Plan
    The Bush School will share the 2020-2021 Reopening Plan, including daily schedules for on-campus and remote schooling, health and safety protocols, community expectations for returning to campus, screening procedures, and risk-mitigation strategies.
     
    Remote Schooling/On-Campus Learning Registration Form
    Families will register for the remote schooling or on-campus learning options to begin the 2020 - 2021 school year (see details below). This information will inform classroom allocations, faculty assignments, pod (or small group) placements, cleaning schedules, etc. Families can change the selection and elect to switch from remote schooling to on-campus (or vice versa) on October 28. 
     
    Monday, August 17
    The Bush School will announce its decision whether to begin the school year in an on-campus or remote schooling model.
     
    Monday, August 31
    Virtual Convocation
     
    Tuesday, September 1
    First Day of Classes
     

    ACADEMIC MODELS

    The Academic Task Force has developed a schedule that provides flexibility for students and faculty to move between on-campus and remote schooling models depending on Washington’s Phased Approach and a potential outbreak of COVID-19 in our community. The task force considered the developmental needs of students across all three divisions, supporting faculty and staff, students’ emotional health, family circumstances, as well as fidelity to our school’s mission, statement of community, and academic and co-curricular programs.
     
    K-12 Hybrid-Learning Model
    The K-12 hybrid-learning model will be used when students are permitted to return to campus. Students will be placed in smaller cohort groups. This model will limit and monitor the adults in close contact with the cohorts and optimize outdoor spaces and classroom ventilation. All students will have the option for 100% remote schooling through classroom technology in the K-12 hybrid-learning model.
     
    The youngest learners, for whom independent remote schooling is the most difficult, will be prioritized for time on campus. Lower School students will be on campus five days/week, and spread out across the Lower and Middle School.
     
    Middle School and Upper School students will rotate being on campus every other week and use classrooms and buildings across the Middle and Upper Schools. Click here to view the weekly rotating schedule for Middle and Upper School.
     
    Full-Time Remote Schooling Model
    The full-time remote schooling model will be used when students are not permitted to be on campus. The updated divisional schedules for full-time remote schooling were developed by the Academic Task Force using feedback from faculty/staff, and the parents/guardians and Middle/Upper School student surveys. The remote schooling schedule will prioritize engagement, peer connection, academic preparation, and socio-emotional support for students across all three divisions. Students will have a balance of synchronous and asynchronous lessons, community time to gather with teachers and peers, and activity periods. There will also be opportunities for parents to have periodic informal check-ins with teachers.
     
    We look forward to sharing more information with you next week. I know that after reviewing The Bush School’s Reopening Plan you may have questions. I would be happy to meet with and discuss your questions.
     
    Wishing you and your family good health.
     
    Be safe,
     
    Percy L. Abram
    Head of School 
  • July 9: COVID-19 Preparedness & Planning

    Thursday, July 9

    Dear Bush Community,

    I hope that you are all doing well, and enjoying the summer months. While this is certainly not a typical summer, it does afford us the opportunity to slow down, enjoy time outdoors, read for leisure, and spend time with family. Making time to build routines and taking care of ourselves is important, now more than ever. 

    I want to update you on the school’s timeline for communicating this fall’s return-to-campus plan, as well as new information about technology requirements for the coming school year. 
     

    RETURN TO CAMPUS - COMMUNICATION TIMELINE

    We are eager to see your children again and to continue their educational journey together in person. While we understand that reopening in September is subject to governmental directives and orders, we are preparing to open the campus in the fall and are finalizing the review of several models. Underlying our decision-making process is the health and safety of our students and employees. We will attempt to balance this with the knowledge that the best learning environment for our community is one in which students and teachers can interact face-to-face. 

    These models prioritize in-person instruction for Lower School students for whom remote schooling poses the greatest challenge, and include various hybrid models (remote schooling/on-campus schooling) for Middle and Upper School. In each model under consideration, our aim is to maximize in-person learning while prioritizing the health and safety of those on campus. Our work now is to explore the viability of these models considering the health/safety guidelines, as well as logistical, financial, spatial, and personnel constraints. In consultation with the Board of Trustees, the Senior Leadership Team, and healthcare and medical professionals, we will release our finalized plans in the coming weeks.

    2020-2021 Return to Campus Planning Guide
    The school will send out the 2020-2021 Return to Campus Planning Guide on July 31, 2020. This guide will include the following specifics about the school’s plan for returning to campus this fall:

    Academics
    Campus Operations
    Health, Safety, and Wellness
    Athletics, Performing Arts, and Co-Curriculars 
    Extended Day
    Investment in Safety, Financial Aid, and Our Community
    Supporting Faculty and Staff
    Community Expectations
     

    RETURN TO CAMPUS - TECHNOLOGY

    With the uncertainty surrounding the continued spread of the coronavirus in the state of Washington and around the country, we anticipate that technology will play an integral role in the educational program this year and possibly next year. In order to ensure continuity of experience, the school has updated the technology requirements to meet these needs for the 2020-2021 school year and beyond. Please review these requirements in order to plan for the year ahead. 

    Middle and Upper School
    Technology will play an integral role in the educational program in the coming school year as we prepare for the impact of COVID-19. Bush Middle and Upper School students will be required to have their own device for the 2020-2021 school year. 

    Students will need a device to bring to campus to complete daily academic work during on-campus learning, access video conferencing and their work during remote schooling, and have undivided use of while at home. The Bush Technology Department is providing options to purchase affordable and reliable laptops that meet the requirements for everyday academic work on campus and during remote schooling. Students can also use an existing device and/or purchase a device independently through any retail outlet, provided that it meets the basic needs for academic work at Middle and Upper School. 

    Currently, the devices available for purchase through the Technology Department are:
     
    1. Refurbished 13" Apple MacBook Air: $799+tax (1.8Ghz i5 processor, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD, non-touch screen). These are refurbished by a third-party company. These come with a one-year warranty that you can exercise through the school.

    2. New 14" Dell Inspiron 5000: $650+tax (8th-Gen i5 processor, 8GB RAM, 265GB SSD, fold-over touch screen). These are new and the warranty can be exercised directly with Dell.

    3. Refurbished 15” HP 15z: $100 (AMD A6 processor, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD, touch screen). These are refurbished by Bush with updated hardware and software and include a year’s support from Bush.

    Generally, any modern Windows or Mac laptop will suffice, including MacBook Air and Surface Pro 7. We do NOT recommend Surface Pro X or iPad as a primary device, since these have limitations that may cause roadblocks in some classes. However, these devices, as well as an Android tablet, may make good ancillary notetaking or video conferencing options. If your child is especially interested in media-intensive applications for art, music, film, or design, please contact the Technology Office for additional recommendations.

    Bush Laptop Purchasing Form: To make an order through the Bush Technology Department, please use this Student Laptop Purchasing Form. Laptop purchases through this program will be billed to the student’s Bush account. Orders are due by Friday, July 17 to arrive before school begins in September. 

    Questions: The technology team is here to help you with any questions about technology for the fall. Please reach out to the following teach team members: for laptop ordering, please contact Julie Bryan and for technical details, please contact Zack Smith

    Lower School
    Lower School students will not be required to have a personal laptop for the upcoming school year. Lower School students will need a device at home for periods of school and/or governmental-imposed remote schooling. Students without access to a device at home may borrow a laptop from the Technology Department's Remote Schooling Lending Program. Devices will be lent out prior to remote schooling. 

    Financial Aid - Technology
    The school will provide financial assistance for Middle and Upper School students who receive financial aid for tuition for the cost of purchasing laptops through the Bush Technology Department. Each student will receive the same percentage of financial aid for the laptop purchase as they receive towards tuition. Families should complete the Student Laptop Purchasing Form by Friday, July 17. The Business Office will apply the student’s financial aid percentage to the laptop charge on student accounts. If families need additional assistance beyond the standard annual financial aid percentage in order to purchase a laptop, please contact Director of Admissions and Financial Aid Adam Choice who can support this request.

    COVID-19 Assistance Program - Technology
    The school’s COVID-19 Assistance Program will also provide additional financial resources in the instance that your family does not receive financial aid, and is experiencing financial stress from the COVID-19 health outbreak that makes purchasing a laptop a financial hardship at this time. COVID-19 assistance for technology is available for the purchase of laptops through the Bush Technology Department only.  If this is something of interest, please send a request via email to Bush’s Controller Alex Ramirez, including a brief explanation of your circumstances and the amount of funds requested. 

    As the number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise in Seattle and King County, I urge all of you, once again, to remain vigilant and to remind your children to follow the recommendations for reducing the spread of the coronavirus—wash hands often, wear a mask whenever you are in public places, and monitor your health daily. 

    We are committed to communicating with you openly and transparently in the coming weeks. The planning team will continue to follow guidelines outlined by the CDC, the Public Health Department for Seattle and King County, and the state of Washington as they prepare for the fall. Our aim is to provide a rich and safe educational experience for your children. Thank you again for trusting us with your children and for partnering with us to build a healthy and engaging environment for them.
     
    Be well,
     
    Percy L. Abram
    Head of School
  • June 25: COVID-19 Preparedness & Planning

    Dear Bush Community,

    I hope that you are enjoying these first few days of summer. Our work this summer is accelerating as we plan for the reopening of school in the fall. On June 11, Washington’s Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) released its District Planning Guide for Reopening Washington Schools. In the document, Superintendent Chris Reykdal issued specific guidance for K-12 public and private schools that would be in effect “regardless of what Phase of the Governor’s Safe Start Plan a school’s county is in.” In the plan, the superintendent announced that it is his “expectation that schools will open this fall for in-person instruction.” This pronouncement is encouraging and has informed our planning for the 2020-2021 school year. 

    On June 4, we surveyed Bush families about the likelihood of sending children back to campus in the fall. Families were given the opportunity to respond on a five-point scale whether they would (5) or would not (1) send their children back to campus. Overwhelmingly, parents and guardians shared that they planned to send their children to campus in the fall if possible. Of the 340 responses submitted, 319 indicated that they would (229) or would very likely (74) send their child back to school. Only nine respondents shared that they would not send their child to school next year; the responses were evenly distributed across the Lower School, Middle School, and Upper School.

    Aided by your responses to the school’s end-of-the-year survey, the three COVID-19 Task Forces (academic, financial, and operations) have met and are formalizing their recommendations for next year. Below are some guidelines for how we reopen in the fall based on the OSPI Planning Guide. We appreciate your support and input in helping the school restart in the fall.

    General Guidance 
    Students, staff, parents/guardians, or guests will not be permitted on campus if they:
    • are showing symptoms of COVID-19.
    • have been in close contact with someone who has confirmed or suspected COVID-19 in the last 14 days.
    Drop-Off and Pick-Up
    During drop-off and pick-up, families must maintain at least six feet from each other. This may include staggering drop-off and pick-up times for grade or division groups, greeting students at their vehicle, and/or placing distancing markers on walkways.

    Health Screening When Returning to Campus 
    There will be daily checks for signs of illness for all staff and students. Staff and students with any signs of illness must stay home. Signs of illness include:
    • A cough
    • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
    • A fever of 100.4°F or higher or a sense of having a fever
    • A sore throat
    • Chills
    • New loss of taste or smell
    • Muscle or body aches
    • Nausea/vomiting/diarrhea
    • Congestion/running nose – not related to seasonal allergies
    • Unusual fatigue
    As part of the health screening, students and staff will be asked to remain at home if:
    • Anyone in the household has any of the above symptoms.
    • They have been in close contact with anyone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19.
    • They have used any medication to reduce a fever before coming to school.
    Physical Distancing
    The school will practice physical distancing (six feet) within each group of students as much as possible, create space between students, and reduce the amount of time they are close with each other. We will have to plan creatively about opportunities to increase physical space between students and limit interactions in large group settings.

    The Bush School will consider strategies such as:
    • Facial coverings for students, faculty, and staff.
    • Cancel field trips, assemblies, and other large gatherings. 
    • Cancel in-person activities and events such as student assemblies, special performances, school-wide parent meetings, or spirit nights.
    • Cancel or modify classes where students are likely to be in very close contact.
    • Rearrange student desks to maximize the space between students. Turn desks to face in the same direction, rather than facing each other, to reduce transmission caused by virus-containing droplets (e.g., from talking, coughing, sneezing).
    • Reduce the number of students in the halls at one time. 
    • Stagger release of classes.
    • Limit activities in which multiple classrooms interact.
    • Stagger arrival and/or dismissal times. 
    • Limit nonessential visitors. Limit the presence of volunteers for classroom activities, visiting readers, cafeteria support, and other activities.
    • Keep students outside more, as weather and space permits.
    Signs of COVID-19
    If a student or staff member develops signs of COVID-19, The Bush School will separate the person away from others, with supervision at a distance of six feet, until the sick person can leave.

    While waiting to leave school, the individual with symptoms will wear a cloth face covering or mask. Our staff will then air out, clean, and disinfect the areas where the person was after they leave. If a student or staff member tests positive for COVID-19, the local health jurisdiction will advise, but it is likely that the student’s classmates will be considered close contacts and need to be quarantined for 14 days. 

    A staff member or student who had signs of suspected or confirmed COVID-19 can return to
    the program when:
    • At least three days (72 hours) have passed since recovery – defined as no fever without the use of medications and improvement in respiratory signs like cough and shortness of breath; AND
    • At least 10 days have passed since signs first showed up OR it has been at least three days (72 hours) since recovery AND a health care provider has certified that the student does not have suspected or confirmed COVID-19.
    In our next update, we will have information on a proposed schedule for the fall, information about fall athletics (if available), and some of the financial considerations the school is addressing in a hybrid approach to schooling next year.

    As the number of positive coronavirus cases in Washington continues to increase with the temperature, I urge parents/guardians to again sit down and discuss proper health protocols with their children. It may be unreasonable to expect students to remain inside throughout the summer, but wearing a face covering, washing one’s hands frequently, and maintaining proper physical distancing will help slow the spread of the virus. 

    Stay safe,
     
    Percy L. Abram
    Head of School
  • June 18: COVID-19 Preparedness & Planning

    Thursday, June 18

    Dear Bush Community,

    I hope that your summer is off to a relaxing start and that your family is healthy and well. As we transition into summer, I will continue to communicate updates about COVID-19 preparedness and planning to the Bush community as the school continues planning for the 2020-2021 school year. 

    I want to begin this summer communication by responding to questions about curriculum and programming, school operations, and finances that were submitted by community members during the State of the School on May 27, 2020. Many of the questions asked during the State of the School were addressed during the presentation or in the questions and answer segment. Below are the responses to questions that were not addressed in this format. The State of the School covered a large range of topics related to COVID-19, and you can watch a recording of this presentation here

    The Bush COVID-19 Academic, Operations, and Financial Task Forces are mapping out key questions, resources, and timelines for decisions and communications. I will continue to keep the community updated this summer as we come to different decision points about the fall and 2020-2021 school year.

    STATE OF THE SCHOOL - QUESTION & ANSWER


    CURRICULUM & PROGRAMMING

    Wellness & Learning: How will Bush handle the mental health piece for students when returning to school? We know that the pandemic has different ways of affecting kids of different ages and I wonder how this might be incorporated in say HR, or advisory, etc. 
     
    COVID-19 pandemic has not only had a direct impact on community health and the economy, but also mental health. The Bush Wellness and Learning Support Services Team has been prioritizing student wellness during COVID-19. In addition to the pandemic, the team is aware that the call to end systematic racism and police brutality also has a wellness component. 

    The team has been working directly with teachers, staff, and students this spring and is planning for the return to school this fall. The Support Service Team’s recommendations have informed schedule, grading, curriculum for HR and advisory, pacing, and priorities, as well as content focus. The divisions are continuing to prioritize mental health during the pandemic as the school develops models for how we will deliver the educational program in the 2020-2021 school year.

    The Bush Wellness and Learning COVID-19 Support Services webpage is a great resource for community members, and is updated with new resources on a regular basis. 

    Supplies: You mentioned no sharing of books and other materials. Would this be through the 2020-2021 school year, or just until we move through the governor’s phases of opening back up the state? 
     
    The Bush School will plan to have students purchase individual text books and will not offer classroom sets this year. There are also other instances when the school will have students use individual supplies instead of shared supplies (example, Lower School art). We will plan to follow this approach throughout the 2020-2021 school year.
     
    Theater & Music: Any ideas of if/how theater & music will be able to go forward?
     
    While adhering to the guidelines set forth by OSPI, the Department of Health, the State of Washington, and the CDC, the school will be able to move forward with the arts and music program. For music, students may be asked to work on individual recordings and share files digitally. Recording and mixing can still take place with proper physical distancing. Students will not be allowed to share equipment during classes.

    Theater will also continue. The program may have to shift productions to ones with fewer parts, little to no physical contact, and audiences that are physically distant. Jeremy Bryan and Joanne Keegan will be creative in planning curricula. For instance, students may write and perform original work, paired productions, and/or personal narratives. 
     
    Extended Day: How do you see the future of the Lower School Extended Day program? 
     
