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About Bush

Reopening Plan

Letter from the Head of School

The hastened journey of the sun’s retreat reminds us that our summer is slowly fading, and that fall, and the start of another school year, is fast approaching. While the daylight hours may be shrinking, with so much changing around us so rapidly, I sometimes feel that I am experiencing an eternity in each day. My hope is that the summer moments that remain will afford us all time to reflect, recharge, and remind ourselves of what inspires and sustains us. 

I am pleased to share with you The Bush School’s Reopening Plan for the 2020-2021 school year. This plan is the result of careful and collective planning by members of the faculty, administration, staff, and Board of Trustees, in consultation with members of the medical and public health community. The plan prioritizes the health and safety of our students and employees and is informed by data and recommendations from Seattle King County Public Health, Washington State, Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Ultimately, these agencies’ health requirements will determine when and how it is safe for students to return to campus. 

As I have shared in previous updates, public health conditions have worsened over the summer which casts doubt on the possibility of returning to campus in September. Infection rates, positivity rates, and effective reproductive rates—key indicators of the ongoing spread of COVID-19—remain high in Seattle and King County. In surrounding areas, county public health offices have advised, and school districts have determined, that the conditions are not appropriate to bring large numbers of students back to school. King County, however, does not plan to issue such guidelines, leaving decisions up to individual schools, at least for now. The Bush School team will continue to study health data in order to determine when it will be safe to return to campus. Based on what we know today, it is most likely that we will be starting the school year in remote schooling for the month of September. A final decision will be made no later than August 13. The first day of school is September 1, regardless of  whether we begin school in person or remotely. 

In the Reopening Plan, the school has developed three models for returning to campus. In order for us to execute them safely, we will need to identify which students will be on campus and which students will remain off campus for part or all of the school year. Please read through this document carefully to better understand the policies and protocols that will be in place when we do return to on-campus instruction. We ask that you complete the 2020-2021 Bush Reopening Registration Form to indicate your intentions for your child’s participation in the school’s program for the 2020-2021 school year. This information will inform technology requirements, cohort planning, staffing needs, and a facilities maintenance plan for cleaning and disinfecting. 

Together, we will meet the challenges ahead, relying on grace, intellect, compassion, and courage. This will not only sustain us, but also allow us to thrive this year.  We will learn from these lessons and grow stronger. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or concerns.

Percy L. Abram
Head of School
*Posted on July 31, 2020

2020-2021 Reopening Plan

Key Guiding Principles

The Bush School has identified the following guiding principles to inform decision-making for the year ahead. These principles align with the recommendations from public health officials, as well as our mission and values.

Health and Safety: The health and safety of our students and employees is our priority. We continue to monitor the guidelines and recommendations provided by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Seattle and King County Public Health (SKCPH), he Office of the Governor of the state of Washington (governor.wa.gov), and the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OPSI) in establishing policies.
Educational Programming: While some aspects of our program may look different in order to maintain a healthy and safe environment, students will experience the signature elements of a Bush education, including inquiry-based experiential education, challenging academics that promote students’ intellectual curiosity and growth, a relationship-based social-emotional learning curriculum, and opportunities for community engagement.

On-Campus Learning:  We believe that optimal learning for children takes place in-person. We recognize the value our campus plays in the education of our students, and to the best of our ability, and in accordance with the recommendations and directives of state and local government and public health officials, we will seek to provide on-campus learning options when possible.
Flexibility and Adaptability: We recognize that the coronavirus health outbreak is ongoing and developing. Our goal is to support continuous learning for students and to create a program for the year ahead that will allow us to adapt to future coronavirus outbreaks while providing on-campus learning when it is safe to do so.

Student Wellness: The school will focus on student wellness and mental health as students process the stress, anxiety, and trauma they are experiencing due to the health pandemic and the pandemic caused by systemic racism.

2020-2021 Academic Models

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      Academic Pic

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List of 3 items.

