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Head of School Update Nov 17, 2020

Dear Friends,

Earlier this month, in an “Update from the Head of School” (November 6, 2020) communiqué, I shared with you the protocols that should be followed by those who travel and gather over the Thanksgiving break, prior to returning to campus. Since that email, Governor Inslee has issued a new travel advisory along with guidance concerning social gatherings. Therefore, I think it necessary to amend and clarify the aforementioned protocols in regard to the Villa community and the return of adults and students to campus after Thanksgiving.

Understand that as a private school, Villa Academy can institute stricter guidelines concerning a variety of activities or procedures than what is articulated by local/state/federal agencies for the same activity or procedure; however, I cannot issue guidelines that are less restrictive than what a proper authority issues for the same activity or procedure.  

Governor Inslee’s travel advisory (November 13) is just that - an advisory - not a mandate; but given the seriousness of the COVID-19 pandemic and the rising incidence of it in Washington, I think it reasonable to expect that those Villa community members who will be traveling over the Thanksgiving holiday, prudently observe the travel advisory and the newly released COVID-19 Guidance from the Governor; these supersede the protocols I announced on November 6th, specifically:

Finally - as a reminder - there will be no in-person (preschool - 8th grade) learning on campus on Monday, November 30th and Tuesday, December 1st. On these days, students will be provided asynchronous, independent and optional enrichment activities to work on (those students with incomplete and/or missing assignments should prioritize that work over the enrichment activities), while most Lower School teachers will take the opportunity to review or revise in-person learning plans and structures for our younger students; others will begin planning in-person, on-campus activities for our 4th - 8th grade students to begin in mid-to-late January, if prudent.

My colleagues and I will not rely on only one datapoint or number when making decisions about in-person learning for our students; we’ll continue to review a variety of data, including, but not limited to: COVID-19 activity in King & Snohomish counties; COVID-19 activity in the zip codes corresponding to our families, faculty & staff; all pertinent updates from the Office of Public Health for King County and the Washington State Department of Health as well as the increasing amount of research, specific to schools, concerning the activity of the COVID-19 virus and its spread in schools and school communities.  All of these data points will be considered in our decisions regarding in-person, on-campus learning.

I appreciate everyone’s cooperation and efforts to keep the community safe and healthy - it’s making a difference!

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