    The school is working with the Extended Day team to envision alternative models for this program for the 2020-2021 school year. Currently, the school has not finalized a specific model or approach. 

    In addition to Extended Day, the school is aware of the impact of remote schooling or a hybrid model will have on families in which all primary caregivers are essential workers. This is a complicated component of COVID-19, not just for The Bush School but all businesses and organizations that are balancing the transition of the workforce and schools. The school will be researching different approaches and will do our best to develop a model that minimizes impact on families while still following CDC and public health guidelines. 
     
    Summer Programs: When will a decision be made about the remaining weeks of the summer programs? Will there be online or in-person programs available?  
     
    The following Bush Summer Programs have been cancelled as of May 15, 2020: 
    • All Blazer Sports Camps, Summer Experience Day Camp Weeks 1 - 3, Skyhawks Sports Camps, Stand-Up Paddle Boarding, Acting, Ashland Theater Tour, Methow College Essay Writing Retreat
    The following summer programs will be offered online. 
    • Geometry (Currently running, registration is closed), Math Analysis (Currently running, registration is closed), Introduction to Calculus (Currently running, registration is closed) Writing the College Essay, Pre-Season Writing, Study Skills 

    The following summer programs are still scheduled and we will make decisions in the coming weeks as we learn more about whether we can host these programs later in this summer.
    • Kindergarten Readiness, Self-Defense for Middle School Girls, Rock Band Camp, Adulting 101 (Life Skills), Self-Defense for Upper School Girls, Self, Defense for Girls Off to College
    The following summer programs are under review, and updated information on their status is pending and will be sent out to families of students enrolled in the next week.
    • Summer Experience Day Camp Weeks 4 - 6

    Technology: What's the leadership's overall perspective on technology to support students in the day-to-day (assignments, etc)? I imagine there were lots of learnings from this spring. 
     
    Our overall perspective is that technology has been an invaluable resource for staying connected, affording us new techniques and platforms for fulfilling our educational mission. During campus closure, the school surveyed families about their equipment and access needs, supported families in filling gaps in internet-enabled devices and connectivity, and gave teachers a basic set of assumptions from which to work—for example, that students would be available during school hours and that they did not have printers at home. There have also been some immediate takeaways for the fall; the challenges of asynchronous learning in Lower School; the affordances of Zoom for social connection; ongoing professional development and shared learning for teachers; and, the importance of having shared practices with platforms. 

    This summer, the division directors and divisional teams are going back through the information collected from parents/guardians, faculty, staff, and students and diving deeper into the challenges and opportunities of technology in remote schooling. 

    The Bush Technology Department serves as a resource to families to ensure that household technology can support remote learning. As part of the school’s technology model, teachers work directly with a divisional Technology Coordinator, who also teaches students and thereby has direct connections to the student experience. The Technology Coordinators interface with the IT department to deploy cloud-based tools or offer devices to families who need support in developing a workable remote learning setup.

    Cascades: Will you touch on plans for the Cascades program? 
     
    In order to avoid travel during a possible second outbreak/transmission in the fall and winter, Upper School students will not be traveling outside of Washington for January Cascades. The Upper School team is working on a truncated schedule for January Cascades in which students can benefit from the interdisciplinary, hands-on approach to learning built into Cascades. The school has not made a decision for May Cascades at this point.

    Experiential Programming: Have you considered bringing back weekly AMP in the Upper School to ensure experiential education can continue in a setting where coronavirus risk can be managed? 
     
    We will continue with the Cascades program as the mechanism for delivering an interdisciplinary, hands-on approach to teaching and learning. As stated above, the January Cascades will be modified to take into consideration risks of the spread of the novel coronavirus. 

    Athletics: What do you anticipate in terms of sports? If Upper School sports can’t start until Washington State is in Phase 3, is there a phase that Washington State needs to be in before students can return to campus? 
     
    The school is planning for both regular, full sports experiences next school year as well as the possibility that athletics offerings will have to be modified, rescheduled, or even cancelled due to the COVID-19 health outbreak. The school will continue to monitor the recommendations from local public health officials, the WIAA, and the Emerald Sound Conference to help inform the school’s decision making. Families will be given updates on athletics for the 2020-2021 school year as new information becomes available. 
     
    School sponsored athletics activities will not be offered until Seattle is in Phase 3 of the Washington State’s Phases Approach. In addition to meeting the requirements outlined by the state, the school will also take guidelines and recommendations from other authorities and organizations into account (e.g. CDCNFHS, Seattle Children’s, WIAA, Emerald Sound Conference). 
     
    The school is in the process of developing modifications and measures, specific to the Bush athletics program, to minimize the risk of athletes and coaches as part of the policies and process for a return to offering sports activities. Possible modifications include, but are not limited to, schedule changes (delayed start/shortening of seasons), daily health screening of athletes and coaches, regular disinfection of sports equipment, small group workouts, and social distancing. 
     
    Model for Hybrid Learning: Will you try to keep grade levels together in your hybrid approach? 
     
    The Academic Task Force is considering hybrid models that build cohorts prioritizing students in the same grade levels and families with students in multiple divisions, to avoid multiple schedules in one household.

    K-12 Hybrid Learning: Is it possible that the hybrid approach will be prioritized for Lower and Middle School students first with Upper School remaining remote to enable physical distancing? 
     
    The Academic Task Force is factoring into its planning the relative difficulty for Lower School students to access remote schooling compared to Middle and Upper School students. 

    Hybrid Learning: For next year, if the school is in a hybrid model combining time on campus with distance learning, how will teachers divide their attention between children in the classroom vs. those on video conference? 
     
    Teachers who are on campus will present lessons and activities for the students in class, and those students who are working from home will be able to access those lessons either through real-time synchronous experience or via asynchronous mode. All students will be able to access teachers through conference/extra help sessions the day a class meets.

    Remote Schooling: In remote or partially-remote schooling, will there be more opportunities for parents and teachers to communicate and collaborate to help ensure students are paying attention and learning effectively?
     
    The school will continue to build opportunities for parents/guardians and teachers to communicate and collaborate to support student learning. 
     
    Homework: If remote schooling continues in the fall, how will Bush keep online classes engaging and manageable, particularly in terms of homework? 
     
    We anticipate having remote schooling as part of the 2020-2021 school year. The school is using the feedback from the remote schooling student and parent/guardian surveys from April and June 2020 as well as divisional feedback from teachers to inform the remote schooling format, schedule, and homework model for each grade level, department, and division.

    Community Events: How do you envision community building with this new normal if we need to continue social distancing? Community events are such an integral part of how we connect. It’s challenging to make genuine connections virtually—especially for families who are new to the school. 
     
    The school will continue to prioritize relationships whether we are together on campus or safely apart during remote schooling. The school will work with the Families Association and divisions to imagine and innovate ways to keep current and new parents connected. 

    Over the past few months, the school has learned a lot about how to build connections and community while we are safely apart. While this is not the ideal mode, we are grateful to be able to continue to connect while we prioritize community health. We will continue to use the learning from this spring to inform the ways in which we build connections and relationships for new students and families. 

    Outdoor Classrooms: For health reasons, what are the possibilities of holding more classes outside under semi-permanent shed roofs on campus, or having more "walking classes" through the surrounding neighborhoods? 
     
    We are exploring options for covered areas in the Middle School and Upper School courtyards. When weather permits, teachers can have the option of holding their classes outdoors. 

    HEALTH & VIRUS

    Health Professional: Are you considering hiring an RN or a different type of healthcare professional? 
     
    The Bush School will hire a healthcare professional to join the staff starting in the 2020-2021 school year to oversee Bush’s COVID-19 response and policies regarding community health, as well as general community health on campus. This person will liaise with parents and staff to ensure compliance with procedures, and will update the community on risk mitigation throughout the year.

    Testing: Do you have any knowledge about test kit availability/antibody virus kits? 
     
    The Bush School monitors and consults with Seattle & King Country Public Health on the availability of testing and antibody virus kits. Currently, testing availability in King County has increased. Anyone who has COVID-19 symptoms should get tested right away. The following Seattle & King County Public Health COVID-19 Testing link has up-to-date information about testing availability.

    Seattle & King County Public Health also shared the following update on antibody testing as of June 15, 2020 in the Seattle & King County Public Health COVID-19 Resource Guide: A new type of test called serology (antibody) tests, measures antibodies to the SARS-CoV2 virus (which causes COVID-19). It is becoming available, but there are important limitations. "It’s important to understand that there is no reliable way at this time to know if someone is protected based on results of an antibody test, and any product that provides an ‘immunity certificate’ or other statement indicating protection based on the test result is unlawful and should be reported to the FDA and the Washington State Office of the Attorney General.” 

    Illness and Attendance: Will the hybrid (remote/in class) approach you mentioned allow a student who might be sick to attend class remotely and keep up with the class?  In case they are staying home out of an abundance of caution, for example? 
     
    The Technology Department is currently testing a variety of technologies that will allow teachers to engage remote learners in on-site activities. This may include video streaming a classroom activity or following a teacher as they move around the teaching area. There are several existing technologies, such as interactive whiteboards and touch-sensitive tablets, that allow teachers to mirror their handwritten demonstrations in real time to a service accessible from home. As we vet these options, we are keeping the quality of student experience in mind, including audio intelligibility and opportunities for remote students to contribute to an on-campus discussion.

    High-Risk Students & Remote Schooling: You mentioned a hybrid option of online and in-person schooling. Will students who are at higher risk be able to attend 100% online schooling? 
     
    Students who are in a high-risk category, and families who decide to keep their children at home will be able to access our program remotely. 

    Temperature Checks: Will you be doing temperature checks as school restarts? 
     
    When we resume school on campus, we anticipate that all students and staff will be required to record temperatures before entering their classrooms. Depending on the school’s capacity to administer temperature checks on site, families may have to record temperatures and submit to the school before students enter the campus.

    OPERATIONS

    Start of School: Will you please clarify if you are planning to start in August in this school year? If so, when will parents be notified of this? 
     
    The following information on the start of school was shared in the COVID-19 Preparedness & Planning Tuesday, June 9 newsletter. The Senior Leadership Team reviewed options for the start date of the school year, including an early August start, and determined that the 2020-2021 school year will begin with a virtual Convocation on Monday, August 31, and the first day of school (in-person) will be Tuesday, September 1. Each division director will communicate with families about the activities and events scheduled for that day.

    Communication: Any idea when certain decisions might be made regarding the fall? 
     
    The Bush COVID-19 Academic, Operations, and Financial Task Forces have started meeting this June. The COVID-19 Task Forces are pulling together a list of key questions, resources, and timeline for decision making. The school will continue to communicate with families throughout the summer on key decisions, keeping in mind that there are decisions that will be directly impacted by Governor Inslee’s directives. We are currently developing internal deadlines for decisions that we will communicate to families once they are finalized.

    Academic Calendar: Is there any consideration to the full-year academic calendar? 
     
    The academic year will run from August 31, 2020 (virtual Convocation) to June 11, 2021 (Commencement). 

    Cleaning: How will bathrooms and other common areas be handled, regarding cleaning process and frequency? 
     
    The cleaning strategy regarding bathrooms and commons areas will be developed this summer by the Operations Task Force, and will include recommendations from the Washington State Department of Health, OSPI, the CDC, vendors, consultants, and peer schools. 

    The Commons: As we move towards grab and go food etc. what steps are we taking to make sure that we are not adversely affecting our environment with packaging waste? 
     
    We are working closely with Sage to prepare the Commons and food service for the return to school in the fall. The primary goal will be to provide daily food service while prioritizing the health and safety of our community. This will include offering more grab and go items in single serve packaging. Sage will continue to use compostable and recycled materials for packaging as part of the food service supplies. 

    Transportation: If you go to a hybrid model so you can have 50% on campus at one time and 50% at home, will you work with families for carpool issues? If school is opened at a reduced capacity and students attend in shifts, what are the possibilities for keeping siblings on the same schedule? 
     
    The school will share the 2020-2021 Carpool Zip Code List on the Community Portal at the end of July. This is a resource for families to organize carpools and can be used for an on campus schooling model or hybrid model. The zip code list organizes family information by zip codes and surrounding zip codes. Families who are interested in getting this information earlier can email communications@bush.edu 

    Schedule: Would you have the students in each class stay in one classroom where they would have teachers rotate in and not the students? 
     
    The Academic Task Force is currently reviewing a range of models including the model in which students stay in one classroom and teachers rotate in order to minimize the risk of exposure and spread of the virus.

    GENERAL

    Are there known areas of need that parents could assist with? (example, a parent with professional expertise in a particular domain, or volunteers to help with specific activities.) 
     
    This spring, the school has been consulting with current parents with specific expertise in infectious disease and community health as advisors throughout the COVID-19 health outbreak. The school sees the parent community as a resource and appreciates parent support and engagement. Board members who are also parents have been critical in advising the school through the financial impact of COVID-19. 

    The school anticipates limited parent volunteer opportunities directly in the classroom and on campus next year as we navigate social distancing and prioritize having students on campus. There are many additional ways parents can volunteer, and if you have specific ideas about how you or other parents can engage, please contact your child’s division director or Events and Community Engagement Manager Amelia Kramer.

    Faculty & Staff: Will there be an opportunity to say our goodbyes to the departing teachers? 
     
    The school has created the Padlet Boards for retiring faculty and staff. We encourage you to share your gratitude by clicking on the links below.  


    The full list of departing faculty and staff can be found in the Thursday, May 14 Blazer Bulletin. We encourage you to reach out using their firstname.lastname@bush.edu to connect and share your gratitude.

    Faculty & Staff: When do you expect to send out the announcement about new faculty and staff hires and updates to teaching positions? 
     
    Each year we share information about departing faculty in mid-May before the end of the school year. This year this information was included in the Thursday, May 14 Blazer Bulletin. Information about new faculty and staff and the updates to current faculty and staff positions is sent out to the community in mid-August before the start of the new school year. We will plan to follow this same timeline this year. 
  • June 9: COVID Preparedness & Planning

    Tuesday, June 9
     
    Dear Bush Community, 
     
    Last week we wrapped up three very successful and joyful virtual end-of-the-year ceremonies celebrating the classes of 2027, 2024, and 2020. Together we were able to step back and reflect on how much these students accomplished. More impressive is that they--like all of our students--were able to maintain focus, energy, and connection throughout this unprecedented time. Congratulations on all that you have accomplished.
     
    The pause after our students and faculty’s departures for the summer will feel a bit briefer this year, as we turn our full attention to the immediate planning for the fall. As I mentioned in the State of the School, our aim is to have students back on campus next year, and we will only do so if we can mitigate the risk of infection for students and faculty. This summer, the Academic Task Force, Operations Task Force, and Financial Task Force will meet regularly to determine the best path forward for our community. Each week, we will be sending the community updates that incorporate their work following the guidance and recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control, the Governor’s Office, the King County Office of Public Health, and the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction.
     
    Today, I would like to share some new information with you about our current planning. The Senior Leadership Team reviewed options for the start date of the school year, including an early August start, and determined that the 2020-2021 school year will begin with a virtual Convocation on Monday, August 31, and the first day of school will be Tuesday, September 1. Each division director will communicate with families about the activities and events scheduled for that day.
     
    Some of you may have received an email from Magnus Health on behalf of The Bush School requesting that you complete the enrollment forms for your child(ren). The email went out inadvertently, and we will be sending a follow-up email to families next week with information on completing health forms for the 2020-2021 school year. The requirement for an annual physical has been adjusted to a biannual physical (every two years). If your child’s last annual physical exam was on or after June 1, 2019, you do not need to submit a new Physical Form for the 2020-2021 school year, provided there has not been a change to the child’s health. Again, there will be some additional directions to go along with this requirement, which we’ll post to the website next week.
     

    Parent/Guardian and Student Remote Schooling Surveys

    As we close out the 2019-2020 school year and prepare for the fall, we ask that all K-12 parents/guardians take a few minutes to complete the following surveys to support planning for the fall.

    PARENT/GUARDIAN SURVEYS
    Key Question Survey
    Please click here to answer the following key question.
    If we are able to start classes on campus in the fall, either full-time or in a hybrid model (part-time in remote schooling / part-time on campus), how likely are you to send your child(ren) back to campus?

    Parent/Guardian Remote Schooling Survey
    Please click here to provide feedback on remote schooling.
    Please complete the Parent/Guardian Remote Schooling Survey (June 2020) as a follow-up to the April 6 survey. This survey is designed to collect your feedback about your child's experiences with remote schooling and plan for a possible return to campus in the fall. For families with more than one child enrolled at Bush, please fill out the survey for each child.
     
    MIDDLE AND UPPER SCHOOL STUDENT SURVEYS
    Middle and Upper School students are also encouraged to share their experiences with remote schooling by completing the Student Remote Schooling Survey. Thank you for sharing your experiences and helping us to refine our practices so that we can best support student learning.
    Please complete this survey by Wednesday, June 17. For further questions about surveys, please reach out to communications@bush.edu.
     
    Again, congratulations to all the graduates, and we wish you all the best for a safe and restful summer.
     
