INSIGHT: A Message of Thanks

By Dr. Terry Macaluso, Head of School

This is a good time for us to thank our parents and students for the work they’re doing to help us continue providing a first rate education.  We can do a lot—but without your trust, receptivity, and genuine positive regard, nothing much happens.  Support of the Annual Fund is only one data point in helping us measure that trust and in this case I’m pleased to announce that our single fundraising effort for the year is complete—95% of our families contributed to the Annual Fund and we completed it in record time.

So—from all of us at EPS, to all of you—our students and parents—we’re thankful for all of you.  Each of us, individually, has so much to make our lives fulfilling; at the same time, it’s important to say to the people who contribute to that fulfillment that you acknowledge their generosity.

Thinking ahead to winter trimester, I want to provide information that families will need as they anticipate the next four months of the school year.

EPS Schedule: November 30, 2020 to March 5, 2021
(password: 2020EPS)

  1. The earliest date on which EPS will transition from fully remote to beginning to bring students back to campus is January 25.
  2. The remote schedule on which we are currently operating will be our schedule for all of trimester 2, regardless of instructional mode, i.e., remote or a combination of remote and on-campus instruction.
  3. When EPS is able to return students and faculty to campus, the transition will require three weeks to be fully implemented:
    • Week #1: 5th grade students only—at the Annex; grades 6 to 12: remote
    • Week #2: 6th grade students only—at the Annex; grades 5 and 7 to 12: remote
    • Week #3: Cohort model implemented:
      1. Monday and Tuesday : 5th grade and cohort blue: 7, 9, 11th grades
      2. Wednesday and Thursday: 6th grade and cohort gold: 8, 10, 12th grades—ON CAMPUS
      3. Friday and Monday:  5th grade and cohort blue: 7, 9, 11th grades—ON CAMPUS
      4. Tuesday and Wednesday: 6th grade and cohort gold: 8, 10, 12th grades—ON CAMPUS
      5. Thursday and Friday: 5th grade and cohort blue: 7, 9, 11th grades—ON CAMPUS

I’ve been asked several times when I think we will be ready to get back to campus.  I wish I had a definitive answer.  The best I can do now is to let you know about one of the resources we’re using to  inform our decisions: This is the dashboard for King County.  All the data points matter, but of primary concern is the first.  The “target” we want to reach is fewer than 25 positive cases per 100,000 population.  Today, November 20, that number is over ten times the target, i.e., 304 per 100,000 population.

Of course, this virus is much more complicated than a single data point can convey, and it’s not the only one we consult.  What’s useful about it, though, is that it tells us which direction we’re going.  Right now, that direction is not good.  But it will come down, and when it does, we’ll be ready to act.

If you recall from earlier briefings, we made the decision to be fully remote between November 30, 2020 and January 5, 2021 last fall.  We made that decision because the holiday season is a time of travel, family gatherings, and trips home from college.  It is a time during which we will very likely see numbers rise—and quickly.  That’s exactly what’s happening now.  The hopeful news that several vaccines are being tested now means that we may well be back on campus sooner than the current data allow us to predict.

In the meantime, please take all necessary precautions to keep yourself, your friends, and family COVID-free.  This really is a community wide project.  It’s never been more important that we work together to reach a common goal; we’ve been managing this since March 2, and it’s the cooperation among our faculty, staff, and families that has made it all work.  At the end of November, we will have been learning on-line for 10 months.  I don’t know the future,  but I’d wager that the worst of this is behind us.  Think of the triumph it will be when we can all be back together again.

Stay strong.  Be encouraged. We GOT this!