To schedule a meeting this summer please use this link.
December 22, 2020 - Christmas Break Begins; Schedule Following Christmas Break
Dear WWCS Community,
This afternoon marks the beginning of our Christmas break! Classes will resume on Monday, January 4th, 2021. There will not be any Weekly News email until after the break on Thursday, January 7.
We encourage families who will be traveling (and/or have reason to believe there is potential for a COVID-19 exposure) during this Christmas break, to please consider learning remotely in January until the recommended time of quarantine has passed. Assuming students are not exhibiting any symptoms after the recommended quarantine time, they will be free to return to school. We appreciate your cooperation on this for the safety of all of our students. To review the CDC guidelines regarding quarantine procedures, click the button below.
CDC Quarantine Procedures
After we return from Christmas break, for the first week we will continue with the same learning modality that we currently have in place. This means that grades K-6 will continue with full-time in-person learning, and grades 7-12 will continue with Hybrid AM/PM Cohorts.
However, starting on Monday, January 11, we plan to transition grades 7-12 to full-time in-person learning. We are confident in this decision because of the success we have had with our hybrid model these past few weeks, and because of our continued adherence to strict masking, social distancing, and sanitation protocols. Also, this move is only possible because of the cooperation of parents and students with all of the necessary procedures, including staying home from school in the event of any symptoms or potential exposure to COVID-19.
Thank you again for your companionship on this journey. It is only with the help of the entire community that high quality Catholic education can continue for our students in a safe and healthy environment. Have a restful break, and a blessed Christmas!
November 19, 2020 - Hybrid In-person Learning for 7-12; Full time In-person Learning for K-6
Beginning Monday, November 23:
Students in grades 7-12 will be learning via Hybrid AM/PM cohorts
Students in grades K-6 will be learning in-person full time
Parents wishing to keep students remote are welcome to do so. Please contact the school office to let us know.
Dear WWCS parents,
At the beginning of this year I noted that the WWCS would strive to form a culture of consistency and correction. It is odd to put these two ideas together considering they are so often in tension with one another. Yet, we believe that both too much change and too little change are harmful to students and families. With the recent spike in cases I sought to maintain the consistency of the metrics that I had put in place at the beginning of the year, while continuing to make corrections as we weighed the relative benefits and detriments of each learning mode on students, families, and the whole Walla Walla community. Consequently, two weeks ago I modified the metric so as to keep students at Assumption in-person at least to some degree. Starting this Monday, we will again modify our learning mode. We will return grades 4-6 to full day in-person instruction, and grades 7-12 to half-day instruction. The schedules for each grade level are listed below.
Emerging research is suggesting that schools have not been a locus of transmission. As such, our focus is shifting from a community transmission metric (like what we had been using) to a model that focuses more exclusively on ensuring our internal protocols are up to date and that transmission does not occur within the school. Of course, we recognize that different families have different risk factors and different evaluations of the most prudential mode of learning. For that reason, if you would prefer to keep your child(ren) at home, we will continue to accommodate students learning remotely.
Fr. Curtis Seidel
November 12, 2020
Dear Walla Walla Catholic School families,
This coming week we will continue to utilize the same modality metric that we implemented last week. This means that grades 7-12 will continue learning remotely, and grades 4-6 will continue learning in their hybrid AM/PM groups.
It is our desire, along with the faculty and many of our families, to return to in-person instruction for all grades as soon as possible. We are working toward that end, but we want to make sure we are doing so responsibly in light of increased community transmissions of COVID-19.
As a reminder, below you will see our most up-to-date metric.
- Fr. Curtis Seidel
President, Walla Walla Catholic Schools
- John Lesko
Principal, Walla Walla Catholic Schools
October 28, 2020 - Remote learning for 7-12; Hybrid learning for 4-6
- Beginning Thursday (10/29) - Students in grade 12 will begin learning remotely.