    Stay safe,
     
     
    Percy L. Abram
    Head of School
  • May 19: COVID-19 Preparedness & Planning

    Tuesday, May 19
     
    Dear Bush Community, 
     
    As the state begins to open up parts of society and the economy, there is cautious optimism that life will soon return to normal. The sad truth is that we are many months (and likely years) away from a life in which our movements, interactions, gathering spaces, and ways of relating will resemble a pre-COVID state. If the virus does not keep us distant, our collective psyches will compel us to move through the world with caution.
     
    A Bush alumni parent, Dr. Dimitri A. Christakis (Alexi ‘16 and Ariana ‘19) was interviewed for a recent article by Lindsay Kurs about the effects of COVID-19 on a generation of children; his findings were profound. We know that children will be shaped by these days, but the adults will remember them as well. The staggering number of cases, the plans pushed aside, the dreams deferred, the economic toll taken on those we read about in the paper and those we call friends, neighbors, family. These days may test us, but they will not define us.
     
    Along with the memories above, we will also remember the chants and clapping for our medical professionals, sitting around the table device-free with our children (something we longed for, but never thought we'd recapture), the neighbor who brought you freshly baked bread, the feeling of coming home exhausted, yet fulfilled for doing your share to keep us moving, the garden you never thought you’d get around to planting, and the calm of a Sunday morning interrupted only by the songs of birds. We will remember tucking the kids in rather than sending that last email to a coworker. We will remember the peace of an afternoon nap, after a grueling overnight shift. We will remember cramped quarters that were amplified by children’s laughter, filling the room with love. Finishing a 1000-piece puzzle in record time. And holding one another with the full weight of our bodies because it was all we could do.
     
    From where we sit now, months in the future seem like years. Yet, the special moments we are sharing will be gone before we know it. It is hard to live in this present. But it is this present that will make us more patient, more compassionate, more aware, and more grateful for all that we have. That will be the legacy left by these times. In the meantime, we will work, plan, and prepare ourselves not for a return to normal, but for ushering in a brighter, more hopeful normal that we will build together.

    State of the School
    Tuesday, May 26 at 6:00 p.m.
    Zoom information to be shared soon.
     
    You are invited to join us on Tuesday, May 26 for the State of the School address, during which I will reflect on this most extraordinary year, the plans the school has made for this summer and the fall, expectations for the 2020-2021 school year, and how Bush will move forward with its future plans and honor the partnerships we have made with our faculty, staff, families, and communities. If you have questions for me, please submit them here. I will answer questions either in the presentation, during the Q & A session, or follow-up with you individually. A Zoom link to this event will be shared soon.
     
    Bush End-of-the-Year Virtual Events
    The school will continue to communicate information about virtual end-of-the-year events in The Blazer Bulletin, including the Fifth Grade Moving-Up Ceremony, Eighth Grade Moving-Up Ceremony, Upper School Athletics Banquet, and the Class of 2020 Commencement. Please click here to see a list of end of year events with dates, times, and information about each ceremony.
     
    Summer Programs Update
    As a response to the COVID-19 health outbreak, The Bush School Summer Programs has made additional updates. All Blazer Sports Camps, Summer Experience Day Camp Week 1, 2 and 3, Skyhawks Sports Camps, Stand-Up Paddle Boarding, Acting, Ashland Theater Tour, and Methow College Essay Writing Retreat have been cancelled. The Summer Programs team is developing contingency plans for teaching the current Upper School academic summer courses remotely if they cannot safely offer them in person, and will share more information about these courses soon. Please click here to see more information about Bush Summer Programs.
     
    Stay safe,
     
    Percy L. Abram
    Head of School
  • May 15: End of Year Events

    Please click here to see a list of end of year events with dates, times, and information about each ceremony. 
  • May 12: COVID-19 Preparedness and Planning

    Tuesday, May 12
     
    Dear Bush Community, 
     
    This week, I am writing to share information on the new King County directive for residents, as well as a reminder on guidelines for social distancing, the formation of school-wide task forces, and links to the recording of the Dr. Lisa Damour parenting event: Managing Stress, Anxiety, and Parenting Under COVID-19.
     
    King Country: Local Health Officer Directive
    On Monday, May 11, King County provided new directives for residents, seeking to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Beginning Monday, May 18, residents are directed to wear face coverings in public areas. Specifically, this applies to indoor or outdoor public spaces where one may be within six feet of someone who does not live in your home. The directive goes on to advise that face covering is not needed when you are outside walking, exercising, or otherwise outdoors if you are able to regularly stay six feet away from others, and recommends cloth face coverings rather than medical masks, which should be reserved for healthcare workers and those with special health needs.
     
    King County health officials have recognized that the recommended social distancing measures alone simply are not sufficient to alter behaviors that may put others at risk. And, with the weather improving, we can expect that public areas--including parks, beaches, trails, and other open areas--will see increased occupancy, and potentially decreased adherence to these safety protocols. The move by local and state officials to ease restrictions on businesses should not be seen as permission for residents to relax our vigilance on fighting the virus or preserving the gains that we have made to date.
     
    Social Distancing Guidelines
    I am urging Bush parents/guardians to speak with their children about the new guidelines and ways for them to ensure their safety and the safety of others. If they cannot socially-distance, then it is advised that they remain at home. The ubiquity of social media has created legions of unpaid, anonymous, teenage contact tracers. It is evident when these rules are being violated, and gives the impression that this behavior is okay. We are asking everyone to help by doing their part to avoid these situations. Blazer safe = Blazer strong.
     
    School-Wide COVID-19 Task Forces
    I will be convening three new school-wide task forces to help with scenario planning for the fall to focus on academics, operations, and financial impact of the COVID-19 health outbreak on our school.
    • Academic Task Force: The academic task force will focus on planning for our academic program, including our schedule, class configuration, professional development, academic expectations and assessments, managing large group gatherings, experiential programs, and athletics.
    • Operations Task Force: The operations task force will be charged with creating health policies, protocols for social distancing and PPE usage, pick-up and drop-off procedures, large non-academic gatherings (e.g. Convocation and Fall Festival), cleaning procedures, and facilities usage.
    • Financial Task Force: The financial task force will spend time working on how the pandemic will affect financial aid in the near and long-term, technology, professional development investments, projected decreases in philanthropy, and the cost to run remote and in-person schooling simultaneously.
    Managing Stress, Anxiety, and Parenting Under COVID-19
    Thank you to everyone who came out for the Wellness and Learning Support Services Program’s parenting events this past week with Dr. Lisa Damour. One Middle School parent noted, Dr. Damour is an “intelligent, relatable, and down-to-earth expert to support families at this tricky time. Thanks for making this aspect of life another one of the school’s priorities.”
     
    A recording of Dr. Amour’s presentation: Managing Stress, Anxiety, and Parenting Under COVID-19 (Thursday, May 7) is now available. Additional links to “Up in the Air: Parenting the Class of 2020” (Monday, May 11) will be available in this Thursday’s Blazer Bulletin.
     
    I hope that you and your family continue to stay safe and healthy, and look forward to working together through the final weeks of this school year.
     
    Be well,
     
    Percy L. Abram
    Head of School
     
  • May 5: COVID-19 Preparedness & Planning

    Tuesday, May 5
     
    Dear Bush Community, 
     
    Along with honing the skills for baking artisan bread and quickly recognizing discreet color patterns in oddly-shaped puzzle pieces, perhaps one of the few silver linings during these sheltered times is discovering a strength and resilience we did not know existed within us. We wake each day, perhaps with a sense of fear or tinge of monotonous resignation, and face what lies ahead. Sometimes, we don’t know if we want to or can, but yet we do.
     
    As a graduate student, I studied 1930s and 1940s federal educational policy, and I spent time researching one of my personal heroines, Eleanor Roosevelt. One of the great minds and civic leaders of the twentieth century, Ms. Roosevelt was saddled with a painful past, and her accomplishments went largely unsung and overshadowed by her husband. Amidst setbacks, slights, and blatant discrimination, she persevered and continued to advocate for justice and equality. Her book, You Learn By Living: Eleven Keys for a More Fulfilling Life, contains one of her most memorable quotes, “You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, 'I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.' You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”
     
    These times have called upon us to look fear in the face. Each day, our teachers and students wake, and in the face of uncertainty and fear, they do the thing that they sometimes think they cannot do. They show up. This may mean that they present a bit differently in class, show less exuberance in their lesson, or take some moments for themselves throughout the day. This allows them to safeguard their health. As Dr. Lisa Damour (see link for information on Dr. Damour’s May 7 talk for Bush families) notes, “psychological health is not about being free from emotional discomfort, but about having the right feeling at the right time, and being able to bear the unpleasant ones.” Even staring down the unknown, these intrepid faculty and students know, as Kendrick Lamar reminded us, “We Gon Be Alright”.
     
    This week, we received more information about how Washington would begin to loosen some of the stay home and social distancing restrictions. Our planning for the summer and fall will take into account Governor Inslee’s plan for opening Washington’s economy. This plan, which serves more as a roadmap than timeline, will be instrumental in creating a framework for being together as a community once again. To read more about Governor Inslee’s phased approach to opening Washington’s economy, please click on this link.
     
    Stay safe. Be well.
     
     
    Percy L. Abram
    Head of School
  • April 28: COVID-19 Preparedness & Planning

    Tuesday, April 28
     
    Dear Bush Community, 
     
    It is hard to believe that this Friday is May 1. In many ways, this year has flown by. From an emotional standpoint, there have been so many twists and turns that it feels that we are riding waves of uncertainty, hopefulness, and doubt into a distant shore. Yet, we are poised to finish up the year holding one another, focused on building back what we’ve lost, and starting the 2020-2021 school year stronger and more united than before.

    We believe that The Bush School is in a position to manage the months and years ahead, continuing to engage students, providing excellent instruction and student support by our amazing faculty, and delivering on our mission--whether in person or at a distance--to educate students to make a difference in the world.

    What is Bush’s current plan for fall?

    There remains too much uncertainty around the allowances the local and federal government will provide institutions for us to share firm plans for the fall. As always, we will be guided by how we can provide the richest and most robust student programs while prioritizing the health, safety, and protection of our community. Our hope remains that we will return to campus in the fall. However, we will not do so if it compromises the safety of students, families, faculty, and staff.

    Even with a return to campus in the fall, we expect that our classrooms, Commons, community spaces, and larger activities will look different than they have in the past. Every effort will be made to reduce the risk of spreading the virus in our community.

    When will decisions about next year be made?

    We will share information with our community as soon as we have definitive plans. The information will be sequenced based on start times, but in the weeks ahead you will hear from The Bush School about summer programs, summer community gatherings, athletic practices and events, and a return to classes in the fall. We will rely on our administrative team, public health officials and medical professionals, our local government, and peers in the educational community to make sound and thoughtful decisions about moving forward.

    What is being considered in the decision-making process?

    What are some of the issues we are planning for include:
    • A return to campus in the fall, adhering to strict social distancing guidelines and restrictions on large gatherings, as well as the availability of testing and tracing; 
    • Revised policies around medical forms, students’ ability to return to class, and eating in the Commons;
    • The extent to which our experiential, immersion, and wilderness programs will be affected by travel restrictions and social distancing guidelines;
    • Remote schooling in the fall;
    • A return to campus in the fall, and then another outbreak of the coronavirus occurring. 

    Who will make the final decisions for Bush’s fall plans?

    All decisions about the fall will be made by The Bush School’s administration, in consultation with the Board of Trustees.

    Bush Remote Schooling Surveys

    Please click on the links below to review the results of the parent/guardian and student surveys that were completed beginning the week of April 6. In the upcoming virtual parent/guardian meetings, the division directors will discuss how they and the faculty are acting on your and your child’s feedback.
     
     
    I remain inspired by this community’s resolve, resilience, and compassion. I am grateful to our students, parents/guardians, and faculty for sharing your comments, concerns, and ideas for how to move us through the next few weeks. We have taken them to heart, and I feel that our responses and actions have incorporated your feedback, kept our mission at the center, acknowledged our fallibility, and were guided by our good intentions for your children.

    Be safe. Be well.
     
    Percy L. Abram
    Head of School
  • April 21: COVID-19 Preparedness & Planning

    Tuesday, April 21
     
    Dear Bush Community, 
     
    Welcome back to (virtual) campus. I hope that everyone enjoyed their first day back from spring break. I suspect that, like for me, it was nice to return to familiar routines, to engage with colleagues and peers, and to set our sights on our collective work over the next six weeks. As we get started, I wanted to share the following divisional updates as well as information about Bush Earth Week.
     

    COVID-19 Updates

    Upper School
    In consultation with the Upper School faculty, administration, and Bush’s college counselors, we have made the decision to finish out the school year with A-F grades. We felt that this approach allowed for students to demonstrate growth over time, honored their continued engagement with our program, and provided continuity for them as we move into the seventh week of remote schooling.
     
    In the Upper School faculty meeting on Monday, teachers were given guidance on how to finish out the year recognizing students’ progress, while taking into account the difficulties some students may experience during Bush’s remote schooling program. In much of the same way that colleges and universities have adjusted grading policies, the Upper School faculty will make grading decisions that are equitable and humane given the tumultuous times our students are facing presently and in the near future.
     
    The Upper School will also host the Ninth Grade Parent/Guardian Orientation for the Class of 2024 on Wednesday, April 22, from 4:00 to 5:15 p.m. This virtual event will be an introduction to the Bush Upper School community for the incoming class, and a chance for families to learn about high school student life, curriculum, and course registration. Additionally, families will learn more about how the Upper School has adapted to remote schooling.
     
    Middle School
    Middle School Director Jay Franklin recently shared a communication with Middle School families that highlighted expectations for student behavior during remote schooling. We ask that Middle School families review these guidelines with their children and partner with the school to create a positive learning environment for all students. Please feel free to reach out to Jay with questions.
     
    Lower School
    Yesterday, Lower School Director Aliya Virani shared information about an updated remote schooling schedule that includes a new weekly structure for specialists, varied platforms to access the classroom, and special library times for primary and secondary grade levels. For more information, please see Aliya’s message.
     
     
     

    Bush Earth Week - Celebrating 50 Years of Earth Day

    As we move forward with COVID-19 preparedness and planning, I also want to take a moment to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of Earth Day. April 22, 1970, marked the birth of the modern environmental movement, mobilizing 20 million people to demand increased protections for our planet. Fifty years later, Earth Day continues to be a day of action with billions of people across the planet working to create local, national, and global policy changes. It is important now more than ever to reflect on the state of our planet, and to take action to reverse some of the degrading trends that we have experienced over the years. To recognize the significance of this anniversary, The Bush School will have daily Earth Week activities and has pulled together resources to promote activism, engagement, and education.
     
    Today, the fight for a healthy planet continues with increasing urgency. Since the pandemic outbreak, there have been some noticeable changes to the planet. The reduction in commuting, airplane travel, and stay-at-home orders have led to a sharp, but temporary reduction in greenhouse gases (National Geographic, April 3, 2020). Social isolation measures have led to a return of local fauna heretofore in hiding. It only takes a step outside our doors to hear the call of birds or, perhaps less welcome, intrepid wildlife roaming our city streets. The environmental movement offers the hope and promise of a more balanced and harmonious approach to living alongside other life forms. Scientists understand that it will take this sustained level of commitment to reverse the impact of climate change.
     
    The purpose of education is to instill in students a sense of agency and advocacy that will empower them to build a more equitable, just, and sustainable world. We are committed to living these values through programs like BushTALKS Climate Action and supporting the Youth Climate Strike, allocating part of our endowment to ESG funds so that we are investing in Bush’s future in a way that aligns with our values, and putting these environmental principles into practice through sustainable building of our new Upper School building.
     
    As part of Earth Day 2020, the school has put together some activities and resources for Bush Earth Week for our K-12 community which you can find here: Bush Earth Week Activities and Resources.
     
    Bush Earth Week - Celebrating 50 Years of Earth Day
    Each day this week there will be a different call to action for the Bush community to honor our planet and 50 years of Earth Day.

    Tuesday: Create “Go Green” Family Charter
    Wednesday: Earth Day - 24 Hours of Action
    Thursday: eARTh Day
    Friday: K-12 Letter Writing Campaign
     
    I want to share a special thank you to Upper School students Ian O. ‘20 and Louise P. ‘22, Seventh Grade Science Teacher Michael Heald, Eighth Grade History Teacher and Wilderness and E-Week Coordinator Erik Gearhart, and Lower School Service Club Parent Volunteer Judi Yates for their advocacy for the environment and sharing their ideas to help create these resources for students and families.
     
    We know more than ever it is a collective effort to ensure that our planet is here for generations to come.
     
    Stay safe. Be well.
     
    Percy L. Abram
    Head of School
     
    “Whoever said that elephants were stronger than mules? Come 2 the park and play with us. There aren't any rules in Paisley Park” - PRN
  • April 21: A Message from the Middle School Director

    Dear Bush Middle School Families,
     
    I hope you had a relaxing and healthy spring break. Despite the current circumstances, I found that disconnecting from the online world for a bit, and spending time focusing on family, cooking, and exercise, was rejuvenating. I hope your family found what you needed to help propel you through the end of the school year.
     
