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. CDC
, 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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
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 email@example.com
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.