- Beginning Monday (11/2) - Students in grades 7-12 will begin learning remotely. These grades will continue to attend classes remotely until the number of combined cases in the cities of Walla Walla and College Place drop below 400/100,000.
- Beginning Monday (11/2)- Students in grades 4-6 will be learning via Hybrid AM/PM cohorts. This will continue until the number of combined cases in the cities of Walla Walla and College Place drop below 400/100,000.
- For Grades K-3 - Students in grades K-3 will continue with in-person learning at this time.
Please contact your teachers, Mr. Lesko, or Father Seidel if any of these changes are heavily burdensome for your family. We know that this is difficult for everyone, and we want to do what we to can to help.
Dear WWCS parents,
On Monday, I sent out a message to our school community explaining that the students in grades 7-12 would be transitioning into Hybrid AM/PM cohorts this week because of the recent rise in COVID-19 cases for the cities of Walla Walla and College Place. However, the data that we had received from the Health Department at that time only reflected the number of cases up to October 23. We recently received updated information from the Health Department showing the number of cases up to October 26, showing that the total number of combined cases for Walla Walla and College Place has increased to 301 per 100,000. We anticipate that by next week that number will be even higher.
Unfortunately, this second rise in case count triggers another change in our learning modality for grades 7-12 as well as grades 4-6. Following our established metric (as can be seen in the chart above), next week we will be entering the learning modality that corresponds to a case count between 300-400 cases per 100,000. This means that students in grades 7-12 will be learning remotely, and students in grades 4-6 will be learning via Hybrid AM/PM cohorts, starting Monday, November 2.
Each week we will be monitoring case numbers and making a decision about the potential change in our learning modalities for the next week. We are hoping to avoid rapidly switching back and forth between different schedules. Our decisions will be based on the data provided by the Walla Walla Health Department, and will correspond with the Learning Modality Chart that can be viewed above.
I have chosen to wait until Monday to implement this shift so as to ensure that all students and families have been informed of the changing learning mode.
For students in grades 7-12, class schedules will be the same as the remote learning schedule from the beginning of the year.
For students in grades 4-6, they will be in the same cohort they had been in at the beginning of the year. Our teachers will be reminding them in class what cohort that is.
More information about schedules will be sent out in the Weekly News tomorrow, and will be communicated through teachers.
As an important note, we have had only two confirmed COVID-19 cases amongst our student body at this point, with both of these cases originating from outside of the school. One of those cases is a 7th grade student, and the other is a 12th grade student. Out of an abundance of caution, the entire 7th grade class has been learning remotely this week, and the 12th grade classes will begin learning remotely starting tomorrow, Thursday, October 29.
To be clear, these decisions regarding the shift of learning modalities are not at all connected with those two particular positive cases, but are only as a result of the overall numbers of COVID-19 cases in our cities.
I continue to pray for you and for our community, and I encourage all of you lift up our Walla Walla Catholic School community in your own prayers as well.
Fr. Curtis Seidel
|Grades 7-12 Remote Schedule
||Virtual Morning Assembly
|11:30 AM-12:00 PM
Student-Teacher meetings (except Wednesdays)
|Grades 4-6 Hybrid AM/PM Cohorts Schedule
|Group A: AM Cohort
||Group B: PM Cohort
|8:05 AM: All School Prayer (in classroom)
||8:05 AM: All School Prayer (virtual)
|8:15-11:00 AM: Classes
||12:00-2:45 PM: Classes
October 26, 2020 - Hybrid Learning for 7-12
Beginning Tuesday (10/27)- 7th grade students will be learning remotely through Friday 10/30
Beginning Wednesday (10/28)- grades 8-12 will be learning via hybrid AM/PM cohorts this will continue until cases drop below 200/100,000 in the cities of Walla Walla and College Place. These students will move to remote learning if cases rise above 300/100,000 cases
Dear WWCS parents,
As many of you know the case count in Walla Walla County has risen dramatically over the last couple of weeks. In the cities of Walla Walla and College Place, the rate has risen from 100 per 100,000 cases during the weeks of October 3-16 to 256 per 100,000 during the weeks of October 10-23. As you may know one of those cases is a student of ours in the 7th grade and we have had a few other students who have been in close proximity to individuals who have been diagnosed with COVID 19. In each of these cases, the school has and continues to follow all of the protocols outlined by the county health department.
