COVID-19 information

The Washington State Department of Health has established a call center to address questions from the public. If you have questions about what is happening in Washington, how the virus is spread, and what to do if you have symptoms, please call 1-800-525-0127 and press #.

If you are in King County and believe you were exposed to a confirmed case of COVID-19, contact the King County novel coronavirus call center at 206-477-3977.

Given the complex and rapidly evolving situation, we encourage you to visit the Center for Disease Control (CDC)Washington State Department of Health (DOH), and Public Health - Seattle & King County for the most detailed and up to date information on COVID-19.

Please bookmark this page where you will find all the updates on COVID-19 as it relates to St. Thomas School.


 

Dear St. Thomas School Community,

We made it to Friday! As we move into the weekend, I just want to share some thoughts with you. As always, I want to begin with gratitude. In the middle of lives upended, you have taken time to provide us with feedback on the remote learning program via our Friday survey. You have reached out to share family stories, struggles, and successes. And I know you are taking good care of each other. Your families, of course, but other families as well. It is at times like this when I appreciate the STS community more than ever. It has been, and remains, one of our core pillars. Friendships are formed here – among students and you, as parents. Life milestones are reached – starting with an acceptance letter to STS and then followed by a series of firsts – losing teeth, ringing the chimes, leading Chapel, skinned knees, raising the morning flag... we get to experience your children growing up right alongside with you.

I often parachute into students' remote classes, and certainly I am in faculty meetings when we are discussing the student (and parent) experience. While so much of those are filled with the seriousness of teaching and learning, logistical challenges, and an ongoing intention to meet with needs of all of our students, there is also pure joy. There is laughter. Perhaps a bit of goofiness too. I love that many of the delights of being at STS remain, even if our experiences are remote rather than in person.

We, all of us, the entire STS community, are demonstrating so much greatness right now. As hard as all of this is, guess what? We ARE doing it! We ARE being successful! We are learning, growing, and doing our edgework.

I will end with how I began – with gratitude. I will continue to keep you updated on directions and decisions. I will continue to do my best to be transparent about what is in my mind and what I believe is coming down the road. For now, take a deep breath. You made it to Friday. We made it to Friday. And until next week, enjoy your family. Stay safe.

Sincerely,

Kirk Wheeler, Ed.D.
Head of School

P.S. As always, I encourage you to share your remote learning experience with us by completing this survey.

Dear St. Thomas School Community,

You are no doubt aware of the Stay Home, Stay Healthy order issued by Governor Inslee on Monday. While the campus has been closed to students and parents, a small number of staff continued to operate inside the school building. In keeping with the Stay Home, Stay Healthy order, the time has come to completely close the school campus. Aside from occasional staff to check that systems are working properly, we have fully closed the campus. This will have no impact on remote learning; I simply want to keep you informed as to what is happening.

Thank you for your latest remote learning survey responses. Understanding your experience helps us to refine this new and evolving program. Remote learning is its own specialty. While STS is well-known for its technology tools and approaches (and those are serving us well in this new environment), our faculty are working tirelessly to learn new skills and adapt to the virtual landscape, all while continuing to deliver instruction and lessons. We are learning right along with you and our students. Our collaboration has led to a change in the time assignments are delivered, increased opportunities for students to connect "live" with their teachers and classmates, and even individual devices being distributed to some of our youngest students.

I recognize that many of you are working from home, managing a household, caring for children, and supervising remote learning activities. It's a lot, I know. I promise that we are committed to doing all that we can to support you. Please continue to communicate with us via the weekly survey or by reaching out directly to your Division Director. We also remain very connected to other schools in the greater Seattle area and beyond. We are aware of their challenges, successes, and both learn from them and share our expertise.

I want to address a question that keeps bubbling up: whether or not we will be extending the school year to makeup for the time campus is closed. Because we are delivering our program remotely, we are still meeting the necessary requirements to complete the school year on time and properly prepare students to advance to the next grade. At this time, there is no need to extend the school year nor is it necessary to cancel Spring Break. While remote programs cannot fully replicate the in-class experience, please do not worry about your child's readiness for the next grade level. We will adapt as needed, even in the fall, to meet students' needs. That is what we are here for.

While not unexpected, it is still hard to wrap one's head around our current situation. The impact of COVID-19 on our daily lives has been so dramatic. And yet, so much remains the same. I am proud to say that our three Cs – character, curriculum, and community – aren't empty words on a page, but are truly the pillars that guide us. I knew that already, of course, but these last weeks have made it more evident than ever before.

These pillars will continue to guide us in the days and weeks to come. I believe over the next few weeks we will begin to hear about COVID-19 and its impacts on STS families and staff, as well as the greater community, at a much more personal level. Please know that we are here to help. There are resources and we have counselors available. Of course, whether to inform the School is a very personal decision and should be part of your own family plan. I mainly wanted you to know we are here for you whenever needed.

Sincerely,

Kirk Wheeler, Ed.D.
Head of School

Dear St. Thomas School Community,

I hope you had a chance yesterday to view my chat with our school counselors. They are an extraordinary resource and I encourage you to reach out to them when needed. I also recommend you join them this Monday for a Virtual Town Hall: Strategies to Support Your Family's Well-Being.

I wholeheartedly believe that maintaining the rhythm and rituals of 'normal' school life (as much as possible), and staying connected to our community, will be essential for our collective well-being. There is nothing more "St. Thomas School" than Chapel. It unites us. It centers us. It strengthens us. To that end, I visited Ms. Bell and Ms. Sullivan this week and ask that you share this video with your children:

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Keep Chapel as part of your student's routine. Chapel songs and ritual, along with the full Chapel Program are available on our website.

Finally, as I mentioned in Wednesday's letter, your feedback is essential as we continue to build and refine our remote learning program. I hope you will take a few minutes to complete this survey to share your experience with us.

Thank you for being a part of the STS community. I am strengthened by your support and partnership!

Sincerely,

Kirk Wheeler, Ed.D.
Head of School