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SAAS Message from Head of School, October 14

Good evening,

As many of you may have seen, the most recent COVID case count for King County in the last 14 days per 100,000 is at 92 as of Wednesday night. High Risk for in-person learning is anything over 75 per 100,000. And, this number has been rising over the last two weeks from 72 to 92 at a fairly rapid pace. 

In addition to the case per 100,000, a second key data point that informs our decision-making is the Re factor (Reproductive number), which forecasts whether the outbreak is growing, stable, or shrinking. The goal is for that number to be less than 1, and the current Reproductive number is 1.5. That number, in conjunction with the cases per 100,000, is indicative of a probable continuation of high and increasing risk.

When scheduling Retreats on Campus, we knew that our plans may be at risk and need to be changed if indicators warranted, but we were optimistic in our planning nonetheless. We continue to be committed to bringing kids and faculty back to campus and are working towards that goal, but given the data in King County, next week is not the time.

What does that mean?

  • SAAS will not be holding Middle School Retreats on Campus as scheduled next week (October 19 - 24). Remote classes will be held per the usual 5-day block schedule for all Middle School students each day.
  • All indoor Upper School athletic pods will be cancelled tomorrow through next week (October 14 - 24). Outdoor Upper School athletic pods will continue to be held until further notice.
  • All future Retreats on Campus will remain on the calendar as scheduled. The next scheduled Retreats on Campus are for Upper School students (October 26 - 30). Any changes to the plans will be communicated during the week prior to the scheduled retreat.

We appreciate all of the emotions that may accompany this decision - relief, frustration, disappointment, understanding - and in light of all of those perspectives we will continue to plan, prepare, and work tirelessly toward our students safely returning to campus. We don’t have the perfect crystal ball to forecast exactly when, but we are ready and eager for that to happen.

We are grateful that so many of you have taken the time to meet with us during our recent Town Halls whether at last Thursday’s full school meeting or at last night’s Middle School session. We appreciate the feedback, the thoughtful and challenging questions, and the ideas that have been generated from those discussions. 

Hopefully, the information we’ve shared with you in our previous communications and in the Town Halls has provided visibility into our decision making processes and demonstrated our commitment and investment into safely returning students to campus in person. We are taking the community challenges and concerns with the impacts of this pandemic head on and have a steadfast commitment to our SAAS kids in whatever form of learning that is taking place right now.  

Please don’t hesitate to connect. Your insights are important to us as we move through this together.

Rob Phillips

Head of School

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