Unfortunately, this rise in case count triggers a change in our learning mode for grades 7 through 12. As you know, before school began the schools developed a metric for learning styles based on the metric established by the state of Minnesota. Following this metric as long as cases remain between 200 and 300 cases per 100,000 grades 7 through 12 will need to be in hybrid learning.
I have chosen to wait until Wednesday to implement this shift so as to ensure that all students and families have been informed of the changing learning mode. If you would prefer for your student to learn from home Tuesday simply contact the office Tuesday morning (509-525-3030).
Students will be in the same cohort they had been in at the beginning of the year and we will be reminding them in class what cohort that is.
This has been and unfortunately will be a time of great disruption in our life. However, by the grace of God working through our community, I believe that these crosses will aid us in our path to holiness, what St. Francis DeSales calls "the devout life." Know that I continue to pray for you and for our community.
Fr. Curtis Seidel
Dear WWCS Families,
We are so blessed to have a very active and engaged community, with very legitimate and understandable questions and concerns for the upcoming school year. Please know that the administration, teachers, staff, and Board members care about the learning of each and every child at the school. These children are precious to God, they are the future of this world, and the mission of WWCS is to ensure that each child reaches his/her potential, spiritually, physically, mentally and academically, whether online or in person.
Important Note: The answers below reflect the position of the Board as of Thursday (8/27). However, given the updated timeline and metrics released by Fr. Seidel earlier today (9/1), some of the information presented may no longer be applicable to the current situation.
Frequently Asked Questions Regarding WWCS Reopening Plans
Q: Why did the school implement a “Phase-in” plan?
School administration, faculty, and staff worked collaboratively with the Walla Walla County Health Department to develop a plan that would allow students to begin in-person instruction in the fall. Unfortunately, these plans were derailed on August 6, 2020 when Governor Jay Inslee announced the Washington State Department of Health’s new recommendations for resuming in-person instruction.
These recommendations were directed to both public and private K-12 schools, and advised that schools in “High Risk” counties should revert to remote learning. Walla Walla County is considered “High Risk” because we have had, on average, more than 75 new cases per 100,000 people in the last 14-day period. Currently, Walla Walla County’s “Rolling Average” sits at 287.8 on the state dashboard.
On August 13, 2020, Bishop Thomas Daly and the Diocesan Office of Education informed us that “Schools within the Catholic Diocese of Spokane will continue to follow the guidance from Governor Inslee’s office and the local Spokane Department of Health (DOH) as a minimum standard.” The Diocese recommended a “phase in” model, which is more fully described in this letter. In order to get additional time to determine what that meant for Walla Walla Catholic Schools, Father Curtis Seidel immediately announced that the new start date for School would be delayed to September 8th, placing us on a similar timeline to other Walla Walla schools.
In addition, the School began receiving conflicting information from its insurance carrier about the risk it would face if it reopened in the fall in contravention of state, local, and diocesan guidelines. The School’s insurer advised that it is “of the utmost importance that [its] guidelines be followed in addition to state and local government guidelines.” After consulting with local health officials and the Diocese, it became clear that the plan to fully reopen the School would need to be delayed.
Faced with these challenges, Father Seidel announced on August 20th that school would begin in-person for grades K-2, and remotely for grades 3-12.
On Wednesday (8/26), Fr. Seidel spoke directly with representatives of Catholic Mutual, the school’s insurance company, and learned that departing from the state’s COVID-19 case rate recommendations would not itself invalidate the school’s insurance coverage. Fr. Seidel shared this information with the Board the following day (8/27) at the monthly Board meeting.
