COVID-19 Updates

/COVID-19 Updates
COVID-19 Updates 2021-02-22T15:52:21-08:00
Open for Active, Joyful Learning banner

Charles Wright Academy is open for on-campus
and remote learning.

This year, families may choose between in-person learning on our 107-acre Tacoma campus or remote learning—our robust and inclusive program is designed to pivot as needed.

All students, faculty, staff, and visitors on campus must pass a daily health assessment.

Charles Wright Academy is committed to delivering on-campus instruction that is safe for every student and every member of our community. This page outlines the thinking, process, and updates regarding the 2020-21 school year.

Our guiding principles for a Responsible Reopening:

  • Commitment to in-person delivery of active, joyful learning.

  • Responsibility to provide a safe and healthy experience for our students and families.

  • Care and attention to foster a sense of belonging for all students.

  • Flexibility to move seamlessly between models as needed.

  • Upper school science students wearing masks
  • Preschool student in the woods wearing a mask on the CWA trails.
  • middle school students play basketball wearing masks
  • lower school Spanish class in masks
  • Middle School science students in masks in the CWA woods

Latest Updates

October 26, 2020

October 5, 2020

August 17, 2020

The Team

Task Force

Our Responsible Reopening task force is comprised of experienced faculty, staff, and administration, with advice from specialized experts in a variety of disciplines. We examine best practices globally in schools that have reopened their physical campuses so that their experiences may inform our planning. Input from consulting firms and educational advisors in the independent school networks also guide our transition. We continually consult with experts in technology, health and wellness, law, and communications to complement our efforts.

Susan Rice
Head of School 

Bill Schuver
Associate Head of School
Middle School Director

Jeremy Clark
Lower School 5th Grade Teacher

Stephani Crozier
Lower School 1st Grade Teacher

Gina Dean
School Counselor

Lynn Ellis
Upper School Math Teacher

Catherine Ezzo
Upper School Director

Nikki FastLee
Middle School and Upper School English and History Teacher

John Forier
Middle School and Upper School Drama Teacher

Tyler Francis
Athletic Director

Francesca Gallozzi
Early Childhood Education Director
Lower School Assistant Director

Holly Gerla
Director of Technology

Sam Harris
Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Coordinator
Libraries Director

Mark Hayes
Upper School English and History Teacher

Jon Lamoreux
Upper School Physics Teacher

Katie Lehman
Lower School Music Specialist

Katie Miller
Upper School Math Teacher

UnHi Pak
Chief Financial Officer
Director of Operations

Rachel Rippl
Middle School Co-Director

Joe Romano
Innovation and Design Labs Director

Laura Rose
Director of Development

Rob Scotlan
Middle School Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Coordinator
Middle School English Teacher
Middle School Athletics Coordinator

Ann Vogel
Director of International Student Programs

Carie Ward
Lower School 5th Grade Teacher

Laurel Webster
Upper School Assistant Director

Nick Zosel-Johnson
Lower School Director

Planning and Process


We are committed to providing as much in-person instruction and learning for students as can be done safely and confidently. With our task force of CWA faculty, staff, and administration examining and considering appropriate possibilities that meet the needs of our community, we know many of the base guidelines for scenario planning will be informed by local and state organizations. Each family can decide if these guidelines meet the particular health needs of their child(ren). As guidelines are updated, we are committed to sharing our process and planning with you.

Frequently Asked Questions

A: CWA is committed to offering as much on campus learning as is safe, as determined by CWA leadership and local and state health authorities. CWA’s decision to be in-person or remote is guided by the requirements of state and local governing and health authorities, as well as a daily assessment of CWA’s community health status. Our COVID-19 response team regularly reviews data, requirements, and recommendations from TPCHD, the Washington Department of Health, as well as guidance from the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the Washington Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, the Washington Federation of Independent Schools, the National Association of Independent Schools, and the Northwest Association of Independent Schools. 

The response team will also monitor health indicators as reported by our community. They will track the number of COVID-19 cases in Pierce County; the number of students and employees on campus who report illnesses; the report of overall school health drawn from daily wellness checks; attendance; and other data points. They will monitor and analyze these indicators for predictive trends and anomalies, making recommendations for any changes to CWA’s daily health status to the Head of School and other senior administrators. Changes will then be shared with the community via email, and, if necessary, through our emergency alert system.

A: We will notify families if there is a known potential for exposure of their student. The school will not disclose the name or identity of any individual with a positive test or illness. The response team that meets daily will make a determination of any and all communication needs related to potential COVID exposure.

A: We will offer a dual platform, which includes full in-person learning and a concurrent remote learning option. In mid-August families were asked to choose an option for each of their children; the school has requested a commitment for a full trimester. We offer remote learning as an option to families all year.