    As we head into the final weeks of the school year, I wanted to remind you of many of our current expectations, and also introduce some new thoughts for how students should behave in our online schooling environment. Based on feedback from faculty during our in-service on Monday, issues around student engagement and behavior came to the forefront, and it felt necessary to provide an easy-to-see breakdown of our school expectations which you can find here.
     
    As part of this exercise, we recognize that the developmental age of your child will play a part in how they prepare for and engage in online schooling. It is important to have reminders as we navigate through the new landscape of remote schooling together. Please review these expectations with your child(ren) prior to class as we start back to school following spring break. Faculty will be focusing attention on these areas as we move through the remainder of the school year.
     
    Please let me or your child’s advisor know if you have any questions. Take care and stay healthy.
     
    Sincerely,
     
     
    Jay Franklin 
    Middle School Director
  • April 20: Lower School Remote Schooling Update

    Dear Bush Lower School Families, 
     
    I hope you all had a wonderful spring break and found moments to get out and enjoy the beautiful sunshine. The Bush Lower School is excited to welcome our students back! Teachers spent today collaborating and creating more exciting learning opportunities. You should have received a schedule from your child’s classroom teacher detailing more ways in which Bush Lower School students will be connecting in groups and as a class. 
     
    There will also be a new weekly structure for specialist classes. Lower School students will have one thirty-minute live class and one assignment for each specialist class per week. The links and schedules to specialist class meetings can be found here. Technology classes will be using the Google Meet platform and all other specialist classes will be using Zoom. For information about Zoom cybersecurity, click here. For technical assistance and installation questions, please email Technology Director Ethan Delavan.
     
    How to Install Zoom
    1. Visit zoom.us/download. There you will find the Zoom client either for Windows or Mac, depending on which computer you have.
    2. Download and run the installer. 
    3. You may wish to test out a Zoom meeting with a trusted individual so that you can ensure you have given access to your camera and microphone. Then, your child’s experience will be smooth when it comes time to follow a link from their specialist teacher. 
     
    Students will also be able to find the link to the live class on their Google Classroom under the specialist’s topic the day of the class. Within twenty-four hours of the live class, a video recording post of the lesson and a follow-up assignment for your child to work on will be available. These assignments will be due the day before their next live class session and will be posted as usual under the specialist topic in your Google Classroom.
     
    Please also join us for Lunch with the Library as Lower School Dovi Patiño reads storybooks aloud on Monday through Friday for two different Lower School sessions. 
     
    Lunch with the Library (grades K-2)
    Daily: 12:00-12:25 p.m.
    Meeting ID: 757 984 343
    Password: 117617
     
    Lunch with the Library (grades 3-5)
    Daily: 12:30-12:55 p.m.
    Meeting ID: 490 077 804
    Password: 603230
     
    Thank you all for your continued support and patience as we navigate through our remote learning journey. The teachers have been extraordinary captains! Please feel free to email me if you have any questions. 
     
    Sincerely,
    Aliya Virani
    Lower School Director
  • April 20: Welcome Back from Spring Break

    Dear Bush Community, 
     
    I want to welcome all of our students, faculty, and staff back from Spring Break. I hope that the time away from school was restful and restorative. I have recorded this message that I encourage you to listen to as we head into spring and the final six weeks of the school year.
     
     
     
    To all of our students, may you find purpose in the days ahead through learning and inquiry, and let your curiosity lead you to new ideas and a sense of hope and optimism.
     
    I wish you all the best. Stay safe. Be well.
     
    Warmly,
     
    Percy L. Abram
    Head of School
  • April 11: Lower School Spring Break Resources

    Dear Bush Lower School Families,
     
    I hope you have had a good start to spring break. We know this “break” is different than our typical days off. The Lower School team has put together a list of resources with lots of activities from geocaching to exploring the Galapagos Islands to a link to NASA astronauts reading stories from outer space. One of my favorites is the live "jelly cam" of the jellyfish at the Monterey Aquarium. If these resources are of interest to your family, you can get started this weekend. Read the list over with your child, and ask them pick out two to three activities. Find a balance of hands on activities as well as exploring some of the on-line resources. This is a great way to spend time together and most importantly have fun.
     
    The Bush Lower School Spring Break Resources handout will also be posted on the COVID-19 Information webpage and the Lower School Info Tile. The Bush support services team also has a new Wellness & Learning webpage with great resources for supporting K-12 students during COVID-19 including a Wellness & Learning Spring Break Resources handout with more ideas.
    Also, be sure to download Spring Break Blazer Bingo board, a fun way to try a different activity each day.  I hope your spring break include time outside, family time, and fun exploring some of these activities. I look forward to hearing all about it!
     
    Be well,

    Aliya Virani
    Lower School Director

    LOWER SCHOOL SPRING BREAK RESOURCES

    Saturday Morning Storytime with Percy

    Head of School Percy L. Abram is excited to continue his tradition of reading stories to Bush Kindergarten students, and he hopes more of you will join him for Saturday Morning Storytime with Percy. This week he will be reading the book Ish by Peter Reynolds who shines a bright beam of light on the need to kindle and tend our creative flames with care. 
     
    Share your favorite books with Percy at percy.abram@bush.edu for future storytimes. Click here to listen to this week's storytime.

    Go screen-free



    Visit museums, national parks, or landmarks from around the world

    Keukenhof, a Dutch floral exhibition and the most beautiful spring garden in the world! Since this infamous garden is unable to open their gates to the public this year, they are opening their doors and touring themselves in all their glory online. (Visit Keukenhof)
    Take a tour of NASA (NASA)
    Walk through every floor of the National Aquarium (National Aquarium)
    Visit Yellowstone National Park (National Parks Service)
    Smithsonian Museum of Natural History: Move at your own pace through the 360-degree
    room-by-room tour of every exhibit in the museum (National Museum of Natural History)
    Explore the hidden worlds of the national parks (Google)
    Galapagos Islands: Embark on a guided video tour of the incredible wildlife and culture of the
    Galapagos with National Geographic Expeditions (National Geographic)
    Great Barrier Reef, Australia: Swim through Australia’s Great Barrier Reef with the help of videos and an educational, interactive map (David Attenborough)
    Great Wall of China: Take a virtual tour of one of the Seven Wonders of the World (The China Guide)
    Virtual field trips around the world include the White House, Mt. Rushmore, and Great Pyramids (Trip Savvy)
     

    Read, watch, or listen to a great book or kids’ podcast

    Audible from Amazon has opened up their library of children’s books, all the way up through teen, and in multiple languages, or free while schools are closed. (Audible)
    Storyline Online  streams videos of actors reading children’s books (Storyline Online)
    Storytime and read-alouds, especially great for young learners (Clavis Publishing)
    Audio stories (Storynory)
    Pinna is currently offering a 60-day free trial. Pinna is the only screen-free, ad-free audio streaming service made for kids 3-12. Podcasts, audiobooks, and music. **Use code Pinna4Kids (Circle Time Fun)

    Take off into space

    Astronauts are reading children’s books in outer space! Watch and listen here (Story Time from Space)
    Interactive Mars Virtual Tour – NASA has teamed up with Google to create an interactive Mars virtual tour using the data collected from the Mars Curiosity Rover launched in 2011. Learn about the Curiosity mission, click around the terrain to move the Rover across the surface, and travel to different mission sites. (Access Mars)
    International Space Station NASA has provided videos that allow you to tour the ISS with the
    astronauts on board. (NASA)
    The Digital Universe incorporates data from dozens of organizations worldwide to create the most complete and accurate 3-D atlas of the Universe from the local solar neighborhood out to the edge of the observable Universe. (American Museum of Natural History’s Hayden Planetarium)

    Code, do a science experiment, create some art, or make music

    Learn code and digital tools for free! (Girls Who Code)
    Draw Doodles with Mo Willems (Mo Willems)
    Do some simple science activities at home with Science Snacks (San Francisco Exploratorium)
    Experiment with sounds and music, or write a song (Music Lab)
    Virtual dance classes (Encore PNW)
    Building and design challenges for upper elementary students. (BlocksCAD)
    Curiosity at Home resource for families and curiosity lovers of all ages (Pacific Science Center)
    Paper, origami, dice, and math challenges (You Cubed at Stanford University)

    Go on a safari

    Live safaris every day at 12:00 PT (Cincinnati Zoo)
    Live cams from the Monterey Aquarium (Monterey Bay Aquarium)
    Oregon Zoo keeper cams and updates (Oregon Zoo)
    Denver Zoo brings the zoo to you (Denver Zoo)
    San Diego Zoo live video feeds (San Diego Zoo)

    Additional resources

    Calendar of Seattle-based free virtual classes for kids (Seattle’s Child)
    Common Sense Media reviews and recommends educational apps and websites (Common Sense Media)
    PBS Kids sends parent resources with activities and ideas (PBS Kids)

     

    Spring Break Blazer Bingo

     
    Looking for some fun over spring break? Check out Spring Break Blazer Bingo! It's a great way to add activities to your day, join in a community event, and win some cool Bush schwag. Click here to download the Spring Break Blazer Bingo board. For official submissions, please create a folder inside the Spring Break Blazer Bingo Google Folder with the Bush student's full name and graduation year (ie; Helen Bush_24) and drop in your photos.
  • April 8: Wellness & Learning Webpage

    WELLNESS & LEARNING WEBPAGE 

    The Bush K-12 Support Services Department is pleased to launch a new webpage to support all students during the transition to remote schooling during the COVID-19 health outbreak. This resource is designed as an information hub for students and families and includes spring break resources, featured articles of interest, wellness and counseling resources, learning support resources, and a Bush support services team directory including contact information. 

    We hope you find it helpful and enjoy exploring the various articles, links, and information. To read the letter sent to the Bush community from Support Services Department Chair Sara Carter outlining the department's commitment to students' emotional and learning needs during the COVID-19 health outbreak, click here. Today, we know that community is more important than ever, and the Bush support services team is ready to support you.

    SPRING BREAK RESOURCES

    Spring break is starting, and the Bush support services team has pulled together a wide range of resources to support you over spring break during this unique time. We know this “break” is definitely different than our typical days off. We hope this time brings connection, calm, and even some fun for your entire family. You can find resources for spring break and beyond by clicking here. The Lower School has also created a spring break resources flier with lots of fun activities. Check it out here.

    SPRING BREAK BLAZER BINGO

     
    Looking for some fun over spring break? Check out Spring Break Blazer Bingo! It's a great way to add activities to your day, join in a community event, and win some cool Bush schwag. Click here to download the Spring Break Blazer Bingo board. 
    For official submissions, please create a folder inside the Spring Break Blazer Bingo Google Folder with the Bush student's full name and graduation year (ie; Helen Bush_24) and drop in your photos. 
     
  • April 7: COVID-19 Preparedness & Planning

    Dear Bush Community, 
     
    Governor Jay Inslee’s announcement  yesterday prohibiting each “public school district, charter school, and private school from conducting in-person educational, recreational, and other K-12 school programs” provided resolution to the open question about whether we would gather in classrooms, the Commons, studios, and courtyards at Bush again during the 2019-2020 school year. The decision ended speculation and the hope that we would end the year with our familiar rites of passage. It is safe to say that many of us are heartbroken.
     
    As a community, we recognize the loss of normalcy. As residents, we understand our obligation to slow down the spread of the coronavirus is a public health imperative. As Governor Inslee shared, the “closure is guided by science and is our greatest opportunity to keep our kids, educators, and communities safe.” His team left open the possibility to return to campus “for a few days”. We are already exploring alternative event plans for the school to honor our students’ accomplishments and to celebrate their important milestones, even if they must take on a different format. Below, please find a list of tentative dates for Bush end-of-year events. These will occur remotely or in person, assuming such gatherings are permissible by law.
     
    For the rest of the academic year, we will proceed with our plan for remote schooling. The faculty and staff remain committed to ensuring that we provide an academically engaging experience for your children, so that they will enter the summer feeling enthusiastic about learning and eager to return and see their peers and mentors next year.
     
    The Bush School has resided in this great city for 97 years. Our community has weathered wars, social and political unrest, the Great Depression and at least two major global economic recessions, the passing of our founder, and countless personal losses that gripped our school community and tested our mettle. Through each of these we emerged stronger, more united, and more convinced that educating students with sturdy hearts and minds can build a better future for us all. That is more true now than ever.
     
    Thank you for remaining Blazer Strong.
     
    Stay safe,
     
    Percy L. Abram
    Head of School
     
    Contingency Plans: Commencement and Moving Up Ceremonies
    The end-of-year events will take place on the scheduled dates in a virtual format. By making this difficult decision now, we hope to relieve some of the stress of the uncertainty for graduates and families in these fluid times. While the Commencement experience we all anticipated has changed, students’ accomplishments - and our desire to celebrate them - have not. Over the next few weeks, the school will be gathering ideas and exploring options to ensure we provide the best possible celebratory experience for all graduating students. We are also exploring the possibility of hosting Fifth and Eighth Grade modified in-person Moving-Up Celebrations, as well as a modified in-person Commencement/Baccalaureate Celebration in early August, if such gatherings are permissible by law.
     
    Tentative: End of Year Calendar of Events
    This list of end-of-year celebrations includes some, but not all of the school’s key events. The school will continue to review the calendar in consideration of remote events and will make updates in the coming weeks.
    *Note in the original posting on April 7, 2020 the days of the week were inaccurate for the ceremonies on Tuesday - Thursday. They now reflect the correct day of the week.
     
    Remote Class of 2027 Moving Up Ceremony (Fifth Grade)
    Tuesday, June 2 (Time TBD)
    In-person Moving Up Celebration (week of August 3 or 10)
     
    Remote Upper School Athletics Banquet
    Tuesday, June 2 (Time TBD)
     
    Remote Class of 2024 Moving Up Ceremony (Eighth Grade)
    Thursday, June 4 (Time TBD)
    In-person Moving Up Celebration (week of August 3 or 10)
     
    Remote Class of 2020 Commencement
    Friday, June 5 (Time TBD)
    In-person Commencement/Baccalaureate Celebration (week of August 3 or 10)
     
    Wellness & Learning Webpage and Spring Break Resources
    The Bush Support Services team has created a new Support Services: CO VID-19 Resources webpage with resources for supporting K-12 student wellness and learning during the campus closure. This page will get updated each week with articles and resources. I hope you will take time to visit this page, read the articles, and find useful resources for spring break and beyond including the Bush Wellness & Learning Spring Break Resources flier.
     
    Remote Schooling Survey
    In preparation for ongoing remote schooling, we ask that you take a few minutes to complete a Parent/Guardian: Bush Remote Schooling Survey. This feedback will allow the school to build on the successes of the first month of remote schooling, as well as adapt and refine our practices. Middle and Upper School students received the student version of the survey via their Bush email account this week.
     
    Spring Break Schedule
    The Bush School’s spring break begins on Thursday, April 9. As a reminder, Monday, April 20, is a Faculty Work Day, and classes will resume as scheduled on Tuesday, April 21. To read more information about spring break, click here.
     
    Upper School Teaching, Learning, and Grading
    K-12 independent and public schools, as well as colleges and universities, are deciding on alternative options for assessments and grading practices since the COVID-19 pandemic forced schools to move to remote learning. The Bush Upper School administration, the college counseling team, and the Upper School faculty have been discussing which approach is right for Bush, given our students, program, and mission. This conversation is grounded in what is best for our students emotionally and academically, a commitment to equity, and a belief that learning is an intrinsic motivator.
     
    For all of us, spring 2020 is an anomalous time, and college admissions offices across the country also acknowledge this reality. When we return from spring break, we will make a decision on how to move forward as a school. The options under consideration include keeping our current grading system or moving to Pass or Fail (P/F) for the second semester.
     
    Lower School Schedule
    Lower School teachers will introduce new daily schedules after spring break with increased synchronous learning. Teachers are in the final stages of updating the schedules to be sent out on Monday, April 20 after revisions are completed. To read more about the revised format, click here.
     
    Percy’s Parenting Resources
    Each week, I share resources to support parenting during the COVID-19 health emergency with a focus on wellness, movement and activities, and arts and culture. A full list of resources is available on the Bush COVID-19 Information webpage.
     
     
    Movement and Wellness
    Soccer Sprint with Seattle Sounder Brand Evans (Alliance for a Healthier Generation)
    P.E. with Joe Wicks: 30-minute workout for kids (YouTube)
     
    Arts and Culture
    Seattle Symphony Morning Notes - Each morning a different Seattle Symphony musician shares a little music to brighten your day. (Seattle Symphony)
    Calling All Young Writers! Enter Seattle’s Child Kid’s Poetry Contest! (Seattle’s Child)
    Shakespeare's Globe: MacBeth 2020 for Young Audiences (The Shakespeare Globe Trust)
  • April 6: The Bush School Closure & Remote Schooling Survey

    April 6, 2020

    Dear Bush Parents/Guardians,

    This afternoon Governor Inslee announced that all private and public K-12 schools across Washington will be closed for the remainder of the school year. Per his announcement, Inslee directed that “all schools will continue distance learning through the end of this school year”. 

