Dear SGS Community,
Since our closure in March, we have been planning and implementing multiple scenarios for re-opening Saint George’s School. In March, we looked forward to the warmer months and summer to flatten the curve, only to see cases spike in Spokane and around the country. I have worked closely with the administrative team, teachers and the Board of Trustees in the planning process as guidance has continued to evolve and change in regard to the quandary of opening schools during this pandemic. There have been vigorous discussions weighing all available information, there has been optimism and pessimism, but everyone was working together to make the right decision about the start of school.
Based on the science of the COVID-19 virus and existing data, the Washington Department of Health, the Spokane Regional Health District (SRHD) and the Governor have strongly recommended for schools to begin the year remotely. With the support and approval of the Board, Saint George’s School will follow that guidance and start K-12 in a Distance Learning model.
This is not what we were expecting in March or even in July. Everyone associated with the school wants to be back in-person. At the same time, we have a duty to our students, employees and families to provide an environment that is safe for learning and teaching. At this time, we must rely on the health officials’ expertise. The current conditions and case count do not provide the level of safety to begin in-person instruction. We have an obligation to our community during this health crisis to act responsibly and limit the transmission of COVID-19, so we can resume in-person school sooner than later. We have a very narrow margin of error from the SRHD, if there are one or two positive cases (which is likely based on what we are seeing around the country as schools re-open) with a student and/or employee we would be forced to remote learning. Furthermore, to go against this recommendation could impact how quickly we could transition to in-person instruction when we are able.
As I have stated previously, the complexity of this decision is immense. In addition to the safety and well-being of our community, other considerations include: new laws and legal obligations, liability, employment practices, transportation challenges, facilities, technology, OSPI requirements, State Board of Education requirements, SGS reputation, Governor’s proclamations, Department of Health Guidelines, professional development for teachers and a focus on delivering the exceptional SGS education in-person, remotely and in hybrid models. Not to sound trite, but this is part of the new normal for now.
We will now devote our energy and resources to starting school in Distance Learning. Next week, we will send out our back to school information packets. This will include information for assigning technology to students in grades 2-8, and it will provide IT training and orientation for devices and for the learning platforms. We will also plan orientation for our new students. These plans are being coordinated and will be communicated by division heads. The week of August 31 will look different than originally planned.
We are still about 3 weeks from the start of school and COVID-19 cases seem to be on a downward trend. We will be closely monitoring this data and will move to in-person learning as soon as possible. Today, as the situation continues to change on a daily basis, Superintendent Chris Reykdal shared the Washington Department of Health’s newly released Decision Tree for re-opening schools that will provide additional guidance and metrics to re-open. https://www.doh.wa.gov/Portals/1/Documents/1600/coronavirus/DecisionTree-K12schools.pdf
I am hopeful and optimistic that we can return to in-person learning as soon as we can do so in a responsible manner. Our buildings are ready, our teachers are ready and are students are ready. I am confident we will deliver the best online instruction in the region based on our teachers’ commitment to their students, their training and their own high standards.
The SGS Re-opening Plan provides more information and the details of how we will move forward and serve our students.
Thank you for your support and patience over the last several months and going forward in these difficult times.
Head of School
Please join us as we celebrate the Class of 2020 by watching the livestream of their Graduation Ceremony this Thursday, July 30th at 5PM. It will be a live event and not pre-recorded.
Please use this link to attend the ceremony via our YouTube Channel:
We look forward to “seeing” you there!
Dear SGS Families,
I hope your summer is going well and you are enjoying the beautiful weather. I can’t believe it is already mid-July . . . where does the time go?
We continue to develop our plan for the start of the 2020-21 school year as the COVID-19 landscape across the state and nation remains fluid and uncertain. This continues to be a challenge as the virus spikes, guidelines evolve, and attitudes are quite diverse in regard to safety and health concerns. We continue to plan for an in-person start (with a back-up plan in place) to start school the week of August 31 as previously published on the school calendar. The in-person start includes accommodations for those unable to be on-campus.
We convened a Task Force and working groups of administrators and teachers to research and create recommendations in multiple areas for a successful school year in any scenario....
Saint George’s School is excited to welcome Stephanie Jackson as our new volleyball coach! We think Coach Jackson will be a great addition to the Saint George's Community. When we get back together, please make it a point to introduce yourself and Stephanie to our School.
As a collegiate athlete, Stephanie was a volleyball player at Auburn and the University of Georgia. During her collegiate career, she won the Arthur Ashe student-athlete award in 1999. Stephanie grew up in the suburbs of Chicago, in Lockport, IL. In high school, she was the Illinois Gatorade and Chicago Sun Times Player of the year her senior year. Stephanie was a setter and an outside hitter throughout her career.
Stephanie has taught English as a Foreign Language internationally in China, Venezuela and the United Arab Emirates. In the United States, Stephanie has primarily taught History and Spanish in Illinois and Louisiana. While teaching, Stephanie also sponsored a student club that advocated against school bullying. She has a Master of Arts in Teaching in the Secondary Classroom.
"Stephanie has demonstrated a strong passion for youth leadership and a belief in the values fostered by an International Baccalaureate education," says Ryan Peplinski, SGS Athletic Director. "She is excited to have the opportunity to join the Saint George’s community and to help the players get closer to fulfilling their potential in volleyball, in school and in life, and in doing so to help lead the Saint George’s volleyball team to victory!"
Saint George's regrets to announce that the annual Golf Classic scheduled for June 26th has been cancelled. The restrictions on off-campus events during Phase II means the school needs to avoid getting out of compliance with state rules. Everyone who has already paid their entry fee will receive a full refund. Saint George's intends to restart Golf Classic tradition in 2021 on the Friday before Hoopfest. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Athletic Dierctor Ryan Peplinski.
Saint George's will be getting printed yearbooks for 2020, but not until later this summer. We expect they will be distributed when everyone returns to school this fall. If that plan changes, an email will go out to parents and students. And in the meantime, anyone who purchased a 2020 yearbook can view it online. Here are the Instructions.
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