As you know, events surrounding the COVID-19 virus are evolving rapidly. We continue to closely monitor the changing situation, both globally and locally. The safety and welfare of your children and our community is our highest priority. In order to make the best decisions possible, we have been in communication with the King County Public Health department and the Redmond city emergency managers, as well as consulted National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) and CDC recommendations to develop our response.
At this time, we will continue to maintain school operations, making some additional changes for the health of our community. As the CDC emphasized, there is not currently a coronavirus pandemic in the United States. A pandemic occurs when a disease is spreading from a variety of sources across a large region, and the number of cases across the U.S. is still small. Additional details follow.
- Athletics practices will continue as scheduled
- Field trips this week will be postponed or rescheduled
- Senior Blast will continue as planned
- Moms Breakfast with the Headmaster will be held as planned
The situation remains fluid, and we will communicate updates or any adjustments in our school’s operations on an as-needed basis, for the safety of our community. Should a school closure become necessary, we are developing a plan with our faculty for virtual instruction.
In accordance with the recommendations of the CDC, we have developed a three-tiered protocol system of non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs), which will allow us to respond in the event of an elevated, high-risk, or pandemic situation. In summary, these protocols involve increased communication between families, staff, and faculty; increased facility cleaning frequency and enhanced cleaning procedures for employees and students; and, if necessary, guidance in the event of school delays and/or closures.
At this time, we have decided to institute level two of this protocol and will be communicating frequently regarding the situation in the Pacific Northwest and at The Bear Creek School, including the most effective way to stay healthy and minimize the spread of infectious disease through multiple communications including the School’s health policies (in accordance with State requirements) and basic health best practices (e.g. staying home when sick).
Effective immediately, we are instituting additional nightly cleaning protocols, and making provisions for frequent, regular hand washing or hand sanitizing throughout the day, and limiting student activities or shared materials and tools to help prevent transmission of germs. Doors will be propped open to the extent possible, to minimize contact with door handles. We will continue to monitor classroom/grade-level health trends and absenteeism and make a daily assessment of student health.
See our Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information page for additional information.
Care for Our Students
Student, faculty, and staff well-being is our top priority. If you choose to keep your child(ren) at home, we will work with you to help ensure their academic progress. Students may be frightened about COVID-19, especially with today’s 24/7 coverage of this outbreak. If your child expresses anxiety or fear about his/her safety, especially our younger students, I encourage you to contact your divisional Counselor, Dean of Students, or Division Head who will be a nurturing and supportive resource. In addition, it is important to remember that coronavirus is not specific to any race, nationality, or ethnicity. We want to ensure that students and staff do not experience harassment or stigmatization as a result of concerns about the COVID-19 virus.
If students develop symptoms at school, we will be proactive in calling you to pick them up, and we ask you to respond promptly. Please be sure that your emergency contact information on the Parent Portal is up to date. Further, the CDC recommends that parents make childcare arrangements in advance, should your child need to be out of school for an extended period due to illness.
Status of Fire Station 13
Additionally, we learned last night that Fire Station 13, near our campus, is being used as a voluntary precautionary quarantine site for first responders who have been to a site where the virus was present. Dr. Hooper, the Redmond city emergency manager, assured us that the site is only precautionary, to provide a small number of first responders a location in which to follow the Redmond city quarantine protocol. It is important to note that a quarantine and isolation are different in the Redmond city protocol. A quarantine is imposed out of caution for first responders who have been to a site where the virus is present. An isolation is required for those who have been exposed to or are showing symptoms of the virus. There is currently one firefighter who responded to an area with the virus, in full hazardous materials/infections gear, who is currently under 24/7 quarantine at the station. The fire-fighter is not allowed to leave the building for any reason for 14 days and has no signs of the virus. The CDC indicates that transmission of the virus may occur within six feet of an infected individual. Since this individual is not believed to have the virus, has no symptoms, and our school is further than six feet from the fire station, we do not believe there is any risk to our school community.
The Bear Creek School is constantly monitoring our community, the local situation, and keeping abreast of the global coronavirus information on a daily basis. We will continue to communicate with you as the situation evolves.
Finally, it is in uncertain times such as these when we are made keenly aware of the grace and providence of the Lord and of His unceasing faithfulness, sovereignty, and goodness, As Psalm 149 reminds us, “The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. The Lord is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made,” and Hebrews exhorts us in Chapter 13, “Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”
May He equip us all to do good and may He work in us what is pleasing to Him, as we walk together as a community in this present journey.
Grace and peace,
President and Headmaster