Q: Who made the decision for the Schools to begin remotely?
This was an administrative decision made by Father Seidel and Principal John Lesko.
Q: Did the Board vote on this?
The Board was advised of the Administration’s decision. Because this decision resulted, in part, from Diocesan directives, no vote was necessary to approve the administrative change. Additionally, the Board felt that additional information and public comment was necessary before any vote could be taken.
Q: Did the Bishop really say that the School must close?
The formal position of the Bishop was set forth in the August 13th letter from the Diocesan Office of Education, which indicated that the State’s guidance is a “minimum standard” for Diocesan schools and that a return to in-person instruction should be “phased-in.” Father Seidel and Mr. Lesko have been working closely with the Bishop to determine how fast we can accomplish a “phase-in” for all grades at the School. In fact, even at the writing of this letter, new developments from the Diocese are forthcoming.
Q: Can the Board simply ignore the Diocese’s directive?
No. Though the Articles of Incorporation that created the School allow the Board to manage the School’s “temporal affairs,” the School’s Bylaws clearly state that the Bishop has authority over school activities beyond the spiritual. These Bylaws are online for all to review. Among other things, they say that the “educational work” of the School “shall at all times be conducted in accordance with the…policies of the Diocese of Spokane pertaining to Catholic Schools.” See Bylaws at Section 1.2. They also specifically say that the Board is required to follow all of the Bishop’s directives:
It shall be the obligation of the Board of Directors…to see to it that Walla Walla Catholic Schools acts in conformity with Canon Law and, in particular, with the following Canons:
* * *
Canon 806: The Diocesan Bishop has the right to watch over and inspect the Catholic school situated in his territory, even those established or directed by members of religious institutes. He has also the right to issue directives concerning the general regulation of Catholic schools; these directives apply also to schools conducted by members of a religious institute, although they retain their autonomy in the internal management of their schools.
* * *
See Bylaws at Section 6.1. Because the Diocese issued a directive about using the State’s guidance as a “minimum standard,” the Board and the Administration are required to follow it until changed.
Q: Why don’t you try to change the Bishop’s mind?
Father Seidel has been meeting with the Bishop about the School’s reopening plans and the speed in which we can “phase in” in-person instruction. He has the best chance of pushing towards a reopening approved by the Diocese. In any event, the priests (including our Canonical Administrator Father Nicks) are designated as the proper liaison between the School and the Bishop. See Bylaws Section VI. Fr. Seidel went to Spokane on Friday (8/28) to continue this conversation and met with the bishop
Q: What about the other Catholic schools that are reopening in the Diocese?
We are not in the same situation as every other school in the Diocese. Some of the Catholic schools designated to reopen are located in counties that are not designated high-risk or have health departments that are willing to specifically approve a variation. Unfortunately, those circumstances don’t apply to us. Moreover, other schools are not “Diocesan” schools” that are subject to fidelity to the Bishop as we are.
In any event, these schools are not fully reopening. For example, Gonzaga Prep has 1 day in-person and 4 days remote learning. While Tri-Cities Prep has students phased in by class, starting with smaller cohorts, and only going 2 days a week in person. As our unique situation allows us to open up, we will be pursuing a phase-in approach.
Q: Can’t we sign a waiver and accept the risk of starting school in person?
The Diocese developed a Risk Acknowledgment form that the Administration is revising to meet our local needs. The waiver will be updated as needed to reflect changing circumstances.
Q: Why not stand up for our faith?
We are reminded that we are to render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s. Matthew 22:21. Although we may think that the State is mishandling the COVID-19 response and may disagree with the COVID-19 risk, the State does retain the authority to direct that response. It appears that this is part of what animated the Bishop’s August 13th letter. But whatever his reasoning, standing up for our faith also means that we show fidelity to the Bishop and his decisions.
Q: Why should I keep my children at WWCS?