    As a result, The Bush School will not reopen our campus for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year as we had hoped. While our buildings remain closed, our teachers will continue to provide continuous learning through the remote schooling program through the end of the school year. We will share more details in the coming days about what this closure means for our students and end of year programming.

    We were hopeful that Governor Inslee would make a different decision. We are extremely saddened that we will not be together on campus again this year.  This is particularly heartbreaking for our seniors and for the faculty/staff for whom 2019-2020 is their last year at Bush. We will continue to find creative ways that we can connect and engage as a community remotely as well as celebrate each other's contributions and accomplishments. 

    Remote Schooling Survey
    In preparation for ongoing remote schooling, we ask that you take a few minutes to complete a Parent/Guardian: Bush Remote Schooling Survey. This feedback will give the school valuable information on how the program is supporting students as well as capture any challenges they may be experiencing in this new format. Middle and Upper School students also received the student version of the survey today via their Bush email account. 

    We appreciate your ongoing partnership and support as we navigate the unprecedented challenges that face our region and the nation.

    Best regards,

    Percy L. Abram
    Head of School
     
  • April 6: Lower School Remote Schooling Information

    Dear Bush Lower School Families,
     
    I hope you are all doing well, and enjoying the rays of sunshine that have recently brightened our days in the Pacific Northwest. I enjoyed getting outside for neighborhood walks this weekend; however, I am missing a different kind of sunshine— the warmth and sunshine each of your children bring to school each day. 

    As we reflect on our time in remote schooling, the Lower School faculty are focused on creating more opportunities for connection. The time spent in this new teaching model has allowed faculty to identify what is working well and which aspects could be enhanced for our youngest learners. During teacher check-ins, our students have shared how much they miss seeing their peers in a classroom environment on a daily basis.

    When we return from Spring Break, the Lower School will have an updated schedule with increased synchronous learning. This updated format will provide students with the opportunity to engage and connect more in person with their teachers and peers. 

    The faculty are in the final stages of updating their classroom schedules, and we will plan to send out the updated schedule on Monday, April 20, after revisions are completed. 

    As we look to make this shift, here is some more information about asynchronous and synchronous learning in the Lower School.
     
    Asynchronous (independent learning): Asynchronous learning is when students learn the same material at different times. Students will complete these lessons independently and turn in assignments during the day or at a time indicated by the teacher.
     
    Synchronous (live learning): Synchronous learning is when students have a common, real-time learning experience implemented through platforms like Zoom or Google Hangouts. For the Lower School, synchronous learning will include homeroom and specialist classes. This allows students to meet with teachers and classmates, receive live feedback, and learn together as a class.
     
    Examples of Lower School Synchronous Learning
    • Whole live class gatherings to start and end the day. Examples include Morning Meeting, Closing/Gratitude Circle, office hours, and one-on-one check-in;
    • Live daily lesson with one specialist teacher per day including library, PE, technology, art, music, or Spanish;
    • Combination of live whole class instruction, small group lessons, and independent learning;
    • Student-teacher check-in’s (one-on-one or in small groups);
    • Mini-lessons for the younger students (Kindergarten through Third Grade);
    • In-depth live lessons with breakout groups for older students (Fourth and Fifth Grade).
    In developing the revised Lower School schedules, each grade level will look different based on students’ developmental needs and independent skills. Teachers will record synchronous lessons if students are unable to attend due to family constraints or parent work schedules. The lessons will then be posted on the Google classroom. 

    Lower School: Lunch in the Library
    Lower School Librarian Dovi Patiño will be offering Lunch in the Library daily starting after Spring Break for Kindergarten through Fifth Grade students. Dovi will be reading storybooks aloud on Monday through Friday with two different Lower School sessions. The session for Kindergarten through Second Grade will take place from 12:00-12:25 p.m., and the session for Third through Fifth Grade will take place from 12:35-1:00 p.m.

    The Lower School teachers have been superheroes through these changing times. Together they have anchored us with their creativity, experience, patience, resilience, and their “flex muscles” to create an online curriculum that reflects the learning of their classroom. 

    On behalf of the Lower School teachers, I appreciate your continued partnership and support. Please be sure to reach out to me with any additional questions or follow-up.
     
    Warmly,
     
    Aliya Virani
    Lower School Director
  • March 31: COVID-19 Preparedness and Planning

    Dear Bush Community,
     
    In many ways, we have experienced two first days of the school year. On September 4, we gathered in the Inner Courtyard for Convocation to mark the start of the school year. On March 11, we entered our home offices, kitchens, and new learning spaces to begin remote schooling and what now feels like a new (temporary) normal. In a very short time, our teachers moved classrooms beyond the four walls of Bush to the pathways of synchronous and asynchronous learning of Google Classroom, Zoom meetings, Slack, and Trello.
     
    Along the way, we have been following the news, making adjustments to daily life, and finding ways to help those around us. You have shared with me the many ways you are supporting each other through this crisis, from delivering groceries to elderly neighbors, to seeking out critical resources and basic needs for the most vulnerable in our region, to staying connected to family near and far.
     
    Many of our community members have also stepped up and out onto the frontlines of the response to the COVID-19 outbreak. I am particularly grateful to members of the Bush community who are serving as health care workers in hospitals, assisted living facilities, and the medical field across our region and country. Thank you for your dedication and courage.
     
    The Bush School is committed to supporting the public health community. This week, we joined several schools by loaning six 3D printers and one laser cutter that will be used to create N95 masks, visors, and other critical medical supplies. The Maker’s Mask --a N95 mask-- created by Rory Larsen, is produced on hobbyist-grade 3-D printers at a cost of two to three dollars per mask. The Maker’s Mask team now has forty 3D printers that will produce 300 masks per day. They plan to share the production model with the greater maker community to address the shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) and to protect health care workers.
     
    Thanks to the efforts of Seattle Academy alumni, Bush and several peer schools will set up digital fabrication systems at Epiphany School for volunteers to print, cut, and assemble pieces for designs approved by area medical facilities. The first masks are being used now at Seattle Children’s Hospital. We intend to stay in partnership with the organizers of this effort to facilitate its extension into other production facilities and distribution venues.
     
    I also want to share some general updates, as well as examples of how we are continuing to live our mission through the lesson plans and daily interactions of students and teachers in remote schooling.
     

    Remote Schooling Update

    Lower School
    Morning Message
    In the Lower School, we believe that learning is built on a foundation of love and belonging. Every Kindergarten through Second Grade student starts the school day with a check-in or video recording of a Morning Message from their classroom teacher. This daily opportunity for connection and learning is infused with creativity and love, and teachers have incorporated puppet shows, mood meter check-ins, songs, and more.

     
    Digital Citizenship
    Third through Fifth Grade students are engaging in book groups, creating Flip Grid videos about jazz musicians, and having discussions around digital citizenship. All of these interactions have created opportunities for meaningful dialogue, storytelling, and much needed joy and laughter for Lower School students and faculty.
     
    Middle School
    Student Success
    Teachers in the Middle School have adjusted their programs as the needs of the students have become more clear over time. The age and maturity gap between Sixth Grade and Eighth Grade has been one of the teachers’ major talking points. There is tremendous growth during the three short years in Middle School, and teachers are well aware that what might work for an Eighth Grade student, will not work for a Sixth Grade student, and vice-versa. Examples of this may include navigating a Google Classroom, participation in a Zoom meeting, checking the portal each day, and turning in assignments properly. We are seeking the right platforms for student success. As we continue to share big and small victories and challenges with each other, we also recognize that we need to meet students where they are in their developmental journey, now more than ever.

    Fine Arts
    One example of a positive adjustment comes from the Middle School arts department. The team altered their classes last week so that each grade level could focus on one art class per week (Drama, Visual Art, Music). This change has enabled students and teachers to immerse themselves in one project or a few small projects. The following Seventh Grade collaborative art project, The Combination Person, asked three students to draw a figure together, with each student drawing one-third of the figure. This surrealist drawing game was a favorite of artist Frida Kahlo, and can also be done using poetry. I recently tried this art project at home by following this link
     
    Upper School
    History: Sociology of Malcolm X
    Throughout the remote schooling program, Upper School history students continue to practice critical thinking skills while developing an awareness of the relationship between humankind’s past experience and the present. This week, students enrolled in the history elective, Sociology of Malcolm X, engaged in an ongoing debate series which included large and small group conversations. Students viewed the speech given by Malcolm X at the Oxford Union Debate, Dec. 3, 1964, and were asked to identify two to three points that connect to their lives today. The class then used Zoom Breakout Rooms to engage in small group discussions.

    Percy's Parenting Resources

    Each week, I will share resources to support parenting during the COVID-19 health emergency with a focus on wellness, movement and activities, and arts and culture. A full list of resources is available on the Bush COVID-19 Information webpage.
     
    Parenting & Education
    Tips for Parents: Talk to Your Child about Appropriate Digital Behavior and Content (stopbullying.gov)
    Learn to be a Disney Imagineer through Khan Academy and Disney (Khan Academy)
    Girls Who Code Releases Free Virtual Curricula (Girls Who Code)
    The Daily: A Kid’s Guide to Coronavirus (NYTimes)
    Over the last few weeks, children have called into “The Daily” with a lot of questions about the coronavirus.
     
     
    Arts & Culture
    Watch Revelations part of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s Alvin All Access series including Lincoln Center online learning guides related to Revelations for children, teens, and adults (Alvin Alley/Lincoln Center)
    The National Theatre is going to stream a free play every Thursday night.
     
    As we head into April, I hope that everyone finds time to enjoy the budding flowers and signs of spring around them, and seeks out beauty and renewal in the natural world.
     
    Warmly,

    Percy L. Abram
    Head of School
  • March 27: Important Spring Break Information

    Dear Bush Community,

    Our faculty and staff have been working at an incredible pace to bring remote schooling to your children, while in turn, the students have completely altered how they are learning, where they are learning, and with whom (siblings, pets, parents, etc.). The pace of change has been intense.

    Washington State Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal has advised schools to be prepared for a longer closure in the near term. In recognition that remote schooling may extend beyond April 27, and that our faculty’s learning curve and work rate has accelerated since early March, I have extended this year’s spring break to include Thursday, April 9, and Friday, April 10. This pause comes at a time when many in our community are celebrating major religious holidays, so it provides a time to gather (albeit remotely), reflect, and rejoice with family. This means that classes will end after school on Wednesday, April 8, and resume as scheduled on Tuesday, April 21. 

    We hope that your children will use this time to take a break from their screens, read that pleasure book they’ve been putting off, go for a run, or walk the dog. As a family, I encourage you to consider ways that you can give back to those most in need. Even in times of uncertainty and discomfort, there is much for which to be grateful.

    Thank you for your ongoing support of the Bush faculty and staff.

    Sincerely,
     
    Percy L. Abram
    Head of School
     
  • March 24: COVID-19 Preparedness and Planning

    Dear Bush Community, 
     
    Yesterday, we entered week three of remote schooling. The time spent with your children in this new teaching model has helped our faculty to reflect on what is working well and what challenges they have experienced. Based on their feedback, our teachers have made adjustments to the Middle and Upper School schedules to create more community time and reduce screen time. The changes are reflected here:
     
     
    Since last week, there have been new mandates from school and state officials that affect The Bush School. Yesterday, at a press conference, Governor Jay Inslee issued an Executive Order requiring a closure of all non-essential businesses in order to fight the spread of the novel coronavirus. Per the order, "workers supporting public and private childcare establishments, licensed pre-K establishments, K-12 schools, colleges, and universities for the purposes of distance learning,” as well as “workers (that) ensure continuity of building functions" are considered Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers. These designations allow The Bush School to maintain our partial campus closure schedule. The campus will be open for faculty/staff on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
     
    In addition, WA Superintendent of Public Instruction advised that all schools “need to be prepared for a potentially longer closure--beyond April 27--in the near term and [without a vaccine] we have to be prepared that (the virus is) back or still with us in the fall”. The school’s Academic Council is preparing for both scenarios and how this would impact our academic program.
     
    Parent University
    The Bush School has canceled this year’s Parent University, which was scheduled to take place on Saturday, April 25, 2020. We are grateful to Parent University Chair Jessica Carr for her leadership, as well as the Bush staff and Families Association parent volunteers for their year-long work on this event. We look forward to carrying forward their planning and efforts at Parent University 2021. Please be sure to save the date for next year’s Parent University on Saturday, April 24, 2021.
     
    Admissions Decision Week - Lower and Middle School
    This week The Bush School hosted the first virtual admissions decision week (March 20-27) for newly admitted Lower and Middle School students and families. Thank you to all the staff, parent volunteers, and students who supported virtual admissions events. We look forward to welcoming all the new students to our school community, including the next Kindergarten class - Bush Class of 2033! To see more about the virtual admission decision week programming, check out the Welcome New Families webpage.
     
    Parenting Resources
    Each week, I will plan to share resources to support parenting during the COVID-19 health emergency with a focus on wellness, movement and activities, and arts and culture.
     
    Ready To Dance? Follow D-Nice on Instagram for details on his latest House Party Event
    Easy Recipes to Cook When You’re at Home (NY Times)
    The Big List of Children’s Authors Doing Online Read-Alouds & Activities (We Are Teachers)
    Handling Your Kid’s Disappointment When Everything Is Canceled (NYTimes)
     
    To date, we have not been notified of a confirmed case of COVID-19 among our students, faculty, or staff. If you believe that you have been exposed to coronavirus, please follow the Washington State Department of Health’s guidelines outlined here.
     
    We remain hopeful that we will return this spring, and understand the reality that this may not be possible. We will continue to follow the data, make decisions based on public health recommendations, and plan prudently to ensure our community’s safety.
     
    While we cannot be together on campus, Governor Inslee’s new Executive Order does encourage us to remain active by taking a walk, running, biking, and gardening- all important activities for maintaining Washingtonian’s physical and mental health. We continue to wish you good health.
     
    Sincerely,

     
    Percy L. Abram
    Head of School
  • March 22: NYTimes - Bush Head of School Reflects on Leading School through COVID-19 Crisis

    Head of School Percy L. Abram reflects on his experience leading The Bush School through the COVID-19 health outbreak in the Sunday, March 22 edition of The New York Times. “All I’ve really known is that the answer to work and to emotional strife has been to work harder and work more,” said Dr. Abram whose wife, a medical doctor, has stresses of her own. Now he realizes that might not be enough. “Soon there is no ‘harder’ and no ‘more,’ and that leads me with the uncertainty I will have to face. The city is going to slow down, my meetings will slow down and I will have to slow down and process my emotions.” We are grateful for Dr. Abram and all of the teachers, civic leaders, and medical professionals leading us through this crisis in Seattle. To read the full article click here.
  • March 22: Middle School Remote School Schedule Update

    Dear Bush Middle School Families,
     
    As we close out week two of remote schooling, I want to thank you all for supporting your children as they get settled in their new routines. We have all had to adjust to this new normal in a short amount of time. I have been impressed by the patience and resilience of our students, teachers, and families. 
     
    I also want to thank all of the Middle School parents/guardians for participating in Parent/Guardian-Teacher Conferences. From all that I have heard so far, the conferences seem to have gone very well in the new remote format. 
     
    As we look ahead to the coming week, I want to share a few adjustments to the remote schooling schedule. We believe that these changes will make the experience more focused and reduce stress for students and faculty.
     
    The first change is to the daily schedule. We have noticed that our current model has caused some stress through quick transitions, not enough time for students and teachers to make and eat lunch, and not enough time in the morning for the advisor check-in with students. Please find the new schedule here.
     
    You will notice that the day begins at 8:50 a.m. instead of 9:00 a.m., and that there is more time dedicated to lunch. The schedule indicates that PE is shorter, but because that is an asynchronous class, it can be done at any time of the day. The requirement is still to follow the PE curriculum, and turn in reports and assignments as required by the teacher. 
    We continue to value the importance of movement and exercise for students on a daily basis now more than ever.
     
    The second change is to the ARTS program. After feedback from students and faculty over the past week, the Middle School has decided to adjust the ARTS rotation. Details of the change are listed here.
    • We will be removing technology from the rotation. Tracy will focus her energy on supporting teachers and students across Middle School. There will still be tech challenges for students if they are interested in more tech work. After one full rotation through the new program we will revisit adding a more structured tech class.
    • Each grade-level will move to a one-week dedicated ARTS class starting Monday, March 23 (Sixth Grade - Drama, Seventh Grade - Visual Arts, Eighth Grade - Music).
    • After a week, students will rotate to a new class (see rotation schedule below).
    • Students will get information for their classes on the portal.
    • All deadlines and expectations for the classes will be communicated to students each Monday.
    Weeks
    Drama
    Visual Arts
    Music
    March 23-27
    Sixth Grade
    Seventh Grade
    Eighth Grade
    March 30-April 3
    Eighth Grade
    Sixth Grade
    Seventh Grade
    April 6-10
    Seventh Grade
    Eighth Grade
    Sixth Grade
     
    We appreciate everyone’s flexibility and feedback as we continue to develop and refine a schedule and online learning environment that supports positive learning habits and engagement for our Middle School students.
     
