COVID-19 Updates and Resources
Latest Update (as of 3/19/20): NWCA will temporarily close March 16 - April 28. Remote Learning will take place for NWCA students beginning March 18
Please reach out to our team with any questions. We are grateful to you for your continued support of NWCA.
NWCA Family Updates
3-19-20: NWCA School Closure Update
Dear NWCA Families,
We would like to update you that NWCA will officially extend our school closure through at least April 28. We are following the guidance of Governor Kate Brown, who on Tuesday ordered all public schools in Oregon to close through April 28. We will continue to monitor the situation and update the community if this changes.
We know this decision will have a real and significant impact on you and your family. We also know that steps such as closing schools are designed to slow the spread of COVID-19 at this critical point. By social distancing, we are intentionally acting to reduce the number of deaths that could occur as a result of this virus. We are also acting to reduce the strain on our first responders and medical professionals, who will be on the front lines no matter what happens. School closure is one of many choices that we as individuals, families, and communities can make to “flatten the curve”.
This situation has been impacting each of us in different ways and will continue to do so. Our administrative and academic team is refining what NWCA’s remote learning over this extended time period will look like. Previously, we were planning on implementing five days of remote learning--now we are planning for at least five weeks. We will be setting up more structures, policies, and procedures to keep our community engaged, interacting in a positive and productive manner, and connected to each other. Please look for a remote learning feedback survey by the end of the week so we can incorporate your family’s experience with remote learning into this process.
Finally, a friendly reminder that Spring Break is still happening as planned. From Saturday, March 21 until remote learning begins again on Monday, March 30, please know that our team will be taking a break to rest and recharge. I wish you and your families a happy and healthy Spring Break.
Please reach out to me with any questions, or even just to say “Hello!” Be safe, be well.
3-13-20: Temporary Suspension of Classes Beginning Monday, March 16
Yesterday was an incredible and stressful day for us all. I know there are multiple changes that we are all adjusting to at the same time.
Following NWCA’s announcement of the suspension of classes beginning Monday, March 16, Governor Kate Brown ordered all Oregon public schools to close until April 1. As a result, I am updating our tentative return date to at least April 1 (Wednesday). We will continue to evaluate this return date and update the community of any changes.
Our new timeline is:
Monday, March 16th: No classes. Teachers and staff work through processes for remote learning
Tuesday, March 17th: Teachers finalize processes for remote learning. Communication of remote learning plans to families.
Wednesday, March 18th: Remote learning begins
Saturday, March 21st-Sunday, March 29: Spring Break - please rest!
Wednesday, April 1: On-campus classes resume (tentative)
Again, please look for a communication on Tuesday, March 17th regarding processes for remote learning for your child/ren.
Our teachers are undoubtedly superheroes. I understand that some parents may have been sending individual emails to teachers today with requests to send homework for next week by the end of today. I know we want to do what’s best for our students during the upcoming school closure. I also want our teacher’s first priority today to be supporting students as we move through this last day together for awhile Please note that a teacher may not be able to fulfill your request today--we will continue our work next week.
I have set aside next Monday and Tuesday for our staff to come together as a team and will have time to plan for remote learning. If there are additional physical resources that students may need, we may set times for pick up and notify you accordingly, or figure out another way to get material to students, such as mailing them.
Please reach out to me with any questions. Thank you for your continued support and flexibility as we ride this new wave together. I hope you have as lovely a weekend as possible!
All the best,
3-12-20: Regarding COVID-19 Preparation
Dear NWCA Families,
I hope this message finds you well and that you are managing the challenges of this time. Let me reiterate that we have not been informed of a confirmed, presumptive, or suspected case of COVID-19 within our community. Should that happen, we will let our families know. Earlier this week, the Board decided that in the case of a confirmed case of COVID-19 of a student or staff member, NWCA would close for a certain amount of time. I support this decision.
In order to be adequately prepared in the case of a school closure for extended remote learning, our faculty and staff will require a full day working as a team. As time is of the essence, we have decided to schedule an in-service day on Friday, March 20. This will necessitate cancelling all classes so that employees can be present to coordinate together. We are in essence starting Spring Break one day early in order to prepare for a potential future school closure.
At this time, we plan on resuming our regular class schedule after Spring Break as scheduled on Monday, March 30. We will update the community via email if that changes over time.
My team and I truly understand the hardship that this decision may pose on some of our families, and we apologize for that. Our goal is to be prepared, if need be, to provide our students the best possible online learning environment that fulfills our mission, vision, and core values.