The fundamental mission of the Walla Walla Catholic Schools remains unchanged:
“With Christ as our foundation, and in partnership with families, Walla Walla Catholic Schools forms the whole student: mind, body, and soul. We are committed to academic excellence and the development of faith and reason. Our students grow to be disciples of Jesus Christ—strong in virtue, exceptional in learning, and generous in service.”
At no other school in the Walla Walla Valley will children be formed in accord with a Catholic worldview for fulfillment in this life and the life to come. While the method of that formation must adjust to changing circumstances the purpose of our schools continues to stand firm.
Q: What about finances?
The WWCS Board of Directors has continually monitored the financial state of the schools. The emerging COVID-19 pandemic further intensified the Board and administration’s concerns. To address part of these concerns, the Board asked the administration to investigate all options including the reduction of staff. The financial report on Thursday (8/27) did not present any substantially new information, which is why there was not greater discussion. The Board will evaluate the tuition schedule at the special Board meeting (9/10) in light of changing educational modalities.
Our steadfast intention continues to be teaching your children in a fully in-person environment. While we are starting in a hybrid model due to the COVID-19 risk in our area, we have prepared to transition seamlessly and as quickly as is safely possible to an in-person teaching environment. We are also prepared to seamlessly transition between all modalities of instruction, as the situation with COVID-19 dictates throughout the year.
The Board would like to extend its immense gratitude to both Father Seidel and John Lesko. During the past month, we have seen them fight hard for in-person instruction, while maintaining a commitment to providing the safest possible teaching environment. Despite setbacks, they never gave up. Our community is blessed that they are working for us.
The WWCS Board of Directors
WWCS Phase-In Timeline and Modality Metrics for Learning
Dear Walla Walla Catholic Schools community,
A reflection found on the wall in Mother Teresa’s home for children in Calcutta says:
“What you spend years creating others could destroy overnight. Create anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous. Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, will often be forgotten. Do good anyway.
Give the best you have, and it will never be enough. Give your best anyway.
In the final analysis, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.”
Reflecting upon these last two months—with the many, many changes which have taken place—I am convicted by Mother Teresa’s reflection in the continuation of my work. From the very beginning of this pandemic, the Walla Walla Catholic Schools worked to resume in-person instruction as quickly, smoothly and safely as possible. As information and state regulations/guidelines have continued to change, the school has worked to adapt so as to function within the parameters.
We believe that we are companions on a pilgrimage to heaven. While ideally that companionship would take place entirely in-person, in our current environment we must prudently work toward that ideal, ensuring that the ideal can be done in a responsible manner according to state mandates and our opening plan.
Last Wednesday, I met with representatives of our insurance company who informed me that, while it is necessary to follow all state mandates, the recommendations set forth regarding learning modalities at different active case rates could be departed from without voiding our insurance. Since that time, I have been working with the Diocese of Spokane to solidify and approve a workable opening timeline. Our intention with this timeline is to cautiously, but purposefully move from K-2 in-person to full in-person learning.
Below are two charts, the first is the Phase-In Timeline and the second is the WWCS’s guidelines on learning modality based on current case rates in Walla Walla and College Place. As such, our phase-in timeline is dependent upon our area being within the parameters articulated in the modality guideline.
Sadly, circumstances could change tomorrow or even today, which would make void this work. However, I am thankful for the work of Mr. Lesko, all of the faculty and Katie Reickers at the Diocese of Spokane for helping us move forward, at least for the moment. Please pray for me that I might continue to “give the best [I] have” even though it might not be enough.
President, Walla Walla Catholic Schools
In-Person Instruction Phase-In Timeline
On Thursday the school will release the AM/PM hybrid schedule and the list of students for each cohort.