    Please know that we are learning daily about the impact of COVID-19 and the restrictions being placed on society. With that said, I want to emphasize the importance of social distancing. We have had numerous reports of students meeting up at parks or each others’ homes. I want to reiterate that there are no aspects of the remote school program that requires students to connect in person. Please be mindful of the risks involved when social distancing is not followed during this critical time.
     
    Thank you, and stay safe and healthy.
     
    Sincerely,
    Jay Franklin
    Middle School Director 
     
  • March 20: Upper School Remote School Schedule Update

    Dear Bush Upper School Families,

    I am writing to let you know that, after careful examination of the first week of our remote school program, some experiences surfaced that warranted an adjustment to our schedule. In our current schedule, students and faculty expressed the impact of being on screens throughout the entire school day, then for students, continuing with screens as they shifted to completing homework. For many in the Upper School, an adjustment to the schedule to allow for a wider window of time between remote school classes and the shift to homework would be preferable. We have made a decision to revise the schedule, which can be found here. This schedule will be effective as of Monday, March 23. 

    In our revised schedule, we have oriented synchronous classes to be completed prior to lunch. This shift creates longer blocks of time where students can focus on individual work without interruption, as well as step away from computers as needed. Additionally, the adjusted schedule will also provide a later daily start to give families much needed time before classes in the morning to prepare for the day. 

    Please know that we are learning daily about the impact of COVID-19 and the restrictions being placed on society. With that said, I want to emphasize the importance of social distancing. We have had numerous reports of students meeting up at coffee shops or each others’ homes. I want to reiterate that there are no aspects of the remote school program that requires students to connect in person. Please be mindful of the risks involved when social distancing is not followed during this critical time.
     
    As we head into the weekend, please take the time to fine-tune your daily routines to be in accordance with the recommendations from health officials. Please let me know if you have any questions about the new schedule. 
     
    Sincerely,  

    Ray Wilson
    Upper School Director
  • March 17: COVID-19 Preparedness and Planning

    Dear Bush Community,

    I want to begin by thanking you for your flexibility and patience as we quickly adapted to these new, uncertain times. In only one short week, the staff and faculty have deftly shifted their focus to remote schooling, device deployment, and technology troubleshooting for the entire Bush community. It is remarkable how seamlessly they shifted their attention to the urgency at hand and worked to ensure that learning remained a constant for our students amidst a sea of changes. 

    Since our last update, state and local government officials, as well as regional and national health agencies, have had to make quick decisions about public health that have altered our daily lives and routine practices. 
    • On March 13, in an attempt to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in Washington State, Governor Inslee announced that all public and private K–12 schools in the state will be closed through Friday, April 24. This declaration pushed back by four weeks--including spring break--our intended, published date to return to school. 
    • On March 16, Governor Jay Inslee announced an emergency proclamation mandating a two-week closure of all restaurants, bars, and entertainment and recreational facilities, as well as additional limits on large gatherings. While certainly the correct decision from a public health standpoint, it radically altered how we connect, relax, and enjoy family and friends.
    Based on Governor Inslee’s most recent emergency proclamation, The Bush School has made changes to our campus availability through April 24. Starting this week through April 17, Bush will be moving to partial campus closure. The campus will be closed and not accessible to students, families, faculty, or staff on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. We will have limited hours (8:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.) for faculty and staff only on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

    This action is based on the new guidelines about limiting the exposure to individuals during the upcoming weeks. We are trying to strike a balance between flexibility for faculty/staff and being good public health stewards. It is important that we practice and model social distancing, while finding novel ways to meet the needs of our departments/divisions. 

    In the brief time that we have been in remote schooling, we have received feedback from our families about what is working well and what challenges have emerged from this new format. Below are some examples of what we’ve heard so far. Please know that these are being addressed not only by our K-12 faculty generally, but also specifically by each of the three division directors.

    Some clear messages that have emerged are that our students:
    • love being able to connect with their friends;
    • are not used to the amount of daily screen time for work coupled with screen time for leisure;
    • are anxious and scared with the ambiguity and palpable panic around them;
    • appreciate breaks during which they can spend time outside.
    Below are some resources that provide fun activities, tips on addressing students’ social-emotional health, and ways to create new family rituals during the extended campus closure.

    Activities & Movement

    Socio-Emotional Health

    We will continue to send out updates each Tuesday until we return to school. We encourage you to reach out to your division director, your child’s homeroom teacher or advisor, and the support services team if you have questions or comments.  This will give us a more systematic way to collect feedback about you and your child’s experiences. In the interim, we are asking any families who are having specific difficulties with technology or Wi-Fi connectivity to fill out this brief survey: Bush: Technology Needs

    I'll end with another thank you to the families that were able to log on to our online auction for Celebrate Bush and ‘Raise the Paddle’ or bid on items in support of need-based financial aid at Bush. Not only was this year’s format different, but the emotional climate in our city and country has been altered for the foreseeable future. I am so grateful that in a time of urgent need, our families came forward to support our community.  You signaled to our entire community that we are strong in the face of challenges, and together we will get through this. It was a great day to be a Blazer.

    Warmly,
     
    Percy L. Abram
    Head of School
     
  • March 10: Divisional Remote Schedules & Remote School Information

    Upper School

    Dear Bush Upper School Students and Parents/Guardians,

    The Bush Upper School community has proven to be adaptable in the face of change. Students have demonstrated a growth mindset when we shifted the daily schedule, changed from trimesters to semesters, and most recently, started the Cascades program. We now are faced with another opportunity that calls on us to rise up and meet a new challenge together as we shift to the Bush Upper School Remote School Program starting Wednesday, March 11 through Friday, March 27.

    During the Bush Upper School Remote School Program, all classes will shift to an online format, administered by faculty who have been preparing the online platforms that will be used for their classes. This shift to online learning will require all of us to adhere to a set of behaviors that will allow for responsible engagement in a video format. 

    Please click here to access the Bush Upper School Remote School Program Schedule

    Online Learning Protocols
    As classes are being conducted online, please be mindful of the following:
    • Take time today to asses the surroundings in our home environment—ensure that you have a neutral space that is conducive for engaging in online learning
    • Be attentive to your attire
    • Refrain from distracting behaviors (i.e. eating, conversing with others in your home during online class, and any other behaviors that will divert your attention from class)
    • Be punctual—attendance will be taken at the start of each class and advisory meeting
    • When engaging in online discussions, be sure to make room for all students to participate
    • Mute your microphone when you are not speaking or actively participating in the class discussion
    • Position yourself toward a light source that illuminates your face
    Email Expectations
    All students are expected to check their emails multiple times throughout the day. There may be updates from teachers, and/or the school in general.

    Assessments: Academic Honesty and Quizzes, Essays, and Assessments
    We believe in the integrity that each student brings to their schoolwork on a daily basis. Shifting to an online format will require all students to deepen their commitment to completing assessments in a manner that is free of academic dishonesty. The Upper School Handbook policies are still the governing policies regarding all academic work.

    Faculty and Staff Availability
    Faculty and staff will be available via email between 8:00 a.m.- 4:00 p.m. while classes are in session, and will be in communication via email until 6:00 p.m. Remember that all assignments will be posted by 5:00 p.m. each day. It is important that all members of the community—students and adults—are able to take the time needed to ensure their well being. 

    Remote School Program Terms
    The following is a list of terms that are frequently used in talking about curriculum and programming as we transition to remote schooling.

    Remote schooling: The continuation of Bush's academic program when campus is closed and students are working from home.
    Synchronous learning: Students have a common, real-time learning experience, e.g., a live class discussion.
    Asynchronous learning: Students learn the same material at different times, e.g., a demonstration video recorded and shared by a teacher.
    Screencast: An online video of a presenter's screen overlaid with their voice to demonstrate a process or idea.
    Video conference: A conference in which participants in different locations are able to communicate with each other in sound and vision, e.g., Zoom.

    Daily and Weekly Schedule
    • The Upper School Remote School Program Weekly Schedule will be based on the frame of the normal weekly semester schedule. All long blocks will meet synchronously for one hour at the start of the long block period (8:20 a.m., 11:10 a.m., and 1:40 p.m.) on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday.  
    • On Wednesdays, Upper School faculty and staff only will have a division check-in and departmental collaborations from 8:00-9:20 a.m. They will then be available for conference sessions with students during their regularly scheduled short blocks, as needed. The first Wednesday, however, those short classes will meet synchronously. 
    • By 4:00 p.m. Tuesday, March 10, teachers will email all students directly with a plan for their first class meeting on Wednesday, March 11. On this day, classes will meet synchronously so that faculty can walk students through the structure of their online class moving forward. It is essentially a 40-minute class to become oriented to the new technology, answer questions from students about how platforms will be used, and set expectations for classes moving forward.  
    • All faculty will post assignments on the portal regularly by 5:00 p.m. each day. The Community Portal will remain the home base for students. All other platforms utilized will be linked to from the class portal page. 
    • Attendance will continue to be taken through the Community Portal at the start of each block. Attendance will not be taken on Wednesday (with the exception of Wednesday, March 11), as it is opt-in for conference and otherwise independent work.
    • Students can expect to have 1-2 assignments, checkpoints, or assessments per class per week. Students should receive feedback in every class every week.
    • Advisories will meet virtually every Monday and Thursday at 10:00 a.m. 
    • If you are experiencing significant difficulty with remote schooling, please email me at ray.wilson@bush.edu.
    Similar to other high schools, colleges, and universities in our region and around the world, we are all doing our best to respond to the health needs of our community while keeping teaching and learning moving forward. We are also mindful of the impact this change will have on all of us. As we move through these changes, please remain in communication with Kelsey, Sharon, or me if you have any questions or concerns.

    Thanks,

    Ray Wilson
    Upper School Director

    Middle School

    Dear Bush Middle School Families,

    Bush Middle School faculty and staff have been collaborating over the past several days, and are ready to launch our daily program forward into remote schooling starting tomorrow Wednesday, March 11. As we head out into this new frontier, we will rely on relationships and technologies that anchor us on campus in our daily teaching and learning. We know there will be moments along the way that may feel inchoate, we appreciate your flexibility and patience. We also know that there will be amazing discoveries of how our pedagogy and practices can improve even in challenging times. This opportunity to innovate while supporting the greater good will provide learning opportunities for everyone. We look forward to being with you on this journey.

    Please set aside time to read this letter carefully with your child(ren) this evening in preparation for the start of remote schooling tomorrow. Students should take time to collect any questions they might have when reviewing this information with you and be prepared to share these questions during Wednesday morning’s advisory at 9:00 a.m. 

    Later this evening, advisors will contact their advisees via email and the Community Portal to establish the plan for Wednesday, March 11. Students are expected to be online with their advisor at 9:00 a.m., at which time advisors will talk through the schedule and expectations for the week. 

    Remote Schooling Terms
    The following is a list of terms that are frequently used in talking about curriculum and programming as we transition to remote schooling.

    Remote schooling: The continuation of Bush's academic program when campus is closed and students are working from home.
    Synchronous learning: Students have a common, real-time learning experience, e.g., a live class discussion.
    Asynchronous learning: Students learn the same material at different times, e.g., a demonstration video recorded and shared by a teacher.
    Screencast: An online video of a presenter's screen overlaid with their voice to demonstrate a process or idea.
    Video conference: A conference in which participants in different locations are able to communicate with each other in sound and vision, e.g., Zoom.

    Daily and Weekly Schedule
    • Click here to view the Bush Middle School Remote School Program Weekly Schedule. This schedule is a simplified, common schedule that we will use with all three grade levels, and was created based on the developmental needs of middle school-aged children. 
    • Students will begin every day at 9:00 a.m. in advisory.  A later start gives families time to organize a routine, check in with their children, and plan for the day. We will take attendance in advisory. If your child is sick, even if they are able to participate, please email Middle School Administrative Assistant Victoria D’Amelio at victoria.damelio@bush.edu as she continues to track illness and absences. If your student is unable to participate for some other reason, please let us know that as well.
    • Classes will meet regularly on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. On Wednesdays, teachers will offer office hours and conduct phone calls and video conferences with individual students and small groups to support students in their ongoing work. We will also schedule additional synchronous activities for World Language and Opt-in Geometry classes on Wednesday. 
    • For MESH (Math, English, Science, History) classes, there are two sections per grade. Students will meet in these configurations while in remote schooling: 
      • Students in Cohorts: 1-4 (Blazers cohort)
      • Students in Cohorts: 5-8 (Phoenix cohort)
    Online Learning Protocols
    As remote schooling is a new format for our students, we will support students in online ethics and etiquette. Please be mindful of the following:
    • Take time today to assess the surroundings in your home environment. Ensure that you have a neutral space that is conducive for engaging in online learning.
    • Be attentive to your attire.
    • Refrain from distracting behaviors, i.e. eating, conversing with others in your home during online class, and any other behaviors that will divert your attention from class.
    • Be punctual. Attendance will be taken at the start of each morning advisory check-in and online class.
    • When engaging in online discussions, be sure to make room for all students to participate. 
    • Student interactions via social media are governed at all times on and off campus by the school’s Code of Conduct, and the school’s student Computer Network Acceptable Use Policy. (Detailed information about behavior is included in the Middle School Handbook, available here.)
    • Mute your microphone when you are not speaking or actively participating in the class discussion.
    • Position yourself toward a light source that illuminates your face.
    Faculty and Staff Availability
    Faculty and staff will be available via email daily between 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Remember that all assignments will be posted by 5:00 p.m. each day. It is important that all members of the community—students and adults—are able to take the time needed to ensure their well-being. 

    Thank you all for your partnership, flexibility, and trust as we head out on this adventure together. Please be sure to reach out with questions. We are here for you.

    Sincerely,
     
    Jay Franklin
    Middle School Director


    Lower School

    Dear Bush Lower School Families, 

    Lower School teachers have been reaching out to families today and throughout this evening about the next steps as we move into remote schooling together. Although this is a different mode of engagement with your child, please know that our team has been thoughtfully planning so that we can continue your child’s learning, and support your family during this unprecedented event. We are finding moments of joy, creativity, and innovation as we expand our practice of teaching and learning in this new format. We’re diving right in.

    In this letter, you will find useful information for your family with expectations for gathering together as a class during the campus closure. We expect that families may have questions about managing technology, class projects, and other aspects of Bush’s remote schooling program. We have included the contact information for key individuals in the Lower School who can assist you with questions, queries, and clarifications. 

    Attendance
    • On Wednesday, March 11, all students will be asked to log-in to their Google classroom at 12:00-1:00 p.m. to read a Morning Message from their teacher and respond to a Morning Challenge. After the first day of remote schooling, Lower School students will log-in between 8:30-9:30 a.m. daily to read a Morning Message from their teacher and respond to a Morning Challenge. We will use this response to track attendance and reach out to families to confirm absences.
    • If your child is sick, even if they are able to participate, please email Lower School Administrative Assistant Stephanie Riker at stephanie.riker@bush.edu as she continues to track illness and absences. If your child is unable to participate for some other reason, please let us know that as well.
    Daily Activities
    • Each classroom will have daily learning activities posted on Google Classroom.
    • Here is a step-by-step guide to Google Classroom.  
    • If you or your student forget their password, please email Jeffery Adjei directly at jeffery.adjei@bush.edu.
    • If you have questions about learning activities posted on the Google Classroom page, please email your homeroom teachers.
    • All of the specialist teachers are sharing their learning activities on the Google classroom page on the same day your student would normally have a special.  All specialist teachers are also available by email to answer any questions that arise.
    Parent/Guardian-Teacher Conferences
     
    Now that we have moved into remote schooling, we are not hosting face-to-face conferences.  Instead, your homeroom teacher will call or video conference with you for a 15-minute check-in on either Thursday, March 19 or Friday, March 20 (during your previously scheduled conference time). Teachers will be in touch with more information regarding those meetings next week. Please contact the Lower School Office as questions, challenges or schedule changes arise. 

    As we navigate this unprecedented event together, we all stand ready to partner with you and move your child’s learning forward. Here are resources from Common Sense Media on ways families can manage media and support learning in a time of a campus closure. Thank you for joining us with flexibility, courage, and patience.
     
    Warmly, 
    Aliya Virani
    Lower School Director 
  • March 10: Support Services Information

    Dear Bush Families, 
     
    As The Bush School shifts to the Remote School Program, the K-12 Support Services Department’s goal is to continue to support all students during this unique experience.   
     
