Dear Bush Community,
This time of year is typically met with the anticipation of enjoying time with extended family members, honoring old traditions and making new ones, and taking stock of the year about to end. While we certainly have much for which to be grateful, the sun will begin its early descent, holiday gatherings will look different, and we must confront the prospect that we will not see family and friends until well into the new year. Those realities are out of our control; however, we can commit to taking care of ourselves and others.
Lisa Damour’s podcast “Ask Lisa” shares tips for How to Parent When You Feel Like Drowning.
One tip Lisa discusses with her co-host journalist Reena Nina is to set aside breaks in order to help with mental health. This gives people something to look forward to, and is important for parents, students, and our faculty. Throughout COVID-19, our teachers have done a remarkable job adjusting to this mode of instruction while keeping your children engaged. However, the work with our students, both on-campus and remote, the prospect of returning to campus for work during COVID-19, and the blurred lines between family time and work hours have left many of our faculty feeling depleted. Bush’s founder, Helen Bush, famously stated, “The most important factor in any school is the teacher.” That is as true now as ever.
Since faculty are not on campus together with regular breaks built into the day, they have been unable to collaborate with colleagues and work on their own professional growth. As such, we will be building in professional development days for faculty in the months ahead to do just that. This will provide space to recharge in order to sustain their high level of attention to your children. Our faculty is our most precious resource, and I am committed to providing an environment in which they will not only be able to survive, but more importantly to thrive. Their physical and mental health depends on it.Committing to our Community’s Health
This year, the opportunity to attend school each day on campus comes with tremendous responsibility. Our faculty and staff take this responsibility seriously, and it is essential that each member of our community makes decisions, in and outside of Bush, that prioritize the health and safety of our community. In the NYTimes article
I previously shared in this newsletter on September 22, pediatrician and writer Dr. Aaron Carroll notes, “If kids are going to take on more risk at school, they should find ways to be even safer outside of it.” For all of us coming onto campus, it is our responsibility to minimize high-risk activities outside of school.
This school year, our success depends heavily on families following the guidelines and directives of state and local health officials when not at school. Each of us needs to do our part to keep our community safe. As part of their own commitment to keeping their students as safe as possible, faculty and staff have sacrificed travel, cancelled plans to see families and friends, and greatly altered their day-to-day routines. It is through our collective commitment that we will be best able to mitigate risk for our students, faculty, staff, and the entire Bush community. Fifth Grade and Sixth Grade Orientation
We will continue to monitor the case counts in Seattle and King County to determine the appropriate time to bring more students back to campus for orientation and/or on-campus schooling. At this point, King County Seattle Public Health is recommending not introducing new cohorts students to campus. We believe that this is the correct approach for now, and will communicate any change to this plan with families directly.
Currently, the soonest
that we would bring students to campus is as follows:
Fifth Grade - week of October 26
Sixth Grade - week of November 2
Upper School - week of November 9Travel Immersion Programs
We have decided to postpone all overseas group travel through our Upper School Cascades Programs and through our Middle School E-week programs this academic year. COVID-19 Case Communication Plan
As part of our planning and health and safety protocols for COVID-19, the school has developed a plan for communicating with the school community in the instance there is a confirmed positive case of COVID-19 on campus. Notification and Contact Tracing
School Wellness Coordinator Happy Salinas-Santos will work with public health officials and the individual with the confirmed positive case of COVID-19 to initiate and complete contact tracing. Students and employees who are considered to be in close contact with the confirmed case of COVID-19 will be notified directly by the School Wellness Coordinator by phone, followed by an email. The school will provide them with information on when the exposure may have occurred, and will include instructions and guidance for next steps, as per health department recommendations.
In all cases of suspected or confirmed COVID-19, the affected classroom or work area will be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected following OPSI and CDC guidelines. The decision to shift a cohort, grade, or division to fully remote learning will be made in consultation with public health officials.Health Alert: Community Email Communication
The school will send out a Health Alert email communication to the full K-12 school community, including faculty, staff, K-12 parents/guardians, and Upper School students, identifying the affected division. We will share general information about the confirmed positive COVID-19 case, and in keeping with our privacy policies, we will not release detailed or personal information about positive cases.Flu Shots
The Bush School will be hosting Bartell Drugs on campus on Friday, October 30 from 8 a.m.-1:00 p.m. for an influenza vaccine clinic for any individual over 3 years of age. To sign up, please click here
. Please schedule only one individual per five minutes slot, and have your insurance information ready as Bartell Drugs will bill your insurance for the vaccine and administration of the vaccine. Feel free to contact School Wellness Coordinator Happy Salinas-Santos
with any questions.
Be safe. Be water.
Percy L. Abram
Head of School