Our team will fine-tune our remote learning plans to ensure students (as well as parents and guardians) have access to the information and support they need. To help us assess your home technology situation, please fill out this internet and device family survey by Monday, March 16.
Stay safe and please let me know if you have any questions or concerns.
All the best,
Head of School
3-10-20: Coronavirus and Precautions
Dear NWCA Families,
During what is probably a challenging and confusing time for us all, I am reaching out to provide a status update on new developments related to coronavirus, and share some additional details about the actions we are taking and planning to protect our school community.
The health and safety of our students, staff, and families is our priority. While the total number of coronavirus cases in the U.S. remains relatively small, experts expect this number to grow as testing increases and more individuals seek care. Currently, the key recommendations from public health agencies to prevent the spread of coronavirus are regular, thorough, handwashing and that symptomatic individuals remain home rather than going to work or school. We echo this recommendation and ask that students with any signs of respiratory illness or flu-like symptoms be kept home.
We are in contact with Washington County Disease Control and Prevention to stay updated on the situation and take actions as needed. They have asked us to strictly enforce our Sick/Communicable Diseases Policy, attached here for your reference. We have asked teachers, students, and staff to support our sanitization through regular and frequent cleaning of high-touch surfaces like doorknobs, countertops, and desks. Disposable wipes are available throughout our campus and we strongly encourage their use. In addition, English classrooms are being wiped down after each class to prevent cross-class spread of germs. During lunch, we have spread out classes over more tables to give individual classes more space and reduce the chance of germs spreading between classes. Students are being asked to wash hands thoroughly after a sneeze or cough on the hand, and during transitions between classes.
We would gladly accept donations of Disinfecting Wipes or hand sanitizer if you are able.
Our administration continues to discuss how student learning can continue should our school be closed temporarily. We are developing strategies for providing age-appropriate, remote lessons to students, taking accessibility into consideration, as well as tools for staying connected as a community should it become necessary. We will communicate more details around what this will look like as it becomes necessary.
Finally, I want to take a moment to acknowledge the psychological impact of this situation. The organized worldwide response to coronavirus has been robust and generally encouraging. However, it has also been a challenge for students (and really our entire community) to process. This New York Times article gives some good strategies on how to talk to children about coronavirus without raising the anxiety of anyone involved.
I have been struck by the patience, support, and resilience I’ve already seen in our community as we tackle these challenges. You are our greatest resource. Should our school need to close or if the situation changes quickly, we will notify you directly via email. If the situation remains stable, we will continue to update our community regularly.
Head of School
3-10-20: Update on Coronavirus and Precautions
Dear NWCA Families,
As you are likely aware, on Tuesday, February 25th, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) gave a press conference updating the country on the current status of the coronavirus (COVID-19), and what steps should be taken moving forward. We wanted to share with you some of the steps our school is taking to prevent the spread of illness across our campus, and plan for the possible spread of the coronavirus in our community.
As the CDC emphasized, there is not currently a coronavirus pandemic in the United States. A pandemic occurs when a disease is spreading from a variety of sources across a large region, and the number of cases across the US is still small. However, given how quickly the global situation is evolving, we are monitoring new developments and will continue to reevaluate our steps and actions daily.
In the meantime,the most effective way to stay healthy and minimize the spread of infectious disease is to follow basic health best practices like:
- Avoiding close contact with people suffering from acute respiratory infections;
- Washing hands frequently, especially after direct contact with ill people or their environment;
- Practicing cough etiquette (maintaining distance, covering coughs and sneezes with disposable tissues or clothing, ec ).
- Asking all faculty, staff, and students who are feeling ill to stay home until they recover.
This is the time of year when many students and families are susceptible to the common cold and flu. We encourage all students, families, and staff to receive the influenza vaccine, as well as to wash their hands regularly. As is always the case, if students have a fever, they should remain home until they are fever-free for 24 hours without fever reducing medications.
Please review our Sickness and Communicable Diseases Policy within the NWCA 2019-20 Parent Handbook, and follow the guidelines in keeping your child and other members of our community safe.
Our community is also preparing to alter our procedures and planning should the situation change. We are also thinking ahead regarding the impact upcoming school trips, and other non-typical school activities will have in the context of the coronavirus. We will communicate any changes affirmatively when the time is appropriate.
It is important to remember that handling the spread of a serious contagion like the coronavirus is primarily a task for public health agencies. Any directives from the World Health Organization, CDC, or local governmental organizations should be followed. Please see the list of resources at the end of this email for links to these organizations.
In times like this, we are particularly grateful for the strength and togetherness of this community. Please continue to look for further communications from us on this matter.
Please feel free to contact me with any questions you may have.
Head of School