    In times like these, it is normal to feel a sense of worry or concern about how things may unfold. Below are suggested ways to manage this uncertainty:
    • Listen to, acknowledge, and accept each other's feelings of not being in control
    • Make sure they understand your answers and the meaning you intend
    • Use words or phrases that won’t confuse or make the world more frightening
    • Create opportunities to talk about what’s happening and how you are feeling
    • Give an honest explanation and accurate information about this experience
    • Be especially loving and supportive; we need each other at this time
    • Let the school help! The school’s resources continue to be accessible (please refer to the links below)
    Counselors and Learning Specialists will be available via email and phone during their regularly scheduled work hours. We will also be able to schedule online video conferencing as needed throughout the school day. If you wish to reach any of us by phone, direct numbers, and office hours will remain the same. Please click on the name of the person below if you would like to schedule a meeting:
     
    Lower School Counselor Leah Brown    
    Monday - Friday: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
     
    Lower School Director Aliya Virani
    Contact for Lower School Support Services - Learning Specialist
    Please call 206-326-7738. 
     
    Middle School Learning Specialist Betsy Wandasiewicz          
    Monday - Friday: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
     
    Middle School Counselor Gayle Gingold                                
    Monday - Friday: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
     
    Upper School Counselor John Ganz                                        
    Tuesday - Friday: 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
     
    Upper School Counselor Maria Mathiesen                        
    Monday - Thursday: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
     
    Upper School Learning Specialist Sara Carter    
    Monday, Tuesday, Thursday: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
    Wednesday: 12 to 4 p.m.
     
    Upper School Learning Specialist Sloan Chong
    Monday, Wednesday, Friday: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. 
    Tuesday: 12 to 4 p.m.
     
    Our commitment to your students’ emotional and learning needs remains our top priority. Please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions or concerns. 
     
    Sincerely, 
    The Bush Support Services Team
     
  • March 9: Messages from Divisional Directors

    The following letters from division directors to families include information on The Bush School's transition into remote schooling, technology, and daily schedules. 

    A Message from the Upper School Director
    A Message from the Middle School Director
    A Message from the Lower School Director

     
  • March 8: Important Update - Extended Campus Closure March 11-27

    Dear Bush Community, 
     
    Over the past two weeks, The Bush School’s Preparedness Team has met and deliberated about our response to the ongoing health emergency facing Seattle, King County, and the state of Washington. Our hearts go out to the families that have been directly impacted by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). I am acutely aware that those numbers will increase exponentially in the coming weeks.
     
    As educators and school leaders, our work is to focus on what is best for our students, faculty, staff, and community. We have consulted with medical professionals and public health administrators, both within our community and at large. And we’ve been in regular contact with administrators at other local schools about their plans for the upcoming weeks.
     
    Although Bush does not have a confirmed case of COVID-19, our team has decided to close campus to students and families. There will be no classes on Monday, March 9 or Tuesday, March 10, and remote schooling will begin on Wednesday, March 11 through Friday, March 27. Please review the schedule for the extended closure plan below. 
     
    This decision was made with careful consideration for the health and safety of our students and employees, and in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. Based on the information we have available, we believe that this is a critical moment in the outbreak, and this closure could impact the spread of the disease.
     
    The Bush School - Extended Closure Plan
    The Bush School campus will remain closed to students and families until Friday, March 27. We will re-evaluate the school’s status and will communicate any change to this status by March 20. The campus will be open briefly on Tuesday, March 10, for students and parents/guardians to pick up school supplies, check out laptops if necessary, and clean out lockers in preparation for an extended school closure.
     
    Monday, March 9: The campus is closed to students and families. Faculty will participate in professional development focused on remote schooling.
     
    Tuesday, March 10: No classes. This is an on-campus faculty work day to prepare for remote schooling. Campus is open for students (and parents/guardians) to pick up school supplies,  books, and clean out lockers and cubbies. Students with additional technology needs for remote schooling should fill out this form as soon as possible  and then stop by the Commons to pick-up requested technology on Tuesday.
     
    Schedule for Students on Campus (Tuesday, March 10)
    In order to manage the number of people on campus at once, we ask that students and/or guardians come to campus briefly on Tuesday at the designated time to collect student belongings. These times are organized according to last name.

    • 8:30-9:00 a.m. (A-G)
    • 9:30-10:00 a.m. (H-N)
    • 10:30-11:00 a.m. (O-S)
    • 11:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m. (T-Z)

    Wednesday, March 11- Friday, March 27:
     Campus is closed to students and families. Classes will be taught using remote schooling.
     
    Friday, March 20: The school will communicate on or before Friday, March 20 if the campus will remain closed beyond Friday, March 27. In the event that the campus remains closed beyond March 27, the soonest the campus would re-open is April 20.
     
    Bush administrators, faculty, and staff will be accessible through email. Contact information is listed on the faculty and staff directories on the Community Portal. All athletics (practices and games), arts (rehearsals and performances), and club activities are canceled through Friday, March 27. We recognize that this will be deeply disappointing to students who have been working hard to prepare for their seasons and performances, but we must prioritize their long-term health and safety. We will update everyone about the reopening of the athletics and arts programs as soon as any new information becomes available.
     
    Throughout the closure, the facilities team will continue to do a deep clean of campus, supporting a healthy and clean campus for when students return. Families will also receive regular email communications from the school with new and updated information. These updates will also be posted on The Bush School Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information webpage.
     
    In the upcoming week, Lower School Director Aliya Virani, Middle School Director Jay Franklin, and Upper School Director Ray Wilson will send out a communication about schedules, course explanations, and expectations, including attendance procedures and guidelines for the student work environment, during the weeks of remote schooling.
     
    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 illness are 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 I have had to make since arriving at Bush. I know it is difficult 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 limit exposure to video news sources, find only certain times in the day when you are checking social media, and use this as an opportunity to eat meals together, play cards, read a book as a family, and share stories of hope 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.
     
    Sincerely,

    Percy L. Abram
    Head of School
  • March 6: COVID-19 Preparedness & Planning

    Dear Bush Community,

    I am writing with updates on The Bush School’s response to the COVID-19 health outbreak that will affect daily life at school. Please take time to read this information carefully. I also want to direct you to the new outward facing web page Bush Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information which will serve as an online hub for updates and information. 

    In preparation for a campus closure with remote schooling for students, The Bush School will close campus for students on Monday, March 9. Teachers will use this day for professional development focused on preparation for possible remote schooling. It is our intention to open the campus for classes on Tuesday, March 10. 

    We appreciate your patience and understanding as we navigate together this unique and rapidly changing series of events that have had an unprecedented impact on our school, the city, and the region. Please contact safety@bush.edu if you have any clarifying questions.

    As many of you may have read, on March 4, local public health officials announced new recommendations for King County residents with the intent of reducing the risk of exposure to COVID-19. March 4 COVID-19 Update and Recommendations for  Public Health for Seattle and King County (PHSKC). Some of the recommendations will markedly impact life at The Bush School, while others—because we are a school—call for only slight modifications.

    Based on the criteria outlined by public health officials, there is no recommendation that The Bush School close at this time. As a school, we have a responsibility to do our part in supporting efforts to minimize the contagion. This is a public health emergency that compels us to respond to recommendations of our public health officials in the interest of the greater good. The Bush School would make the decision to begin remote schooling if we had concerns about a rising infection burden in the community, or if there is a documented or strongly suspected case at Bush. 

    County officials have stated, "The reason we are not recommending school closures at this time is because children have not been shown to be a high risk group for serious illness from this virus. As much as possible, children should be allowed to carry on with their education and normal activities."

    As a precaution, this weekend, the Bush facilities team will undertake an industrial deep-cleaning of our K-12 campus, including technology hardware, P.E. equipment, and all school vehicles.

    Changes and Cancelations - School Events and Programming
    In following the current recommendations to both reduce large group gatherings, while also keeping schools open, The Bush School will prioritize programming and meetings that support essential teaching and learning and will cancel large group events through March. 

    Below, please find an updated list of changes and cancelations to upcoming school events and activities. We will re-evaluate our schedule for events, large gatherings, and off-campus field trips that take place after March 31, and will update the community accordingly. This is a rapidly evolving situation, and we will update you as things change. If you have a question about an event that may be impacted, please email your child’s division director.

    March Event Cancelations and Changes
    Listed below are the event cancelations and changes for the month of March. Criteria for Families Association, Board, division, and staff meetings are included in the meetings section below. If there are events that we did not capture on this list, please reach out to communications@bush.edu 
    • All class meetings and divisional assemblies (e.g. Lower School Friday Morning Meeting, Middle School Assembly, Upper School Forum and Monday Morning Meeting) are suspended through the end of March
    • All K-12 off campus field trips have been canceled and Middle School E-lectives with off campus activities will be modified through the end of March.
    • All international trips, including Middle School E-Weeks to India, Morocco, and Costa Rica have been canceled.
    • All Admissions Decision Week events are canceled
    • March 4: Canceled - Lower School Choir Performance
    • March 6: Canceled - Lower School Dance Party
    • March 6: Canceled - Upper School Forum
    • March 6: Canceled - Lower School Friday Morning Meeting
    • Through the end of season: Canceled -  Middle School Ski Bus 
    • March 7: Canceled - Kindergarten/Class of 2032 Parent Potluck
    • March 11: Postponed - Twelfth Grade Parent/Guardian Meeting
    • March 13: Postponed - Eighth Grade EIP Expo Fair
    • March 14: Canceled - the Celebrate Bush gathering, and the school will host an online auction on March 14 in support of financial aid. 
    • March 24: Canceled - Forefront Suicide Training Session
    • March 26: Canceled - Faculty/Staff Appreciation Luncheon
    • March 26: Canceled - Lower School Family Maker Night
    • March 26: Canceled - Upper School Round Table with Ray
    • March 27: Canceled - Forefront Day of Hope (off campus)
    • March 27: Canceled - Trustee Visit Day and Former Board of Trustee President’s Lunch
    • March 27: Canceled - Middle School Dance
    • March 28: Canceled - Upper School Dance 

    Parent/Guardian-Teacher Conferences
    K-12 Parent/Guardian-Teacher Conferences will take place as scheduled. These conferences are an important part of our core academic experience for students and families and comply with PHSKC recommendations for gatherings.  

    The Bush School Policy for School Attendance
    We ask that students exhibiting any signs of illness remain at home, following the CDC and PHSKC guidelines. Student absences during this time will be treated as excused absences. As a reminder, please call your child’s division assistant to notify them of daily absences, including information if the absence is due to illness. The school will work with students who miss class due to illness, and students will be given adequate time to make up missed assignments. 

    In the Upper School, the rules in the Handbook regarding student attendance will be suspended during these upcoming weeks. Faculty recognize that these are unique circumstances and will work with families on a case-by-case basis to ensure that ample time is afforded for students to turn in assignments and finish class assessments.

    As always, the school will also work with students who need or request an extended absence due to self-quarantine or illness concerns. In following the PHSKC recommendations, students with higher risk of severe illness should stay home and away from large groups, especially students with underlying health conditions or weakened immune systems. 

    Please contact your child’s division director if you anticipate your child will be gone for an extended period of time.

    Field Trips, E-lectives, and International and Domestic Travel
    All off-campus K-12 field trips are canceled and Middle School E-lective activities will be modified between now and the end of March. The Bush School has canceled all international travel through the end of the school year, which includes Middle School E-weeks to Morocco, India, and Costa Rica. Middle School Division Director Jay Franklin will communicate directly to families with children enrolled on these trips about next steps and contingency plans.

    As of this writing, all domestic travel trips will continue as scheduled, including Middle School E-week, Upper School Cascades, and the Fifth Grade trip to Washington D.C. We will continue to monitor CDC recommendations for travel, making decisions that prioritize student health and safety. Information and updates will be communicated directly to families with children enrolled on these trips.

    Travel Plans
    Self-Quarantine
    Please note that the CDC has issued new recommendations for travelers who have traveled to Level 3 Travel Notice Countries. The revised recommendation asks travelers to stay at home for 14 days from the time you left an area and to practice social distancing.

    Athletics
    The Bush School will continue to run scheduled athletic practices and will update families based on recommendations provided by the local health officials, the Emerald City League/Cross Town Middle School League, and the WIAA. Practices for Upper School teams will take place on Monday, March 9.

    On-Campus Meetings
    The March Board meeting and all Board Committee meetings through the end of March will take place via videoconferencing (Zoom, Go-to-Meeting, Facetime, etc.). 

    Families Association meetings with over 10 people will take place via videoconferencing (Zoom, Go-to-Meeting, Facetime, etc.). Parent volunteers leading the meetings will send out an update prior to the meeting to confirm if the meeting will occur on campus or over video conference. 

    We will continue to hold faculty meetings, division meetings, and department meetings on campus in order to plan for and organize our essential work. We will work in smaller groups with a videoconference option.

    If you have meetings scheduled, and need support in setting up a teleconference function, please email help@bush.edu.

    Commons Safety Precautions
    The Bush School is working closely with Sage to ensure a healthy and safe environment for continued food service. Sage follows health and safety guidelines for food service and has made additional adjustments based on recommendations put forward by public health officials. 

    Some of these additional measures include:
    • Maintaining vigorous 15-minute cleaning schedules on high use areas; 
    • Replacing open-serve sandwich and salad bar with pre-wrapped sandwiches and grab-and-go salads;
    • Removing all shared condiments and replacing with individual condiments;
    • Storing all plates behind the counter for food to be served by someone behind the cover;
    • Reminding staff members not to touch their faces during prep or service;
    • Partnering with the facilities team to thoroughly clean all surfaces in the dining area.

    The school believes that our plan aligns with current health agencies’ recommendations and precautions for keeping the community safe. We know that families will make individual decisions for their children based on their comfort level and values that may differ from the ones set out in this communication, and we will honor those decisions.

    Thank you all for your support during these confusing and trying days. I know that you and your children are experiencing a range of emotions and feelings right now, and hope that our community can provide comfort and solace to you during this time. 

    We are all in this together.

    Warmly, 

    Percy L. Abram
    Head of School
     
  • March 6: Important Information about Celebrate Bush

    Dear Bush Community, 

    Following the recent recommendations from Public Health Seattle and King County (PHSKC), The Bush School has made the decision to cancel Catch a Wave Celebrate Bush, scheduled to take place at Fremont Studios on Saturday, March 14, 2020. 

     
    While we are all disappointed to miss this opportunity to come together, the need for financial aid support remains real and urgent. Celebrate Bush was poised to raise 10%, or $400,000, of this year’s financial aid budget.  

    Celebrate Bush is now being transformed into an online event, and we need your help! 



    We are so grateful to all Celebrate Bush sponsors, ticket purchasers, buy-in participants, and donors who have already launched us towards success. With this support, we have already raised $142,000 and counting toward the event’s fundraising goal. Thank you!

    We believe in the strength and commitment of our community. It is our resilience and flexibility that will keep the momentum going to raise funds for need-based financial aid. 

    We are especially grateful to the Celebrate Bush Planning Committee led by Chair Gretchen Boehm, the Development Committee led by Emily Alhadeff, the Development team, especially Event Manager Amelia Kramer, and the Board of Trustees, for their leadership throughout.

    Thank you for your understanding and support. Stay tuned for more news and information. In the meantime, if you have any questions, please contact me or Amelia Kramer.

    With gratitude,
    Sharon Hurt
    Director of Development
    sharon.hurt@bush.edu
  • March 3: COVID-19 Preparedness & Planning

    Dear Bush Families,

    We are writing to share updates and resources with you as we continue to monitor and plan for the implications of the COVID-19 outbreak. The Bush School’s Preparedness Team will continue to meet regularly to assess risks to our students and community. We will send an update each week, on Tuesdays, and more frequently, if needed, as the circumstances surrounding the spread of the novel coronavirus evolve. All communications from the school about the COVID-19 health outbreak will also be posted on the Health Update Resource Tile on the Community Portal.

    Please set aside time to read this communication as it holds important information about the school’s current preparedness and planning regarding the COVID-19 health outbreak. 

    What We Know
    As of this writing, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) has identified 115 confirmed cases in the United States with nine deaths, all in western Washington. The school’s proximity to the area where the deaths occured requires a heightened sensitivity as well as greater vigilance. As educators, our top priority is to provide a healthy and safe educational environment for our students, staff, and families. 

    The Bush School is actively monitoring information and updates from Public Health - Seattle and King County (PHSKC)Washington State Department of Health (WSDOH), and The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as well as consulting with local physicians and health care providers directly involved in the city’s response to COVID-19. In addition, The Bush School is also following the CDC recommendations for K-12 schools, which can be found here: CDC Interim Guidance for Administrators of US Childcare Programs and K-12 Schools to Plan, Prepare, and Respond to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).

    Since Washington State and King and Snohomish Counties have the most confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States and the only reported deaths in the country, our situation is unique to our peer schools throughout the country.

    Health Warning
    If you or a family member has been diagnosed with or been exposed to the COVID-19 virus, please contact your physician, the Washington State Department of Health (WSDOH) at (800) 525-0127, and Public Health - Seattle and King County (PHSKC) at (206) 477-3977. If any member of your family has come in contact with a facility or personnel working in or connected to any of the local affected areas and you are demonstrating symptoms of the flu, we ask that you not attend school and report your symptoms and exposure risk to the agencies listed above, and inform the school based on the recommendation of the agency and your physician at safety@bush.edu

    If you believe that you have been exposed but are asymptomatic, please consult your physician for guidance about the appropriateness of returning to school.