  • Option 1: K-12 Remote Schooling

    The K-12 remote schooling model will be used when students are not permitted to be on campus. We know that transmission rates and cases continue to rise in Seattle and King County. Given this data, it is very likely that we will need to begin school on September 1 in remote schooling (K-12). This will also be a contingency option throughout the school year. The divisional academic teams continue to put energy and resources into refining this model, prioritizing engagement, academic preparation, peer connection, and socio-emotional curriculum.
  • Option 2: Lower School On-Campus Schooling | Middle/Upper School Remote Schooling

    This option may be used to transition students back to campus safely by allowing our youngest learners to spread out throughout campus, making full use of outdoor spaces and larger classrooms that can accommodate social distancing. This model also allows for a phased approach to bringing divisions back to campus, ensuring our health and safety protocols are in place. Lower School will have the option for 100% remote schooling through classroom technology in this option. 
  • Option3: K-12 Hybrid Schooling

    The K-12 hybrid-learning model will be used when students are permitted to return to campus. Students will be placed in smaller cohorts or groups. This model will limit and monitor the adults in close contact with the cohorts and groups, as well as optimize outdoor spaces and classroom ventilation.  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 weekly, and will spread out across the Lower and Middle School. Middle School and Upper School students will rotate being on-campus every other week and will use classrooms and buildings across the Middle and Upper Schools. All students will have the option for 100% remote schooling through classroom technology in the  K-12 hybrid schooling option. 

Next Steps

The school will host divisional information sessions for parents/guardians in order to share information and answer questions about reopening.
Lower School Information Session
Hosted by Lower School Division Director Aliya Virani
Middle School Information Session
Hosted by Acting Middle School Director and Academic Dean Sally Maxwell
Upper School Information Session 
Hosted by Upper School Director Ray Wilson
Date/time and Zoom details will be emailed to families in the back to school mailing in early August.
Friday, August 7: Divisional back-to-school information sent electronically
Thursday, August 13: Decision to start in full-remote schooling model or K-12 hybrid-learning model
Friday, August 21: Divisional handbooks with updated policies sent electronically


If you have any questions or follow-up regarding the 2020-2021 Reopening Plan, please contact your child’s division director or send your inquiry directly to safety@bush.edu and a school administrator will respond as soon as possible.

Lower School Director
Acting Middle School Director
and Academic Dean
Upper School Director

Academic, Operations, and Financial Task Forces

The school’s planning effort has been guided by the dedication and hard work of the Academic, Operations, and Financial Task Forces, composed of members of the Board of Trustees, senior leadership team, faculty, and staff, and in consultation with local health care professionals.
Ray Wilson, Upper School Director (Chair); Ethan Delavan, Director of Technology; Hilary Kaltenbach, Methow Program Coordinator; Sally Maxwell, Acting Director of Middle School and Academic Dean; Kelsey Medrano, Assistant Director of Upper School; Kristin McInaney, Experiential Programs Manager; Aliya Virani, Lower School Director
Alex Ramirez, Controller (Chair); Robin Bentley, Assistant Head for Finance and Operations; Irene Fisher, Board Treasurer; Polly Fredlund, Director of Enrollment Management and Communications; Sharon Hurt, Director of Development; Karen Marcotte Solimano, Board President 2018-2020
Shawna Skjonsberg-Fotopoulos, Director of Human Resources (Co-Chair); Ken Longfellow, Director of Facilities (Co-Chair); Victoria D’Amelio, Middle School Administrative Assistant; Leslie David, Executive Assistant to the Head of School; Morgan Dicus, Director of Extended Day and Summer Programs; Tamara Gyapong, Administrative Assistant to the Head of School’s Office; Jo Ito, Director of Athletics; Helen Jones, Director of Food Services; Kristin McInaney, Experiential Programs Manager; Michael Miller, Facilities Manager; Stephanie Riker, Lower School Administrative Assistant; Sharon Turner-Mulvihill, Upper School Administrative Assistant
Dr. Derel Finch, Chief Medical Officer at Swedish Health Services
Dr. Paul Pottinger, Director of the Infectious Diseases & Tropical Medicine Clinic at UW Medical Center