WWCS Learning Modality Guide
Further information about the nature of the school’s insurance and guidance from the Diocese has allowed the WWCS to depart from the recommendations set forth by the state of Washington. However, it is the position of WWCS and the Diocese that the school has some metric by which to judge the prudent learning modality. As such, the WWCS has adapted the metrics of the state of Minnesota in light of Washington State’s mandated spacing requirements and the small size of our student population. The below guide is, of course, contingent on its continued permissibility within Washington State’s mandates and requirements. If, for example, Washington state were to shift the status of its decision tree from a recommendation to a requirement, the WWCS guide would no longer be applicable.
A Note on the Events of the Past Two Months
Over the course of the past two months, the WWCS, like many schools, has experienced a great deal of turbulence and changes as we sought to formulate our plans for the fall. Given the complexity of these changes, we have provided below a timeline with the major events and communications that have taken place affecting our opening plans.
A Message from the President: New Start Date for School will be September 8
Dear Walla Walla Catholic Schools community,
Above the main entrance to DeSales is a stained glass window which states, “Be who you are and be that well to give glory to the Master Craftsman, whose handiwork you are.” Who we are as a school is very clear to me, we are an apostolate of the Church with the mission to “form disciples of Jesus Christ: strong in virtue, exceptional in learning, and generous in service.” While this identity never changes, the way by which we live it out must always adjust so as to “be that well” in the ever changing world in which we live. Normally, such changes are relatively small steps of continuous improvement. However, in our current environment these changes are much bigger, rapid and fluid.
On August 5, the governor, and subsequently the State Department of Health, released guidelines for schools regarding the educational modality the state recommends under different conditions of COVID-19 infections. Given the spike in cases in Walla Walla, we are currently a “High” risk county, triggering a recommendation to move entirely to remote learning, with limited exceptions. These metrics have prompted the public schools in our area to make such a move.
While our school is prepared to make such a move if necessary, we believe that for most students and most families, it is best for students to be physically at school, in person, as much as possible. As such, we have been in communication with our local health department, our faculty, and our school board. Additionally, schools across the diocese are in similar situations and so we have been working with the school leadership team of all of our diocesan schools to discern the best way to be “be who we are” in the season of COVID-19.
Through all of these conversations I have decided that the best thing for our students is to move our start date to Tuesday, September 8, 2020, the Tuesday after Labor Day. Our original start date had been situated substantially before any other school’s start date, and is now more in accord with our broader community. This change allows our leadership team to work with our board and teachers to ensure that we are opening safely in the manner that best supports families and students.
This change is consistent with similar changes being made by our fellow Catholic schools in many parts of the Diocese of Spokane. I recognize that this change is disruptive to the lives and plans of our families and am sorry to be the cause of such disruption. However, by making this adjustment, it will better position our school to live the culture of consistency which we have embraced in our community.
Given this change of date, we will also be rescheduling our planned Community Meeting. Rather than taking place tonight, it will take place next Thursday, August 20, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. By this time, we will be releasing our opening plans and structures for any adjustments that will be made as the school year progresses.
“Be who you are and be that well to give glory to the Master Craftsman who created you.” Simple words, but difficult words. This will be a hard year, even in the best of opening situations. Our students will not receive everything that they would under normal circumstances. However, guided by the grace of the Holy Spirit, we are committed to providing the best environment for student formation possible within the circumstances of this time. Our Walla Walla Catholic Schools community does hard things because that is what is best for our kids. And it is through the growth of our kids as disciples of Jesus Christ—strong in virtue, exceptional in learning, and generous in services—that God, the Master Craftsman, is glorified.
-Father Curtis Seidel
President of Walla Walla Catholic Schools
WWCS REOPENING PLAN (August 4, 2020)
Dear Walla Walla Catholic School Community,
In the summer of 2006, I had the privilege of leading a pro-life pilgrimage from Los Angeles to Washington, DC. This 12-week journey involved extensive planning, ongoing support, and multiple pairs of shoes as I walked 20-25 miles per day and the group covered 60-80 miles per day. As you can imagine, a summer walk through the southern states can be a bit grueling. We had days and weeks in which the temperatures rose to over 100 degrees; passing Dallas, the humidity set in, making 80 degrees felt like 100 and making 100 completely unbearable. Shortly before entering Louisiana on July 5th, our RV was hit by a Jeep, totaling the RV. Fortunately, there were only minor injuries, but what was already a difficult journey became all the more daunting. But, by the grace of God, the work of our group, and the support of the community, we were able to continue on, ultimately finishing our pilgrimage on time, five weeks later.