We will provide 48 hours notice of any switch from one modality to another.  In the event of a move from remote learning to in-person learning, your student will transition to the modality choice you selected for the trimester (remote or in-person).  When/if we are required to move from in-person learning to remote, everyone will be on a remote schedule.

A: CWA has made a significant investment to allow all students to participate in a 1:1 program.  All students (Preschool to Grade 12) will receive devices with all necessary applications provided by CWA.  PS, JK, and K will use school iPads; students in grades 1-10 will receive and use Chromebooks; and students in grades 11 and 12 may request to borrow an Apple laptop from the school. We ask that all students in Preschool through Grade 10 use their CWA-issued device so that we can provide adequate technology support and ensure all students have access to the applications required for their coursework. Computers will be distributed August 31 and September 1.

A: There will be opportunities to meet all P.E. or athletic credit requirements through live or remote P.E. sessions in all divisions, or modified sports and practices. WIAA has moved all sports seasons to begin after the winter break depending on what phase we are in as mandated by health authorities. If government requirements allow us to be in-person, there will be opportunities to practice, train, and play sports with health and safety protocols in place. In a remote learning scenario, students may participate in virtual training with a coach to cultivate skills such as agility training for when we are ready to return to campus.

A: Our cohort sizes meet all requirements for schools as set by the state and local Department of Health, and are determined in part by the Rosner tool, which we used to measure classrooms, calculate the maximum room capacity, and determine safe spacing configurations. Cohort size will vary in each division based on the program and spaces, but will be less than the requirement. 

A: CWA will take full advantage of our beautiful 107-acre campus to provide additional safe learning spaces throughout campus. We have upgraded existing and added new outdoor spaces for increased daily class use. Many spaces have access to WIFI, are covered with tents or awnings, and have seating that allows for physical distancing. CWA will restrict the usage of outdoor classrooms in case of weather conditions that are unsafe like high winds, downpours, extreme temperatures, and lightning. Outside of these situations, we ask families, and faculty will also help prepare students to dress appropriately for a range of activities students can expect in our outdoor classroom spaces. Our nature-based learning experiences can be enhanced throughout the seasons in these spaces.

A: Students will eat lunch and snack within their cohorts either indoors or outdoors. They may bring their own lunch from home, but refrigeration and a microwave will not be available. Students may also pre-order boxed lunches from Flik, our food service provider, using an app. All allergens will be listed on the menu. Students may not leave their cohorts for lunch this year. Preschool and JK families do not have to pre-order food as lunch and snacks are included in their tuition.

A: Yes. While annually we modify routes and schedules to adapt to subscribed ridership, we are offering full bus service for 2020-21. Health assessments should be completed at home prior to coming to the bus stop and will be attested to with the driver.  Parents/guardians must wait for their students to be accepted onto the bus before leaving the bus stop. When students arrive on campus, a staff member will meet the bus, take each student’s temperature, and clear them to enter their division.

A: Out of an abundance of caution, we expect students to stay home if they have symptoms of any illness, or if a family member is ill. They will be able to seamlessly transition into remote learning until they are able to return to school.

A: All classes are taught by CWA faculty. Students receive a combination of direct live instruction, recorded lessons, small group instruction, and 1:1 or small group connection with a faculty or staff member.

Connecting with You

We have several virtual Town Hall meetings planned to keep you informed. Head of School Susan Rice and other school leaders will address a variety of topics including safety procedures, health and wellness considerations, program and operations information, communication plans, and more. We invite all families to attend these virtual meetings.

Town Hall Meetings


Check Back Soon



International Families 

CWA’s Task Force is creating plans to respond to how we will offer classes given various scenarios that include international travel restrictions and possible quarantines. We continue to monitor the international travel and health situation closely, so please check back often for updates to this message.

Returning students with F-1 visas or green cards who are currently in the United States started classes on Wednesday, September 2, with their domestic peers.

Returning students with F-1 visas or green cards who currently are in Asia should carefully monitor travel and SEVP regulations and, if allowed, book flights that will have them arrive at SEA.  They should be in close communication with our International Programs Director, Ann Vogel, about their plans.

New students should contact our International Programs Director, Ann Vogel, to inform her of their visa appointment date and keep her updated on their visa status, flight, and if required, quarantine plans. We are working on how best to offer International Student Orientation. Contact Ms. Vogel at or on WeChat at MsVogel-CWA. New students will be invited to periodic Zoom meetings and book groups during the summer to help ensure they are prepared for classes and so they can begin to meet some of their classmates and teachers.

We will add additional Zoom meetings for parents of new international students.

If you have questions, please contact