    Current Protocols 
    Cleaning Campus and Health Information Signage
    Our facilities team is cleaning classrooms, bathrooms, the Commons, and shared spaces nightly, with a specific focus on doorknobs and levers, light switches, faucet handles, bathroom partition handles, work surfaces, student desks, classroom tables, teacher desks, keyboards and mice, phones, and fitness center equipment. In addition to enhanced cleaning/disinfecting measures throughout the school, this weekend the school will undergo an industrial deep-cleaning of our campus, including technology hardware, P.E. equipment, and all school vehicles.

    Throughout campus, the school has placed age-appropriate signage with information on proper hygiene and how to avoid germ transmission, following the list of CDC recommendations for K-12 schools on common sense preventative actions for students and staff.

    Health Safety Protocols
    Students, faculty, and staff have been reminded about health-safety protocols for preventing the spread of germs, as well as a reminder that if they are sick, especially with a fever, signs of cough, flu or pneumonia, shortness of breath, or other respiratory conditions that could be contagious, to stay home and seek immediate medical attention. 

    Absences
    Please remember to call or email the appropriate division office if your child will not be at school, including information if the absence is due to illness. In following the CDC recommendation, the school has established an information sharing system to monitor, review,  and plan for absenteeism for students, faculty, and staff. 

    For student attendance, we will use the following criteria to inform school closures:
    • 10% of the student body is absent (The school will call WSDOH and PHSKC.)
    • 15% of the student body is absent (The school will call WSDOH and PHSKC, and send out a school-wide communication to families.)
    • 20% of the student body is absent (The school will call WSDOH and PHSKC, and send out a school-wide communication to families informing them of a school closure.)
    This week, the school’s average daily attendance has been 96%. 

    School Closure
    There are several factors that Bush will use to determine whether a school closure is necessary, and this plan may change over time per the recommendations from WSDOH and PHKCS and other agencies. The Bush School will not align with the Seattle Public Schools (SPS) unless those decisions are tied to public health recommendations, or unless SPS closes the entire district. I have reached out to the Northwest Association of Independent (NWAIS) regarding school hour requirements and the potential for a waiver of those requirements given the unique circumstances of the health outbreak.

    Extended Closure Plan
    This week, the department chairs and faculty will focus on the school’s Extended Closure Plan, refining the model for remote schooling. In keeping with the school’s mission and commitment to support the Bush community, the model of remote schooling has the following aim:
    1. Move forward the learning goals of the class;
    2. Include varied, fun, creative, and kinesthetic activities;
    3. Simulate an interactive class setting;
    4. Be sustainable and support remote work for faculty and students;
    5. Support families as they navigate challenges that arise with work schedules and childcare.
    As you begin to prepare for the possibility of your children learning from home, students should anticipate the following daily instructional/work time ranges:

    Lower School:               1-2 hours
    Middle School:              3-4 hours
    Upper School:               5-6 hours 

    Technology Planning 
    In preparation for the school’s Extended Closure Plan, families of K-12 students are asked to assess their home technology resources, including access to Wi-Fi and devices. Students, faculty, and staff should also make sure they are taking their laptop or device to and from school each day and on the weekends “in their backpack” in case of an extended closure. 

    In assessing home technology access for remote schooling, please consider any technology usage disruptions that might arise from multiple family members needing access to technological resources at the same time.  

    In the event of an extended closure, K-12 students will need the following resources at home:
    • High-Speed Internet: High-speed internet (such as CenturyLink or Xfinity) that will support several devices, allowing for smooth, high-quality video streaming. This does NOT include devices that rely solely on cellular service for internet connectivity
    • Internet-Connected Device with Physical Keyboard: This includes a laptop, desktop, Surface, Chromebook, or iPad with a physical keyboard.
    Please complete the Bush Home Technology Form if you need additional technology resources at home to support remote schooling. Director of Technology Ethan Delavan will work with families to support at-home technology needs for remote schooling. 

    School-Related Travel
    Presently, there are no additional changes to trips scheduled for Middle School E-week, Upper School Cascades, or the Fifth Grade trip to Washington D.C. The school will continue to monitor CDC recommendations for travel, making decisions that prioritize student health and safety and communicating updates to families with students enrolled on these trips. 

    Other Bush travel—including domestic group trips and field trips—are currently moving ahead as planned. If, in evaluating the latest information, the school determines that changes and/or cancellations to programs are necessary, an update will be sent out to the community. 

    Family Travel and Trips
    Many Bush families travel regularly and/or may have plans to travel over Spring Break. The Bush School will be following the travel recommendations put forward by the CDC. For any families with upcoming travel, the school recommends reviewing CDC Travel Frequently Asked Questions and Answers. The Bush School asks that you follow the guidelines below if you are traveling internationally in coming weeks:
    • Consult the CDC’s latest travel advisories and country-specific risk classification levels prior to travel.
    • Consult the CDC again for updated information upon your return, as the situation is rapidly evolving.
    • If any member of your family plans to travel to one of the countries classified by the CDC as Level 2 or Level 3, you must inform the school by contacting your child’s division director or emailing safety@bush.edu.
    • If any member of your family travels to one of the countries classified by the CDC as Level 2 or Level 3, and returns demonstrating symptoms of the flu, we ask that you not attend school and report your symptoms and exposure risk to the agencies listed above, and inform the school based on the recommendation of the agency and your physician at safety@bush.edu. If you return and are asymptomatic, please consult your physician for guidance about the appropriateness of returning to school.
    We respectfully request that families carefully consider travel plans, the possibility of travel interruptions and/or quarantine, and the potential impacts of these on you, your family, and others in the Bush community.

    Community Events
    The Bush School will be following the recommendations of PHSKC for hosting Bush community events (athletics, arts, Families Association). At this time, PHSKC does not recommend the cancellation of activities or larger gatherings. We will update the community if there are any changes to these recommendations. 

    Thank you for your attention to this and all future communications on this issue. Please be assured that the health and wellness of our community is our top priority, and that we are prepared to adjust our operations in response to the public health situation. If you have any questions, I encourage you to email safety@bush.edu or reach out to me or your division director.

    Sincerely,

    Percy L. Abram
    Head of School
  • February 28: Health Update: Coronavirus Information and Planning

     
     Dear Bush Community,
     
    The health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff is our top priority, and I am writing to share information about The Bush School’s preparedness measures and planning regarding health risks associated with the Coronavirus (COVID-19). 
     
    The Bush School is actively monitoring information and updates from Public Health - Seattle and King County (PHSKC) and Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) about COVID-19.  As a next step, we want to share with you The Bush School’s preparedness measures and planning to date. While the CDC advises that the risk is currently low and there is no concern of a specific exposure risk at The Bush School, we are taking this health threat very seriously. Contingency planning is underway with the school’s Preparedness Team, using information and guidance from local, state, and federal health agencies.
     
    As this is an evolving situation, the school has created a Health Update Resource Tile on the Community Portal where you can continue to access all information and updates regarding the school’s preparedness and planning for the COVID-19 outbreak. 
     
    Health and Safety
    We are asking for your partnership in keeping our school healthy. 
     
    As part of this effort, we want to emphasize the following strategies to prevent the spread of respiratory viruses (including the flu and COVID-19):
    • Be mindful of good hygiene. Frequent and thorough handwashing, covering coughs and sneezes, and avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth are the best preventative measures. Adults washing hands are good role models for young people.
    • If you are sick, especially if you have a fever, show signs of cough, flu or pneumonia, shortness of breath, or other respiratory conditions that could be contagious, stay home and seek immediate medical attention. 
    • If you have been diagnosed with, have been exposed to, or have restrictions from your medical provider related to COVID-19 or other communicable diseases, please contact safety@bush.edu or call (206) 326-7733.
    At this time, the school will be taking additional steps to promote the recommended strategies for preventing the spread of respiratory viruses including:

    Health Information Signage: Additional signage will be posted around campus including reminders about hand washing, sneezing etiquette, and reminders about staying home when feeling sick to support a healthy school environment.
    Hand Sanitizer: Additional hand sanitizers will be placed in strategic areas around campus to support access to cleaner, safer care.
    Routine Environmental Cleaning: The school will follow routine daily environmental cleaning on campus with an increased focus on cleaning surfaces and high use areas. The school will continue to follow the recommendations put forward by the CDC regarding cleaning to ensure a safe, healthy environment. 

    The Bush School - Preparedness Team
    The Bush School Preparedness Team includes all members of the school’s Administrative Group. The Preparedness Team has been meeting overtime to discuss general preparedness and response related to emergency situations that may impact general school operations, such as severe weather, earthquakes, or a health outbreak. In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, the team will meet weekly (or more frequently as needed) monitoring the PHSKC and CDC recommendations, and reviewing measures in place to ensure health and safety, continuity planning for teaching and learning in the event of an extended closure, trips and travel, communication, supporting students during times of uncertainty, and preventing bias.
     
    Extended Closure Plan
    In the case of a major event or extreme weather, it may be necessary to change school operation schedules and/or close for two or more days. The Academic Council, as part of the school’s Preparedness Team, oversees the school’s Extended Closure Plan to continue teaching and learning in the event of an extended closure. Our objective during an extended closure is to move forward learning goals and create a remote school experience. 
     
    In the event of an extended closure, students, families, and faculty/staff will be informed via email message, the school website, and social media. If school closes for two or more days, faculty will use the Bush Community Portal and email to share learning activities directly with students and families. To support ongoing teaching and learning, faculty will engage platforms and technology currently in use at Bush such as the Community Portal, Schoology, Google Classroom, and Zoom.
     
    Trips and Travel 
    With Bush’s spring break only six weeks away, the school will be developing guidelines for families for their personal travel. If any member of your family plans to travel from now forward to the restricted zones as determined by the CDC, you must inform the school by contacting your child’s division director.
     
    The Spring Cascades China trip, which was originally scheduled to take place in May 2020, was cancelled earlier this winter due to CDC recommendations to avoid all non-essential travel to China. A communication was sent to faculty/staff and families of students participating on this trip.
     
    At this time, there are no additional changes to trips scheduled for Middle School E-week, Upper School Cascades, or the Fifth Grade trip to Washington D.C. The school will continue to monitor CDC recommendations for travel, making decisions that prioritize student health and safety. Information and updates will be communicated directly to families with children enrolled on these trips. 
     
    Supporting Children in Times of Uncertainty
    Seeing and hearing about local and world events, such as the outbreak of COVID-19, may cause children to experience stress, anxiety, and fears. As a K-12 community, we hope that you will find the following resources helpful in supporting children during a time of uncertainty:
    Discrimination and Bias Incidents
    As part of the coronavirus outbreak, there have been reports from around the world about an increase in xenophobia and anti-Asian discrimination. As a school community that values diversity, equity, and inclusion, these types of discrimination and profiling have no place in our community. Please reach out to me directly if you should hear of or feel you are a target of any of these behaviors.
     
    Comments or questions
    Please send all comments or questions regarding preparedness measures and planning directly to safety@bush.edu
     
    We will continue to prepare for the possible impact of this outbreak on our community. We will also continue to come together to learn, grow, celebrate, compete, and perform. As we all work toward creating a healthy and safe community, please remember that it is important for students to stay home if they are sick and to wash their hands routinely before coming to and while on campus. Together we can all make a difference. 
     
    Sincerely,
     
    Percy L. Abram
    Head of School


Healthy Community Habits

  • If you are sick, stay home and seek medical attention.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, then throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands.
  • Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces.


FAQ's

List of 3 items.

  • What is coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)? How does it spread? And how can I protect myself?

    The following FAQ’s about COVID-19 are provided by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Click here to print out a copy of these FAQ’s from the CDC about COVID-19 for your classroom or home.

    What is coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)?
    Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. The virus that causes COVID-19 is a novel coronavirus that was first identified during an investigation into an outbreak in Wuhan, China.

    How many cases of COVID-19 are in the U.S.?
    The current count of cases of COVID-19 in the United States is available on CDC’s webpage at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/cases-in-us.html.

    How does COVID-19 spread?
    The virus that causes COVID-19 probably emerged from an animal source, but is now spreading from person to person. The virus is thought to spread mainly between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet) through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It also may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads. Learn what is known about the spread of newly emerged coronaviruses at https://www.cdc.gov/ coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/transmission.html.

    What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
    Patients with COVID-19 have had mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of
    • fever
    • cough
    • shortness of breath
    What are severe complications from this virus?
    Some patients have pneumonia in both lungs, multi-organ failure and in some cases death.

    How can I help protect myself?
    People can help protect themselves from respiratory illness with everyday preventive actions.
    • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
    • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available. If you are sick, to keep from spreading respiratory illness to others, you should
    • Stay home when you are sick.
    • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
    • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

    What should I do if I recently traveled from an area with ongoing spread of COVID-19?
    If you have traveled from an affected area, there may be restrictions on your movements for up to 2 weeks. If you develop symptoms during that period (fever, cough, trouble breathing), seek medical advice. Call the office of your health care provider before you go, and tell them about your travel and your symptoms. They will give you instructions on how to get care without exposing other people to your illness. While sick, avoid contact with people, don’t go out and delay any travel to reduce the possibility of spreading illness to others.

    Is there a vaccine?
    There is currently no vaccine to protect against COVID-19. The best way to prevent infection is to take everyday preventive actions, like avoiding close contact with people who are sick and washing your hands often.

    Is there a treatment?
    There is no specific antiviral treatment for COVID-19. People with COVID-19 can seek medical care to help relieve symptoms.
  • What do I do if I (or someone in my family) is diagnosed with COVID-19?

    If you or a family member has been diagnosed with or been exposed to the COVID-19 virus, please contact your physician, the Washington State Department of Health (WSDOH) at (800) 525-0127, and Public Health - Seattle and King County (PHSKC) at (206) 477-3977. If any member of your family has come in contact with a facility or personnel working in or connected to any of the local affected areas and you are demonstrating symptoms of the flu, we ask that you not attend school and report your symptoms and exposure risk to the agencies listed above, and inform the school based on the recommendation of the agency and your physician at safety@bush.edu.
    If you believe that you have been exposed but are asymptomatic, please consult your physician for guidance about the appropriateness of returning to school.
     
  • If we travel for spring break or travel regularly, do we need to inform the school?

    Many Bush families travel regularly and/or may have plans to travel over Spring Break. The Bush School will be following the travel recommendations put forward by the CDC. For any families with upcoming travel, the school recommends reviewing CDC Travel Frequently Asked Questions and Answers. The Bush School asks that you follow the guidelines below if you are traveling internationally in coming weeks:

    • Consult the CDC’s latest travel advisories and country-specific risk classification levels prior to travel
    • Consult the CDC again for updated information upon your return, as the situation is rapidly evolving.
    • If any member of your family plans to travel to one of the countries classified by the CDC as Level 2 or Level 3, you must inform the school by contacting your child’s division director or emailing safety@bush.edu.
    • If any member of your family travels to one of the countries classified by the CDC as Level 2 or Level 3, and returns demonstrating symptoms of the flu, we ask that you not attend school and report your symptoms and exposure risk to the agencies listed above, and inform the school based on the recommendation of the agency and your physician at safety@bush.edu. If you return and are asymptomatic, please consult your physician for guidance about the appropriateness of returning to school.
    • We respectfully request that families carefully consider travel plans, the possibility of travel interruptions and/or quarantine, and the potential impacts of these on you, your family, and others in the Bush community.


Percy's Parenting Resources

The following resources, focusing on wellness, movement and activities, parenting and education, and arts and culture, have been collected by Head of School Percy L. Abram and shared with Bush parents during the COVID-19 health emergency.

Wellness & Movement
Ready To Dance? Follow D-Nice on Instagram for details on his latest House Party Event

Parenting & Education
Arts & Culture
Seattle Symphony Morning Notes - Each morning a different Seattle Symphony musician shares a little music to brighten your day. (Seattle Symphony)
Calling All Young Writers! Enter Seattle’s Child Kid’s Poetry Contest! (Seattle’s Child)
Shakespeare's Globe: MacBeth 2020 for Young Audiences (The Shakespeare Globe Trust)
Watch Revelations part of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s 
Alvin All Access series including Lincoln Center online learning guides related to Revelations for children, teens, and adults (Alvin Alley/Lincoln Center)
The National Theatre is going to stream a free play every Thursday night.
Virtual Concerts, Plays, Museums, Tours, and Other Culture You Can Enjoy From Home
(CNN)

 
 

 
 

Supporting Children and Preventing Bias

Seeing and hearing about local and world events, such as the outbreak of COVID-19, may cause children to experience stress, anxiety, and fears. As a K-12 community, we hope that you will find the following resources helpful in supporting children during a time of uncertainty:

How to Talk to Children About the News & COVID-19 As part of the coronavirus outbreak, there have been reports from around the world about an increase in xenophobia and anti-Asian discrimination. As a school community that values diversity, equity, and inclusion, these types of discrimination and profiling have no place in our community. Please reach out to Head of School Percy L. Abram or a division director directly if you should hear of or feel you are a target of any of these behaviors. 

Anti-Bias Resources