We believe that all members of the WWCS community are companions on a pilgrimage to heaven. The school’s work in this pilgrimage is to form students to be disciples of Jesus Christ: strong in virtue, exceptional in learning, and generous in service. Like my pilgrimage to DC nearly 15 years ago, the pilgrimage of our school is never an easy one: it is full of challenges every year and even under normal conditions, the various “heats” that we experience can feel unbearable. Yet, this year, responding to the global pandemic is added on top of the school year's normal stressors.. Many of the normal “vehicles” which we would use on our journey have been impeded or are unavailable to us. Yet, as on my pilgrimage to Washington, DC, I believe that God is guiding us by His grace, in and through our community, as we continue together on our pilgrimage to heaven.
In the following pages, you will find our plan for re-opening. Recognizing that we learn best in person, the primary goal and intention of the school is to open and remain open for in-person instruction. To do this, we must operate within the structures established by both the state and the diocese. Despite this intention to be in-person this year, it is possible that the state may require us to move to a model of remote learning. Whichever learning model offered will present challenges to fulfilling our purpose. Our nature as companions on pilgrimage is impeded when things so natural as a handshake, hug, and even a smile are not readily available, and are all the more so if it becomes impossible to physically be in the same space. Yet, difficult does not mean impossible, and as we know, nothing is impossible for God. As such, during this time we must lean all the more deeply on our foundational principles if we are to continue in our shared purpose.
As disciples of Jesus Christ, we must unite today’s unique struggles all the more deeply to the cross of Christ. As disciples strong in virtue, we must make a conscious effort to cultivate habits of human excellence, in particular love, patience, and forgiveness. As disciples exceptional in learning, we must focus all the more carefully on the central objectives to be taught and learned. And, disciples generous in service, we must always look outside of ourselves and our own families to care for one another, making sure that, on this pilgrimage, no one is left behind.
Father Curtis Seidel, president
Walla Walla Catholic Schools
WWCS Reopening Plan (removed pending updates)
Principles for Remote Learning
Should we need to transition to an online learning environment, Walla Walla Catholic Schools upholds the following Principles for Remote Learning:
Culture of Companionship
We learn at our best when we continually support each other. In a remote environment, this means continuing to build relationships and to support the spiritual, relational, emotional, and physical needs of students, parents, and teachers.
Culture of Clarity
Culture of Consistency and Correction
A consistent learning environment is one of the keys to fostering a healthy learning environment. However, consistency cannot become intransigence. Therefore, while the fundamental structures of remote learning will remain as consistent as possible, corrections within those structures will be made as we continue to learn how to best help students learn in extraordinary circumstances.
Culture of Communication
Balancing feedback from last semester, the WWCS is committed to keeping all families and community members informed of all important information, while striving not to overwhelm them through excessive or unclear communication.
Return-to-School Plans: Full-Time, In-Person School for All Grade Levels (July 23, 2020)
Dear Walla Walla Catholic School families,
Over the course of the late spring and through the summer, we, along with members of the community, worked to establish our protocols for a return-to-school in the fall. Some of the details continue to be in flux, and, as we have become accustomed, everything is subject to change. However, we would like to take a moment to provide a summary of the plan as it exists under the current state and diocesan requirements.
Full-Time, In-Person School: Under the current guidelines, we will be able to offer all students in-person instruction all day, every day. We believe that by its nature, in-person instruction provides a better learning environment for students, and we are happy that we will be able to offer that for our families. However, we must balance this learning with the loving concern for the immunocompromised members of our community. These adjustments are made for the good of our community and are in accordance with state regulations. Below are some of the fundamental pieces:
Masks—All students, faculty, staff and guests will be required to wear a mask or face shield while at school. There are exceptions for specific medical conditions.
