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.
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.
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 email@example.com
If you believe that you have been exposed but are asymptomatic, please consult your physician for guidance about the appropriateness of returning to school.
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.
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%.
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:
Move forward the learning goals of the class;
Include varied, fun, creative, and kinesthetic activities;
Simulate an interactive class setting;
Be sustainable and support remote work for faculty and students;
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
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
- 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 email@example.com. 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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
or reach out to me or your division director.
Percy L. Abram
Head of School