Task Force Update: August 11

Task Force update from 8/11/20

Dear CWA Families,

This evening, the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department changed their recommendation to a requirement for private schools to begin the fall in remote learning. You can read the letter here. This is a disappointment following Governor Inslee’s press conference where he stated that there would not be a state mandate ordering remote instruction, but a recommendation based on the levels of community transmission. Governor Inslee stated that school campus reopenings would be left as a site-based decision to allow “flexibility” so that schools and school districts could do what was “best for their communities.” This communication also highlighted that each facility has different capabilities and capacities for meeting or exceeding the requirements for mask wearing, physical distancing in lower capacity classrooms, outdoor learning spaces, and other health and safety measures.

Our survey indicated that slightly more than 86% of all Charles Wright Academy families (480 who answered the survey) were choosing our in-person option, so we know that this is a disappointment for you.

We are still unclear if this announcement will impact all grades in our program as there is an indication that another announcement regarding early childhood programs will be coming this week as well. I will continue to update you as I find out more.

Regardless of this news, we have been planning diligently for both a robust remote option and a safe in-person option to offer families this fall in a dual mode. We knew that in the event of an outbreak or change in the recommendation from health authorities we would also need to be able to pivot to a full remote option for all students. As such, our faculty and staff have been dedicated and working hard on professional development all summer to build upon the experiences of remote instruction last spring to ensure that we could offer all families an engaging remote learning experience should that be our reality. We are confident that we can provide you with a robust experience that is built upon the successes last spring and incorporates best practices in that modality. Our next Town Hall on Monday, August 17 at 7:30 p.m. will focus solely on what CWA will offer for a fully remote experience.

While the COVID numbers in Pierce County place us currently in the highly recommended for remote learning category (75+/day per 100,000 residents over a 14-day average period), it’s important to note that the numbers have steadily declined the past several weeks and could be a downward trend toward levels that allow for resuming in-person instruction. Additionally, with a start date for the school year in September, we still have hope that we can resume in-person learning if that trend holds. It’s important that we all do our part to make that happen!

Additionally, we will continue to monitor the numbers daily and meet with TPCHD weekly, and we will continue to hope for a return to in-person instruction when we have been authorized to offer that to our community. We are still confident that we can implement all the health and safety protocols required and meet or exceed the benchmarks from the CDC, WA-DOH, and OSHA in reopening campus.

The letter we received asks for our partnership in bringing down the current levels in Pierce County. We urge all our families (as always) to adhere to best practices for the foreseeable future in mask wearing, limiting social interactions, practicing distanced or remote meetings when possible, and increase hand washing and cleaning practices and routines. It is my hope that we can continue to be strong community partners during the required campus closure. As such, we have organized for Charles Wright Academy campus to serve as a mobile walk-up and drive through site for COVID testing later this month. We had planned that long before receiving the letter today, but it feels like a good time to share that with you. This service is provided by Pierce County and the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department to offer free testing to Charles Wright Academy families, employees, as well as the general public. This will be taking place on Saturday, August 29 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. More information on that coming soon.

I invite you to reach out to me to discuss this situation further. I know that this is not ideal for many families who are unable to work from home and for students to be in remote instruction for a prolonged period. We are committed to delivering a program that is “joyful and active” and that continues to exceed your expectations of a Charles Wright education. Your partnership is invaluable to us, and our year together will be memorable – no matter the modality we are working together in. Thank you for your continued trust and for your commitment to the CWA community. GO TARRIERS!

With gratitude,

Susan Rice
Head of School