Social Distancing—All classroom desks and/or tables will be arranged to allow for 6 feet of social distancing when students are seated.
Classroom Transitions—Student movement between classrooms will be minimized to the extent possible. At the junior high and the high school level, class composition changes from subject to subject and, therefore, more movement will be necessary. However, classrooms are being assigned to limit movement. Any transitions for students will be directed with social distancing.
Arrival Health Screenings—At the start of every day and prior to entering the buildings, all students will have their temperature taken, and will be asked a series of basic health questions regarding COVID symptoms. Students who exhibit a fever, or who are otherwise sick, will not be able to enter the building.
Staggered Start/End Times—To facilitate entry and exit of the building, and to minimize contact with students outside of their grade,, start and end times will be staggered. The exact details of those times are currently being finalized and will be sent out when confirmed.
Staggered Lunches—Lunch times will also be staggered as a means of limiting contact. We are still finalizing where students will eat lunch.. It is a possibility that lunch will be in the classroom, but we are also exploring other options, to enable a change of space for the students in a physically, socially and emotionally healthy way.
Recess—We believe recess and recreation are essential parts of human happiness. While the nature of recess will look different in the coming year, recess will still be held.
Before and After School Gatherings and Activities—Like recess, we believe that before and after school activities are both formally and informally important in supporting our students. We are working on plans to provide opportunities that are safe and in accordance with state requirements.
Sports—the WIAA has adjusted the sports seasons and wants to be able to offer sports this coming year. As a school, we believe that sports are a valuable part of our students' formation and will be working to offer some form of sports option even if inter-school competition is not possible.
Liturgies—Weekly Mass is perhaps the most important activity our students participate in. While it might not be possible for all students to gather at a single Mass, we will be making every effort to ensure that our students are able to go to Mass every week.
We are grateful for your patience in the evolving nature of this situation. As we move closer to our planned first day of school on August 24, more details will be available. We will communicate additional information in the coming weeks.
Sincerely in Christ,
John Lesko, principal, and Father Curtis Seidel, president
Walla Walla Catholic Schools
A Message from the Principal: Reopening Plans (July 9, 2020)
As we continue to assemble plans for our Fall 2020 reopening, we wanted to share some current information with you.
In the spring, we provided families with a survey to better assist how we serve students and families during the time of our at-home learning. We found the information valuable in adjusting instruction for our students and families. As we prepare plans for reopening in the Fall of 2020, we would also like to solicit input from our parents and guardians on items they find important moving forward. We invite you to complete the survey by July 17 so as to help in finalizing our reopening plans.
While there is still uncertainty and clarification needed with guidelines and conditions that may change, we are developing plans under current guidelines and preparing contingencies to adjust for a fluid situation. We are committed to school beginning on August 24. We continue to work with diocesan principals, area administrators and our local health department in crafting our framework for reopening plans for this fall.
Parent input through the survey and work with our staff will help finalize these plans. As part of our preparation for having students on campus, we have reviewed our building and classroom capacities with our current enrollment. We have examined the guidelines and protocols that will be necessary to plan for student health and safety when students are on campus including:
- Classroom setup and social distancing
- Masks and face shields
- Student health screening
- Lunch, recess and transition times
Our schools and maintenance personnel have reviewed and prepared using the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Health Department guidelines for cleaning and student hygiene. Additional preparation and equipment has been added to address these areas. Working with our local health department, our planning includes limiting exposure and transmission, and additional protocols should there be any exposure or transmission.
Our planning has also involved how to best use online instruction should it be needed, required or requested. We have guidelines and mandates we must adhere to for our reopening of our schools in the fall.
We would appreciate input through the survey on the best way to adhere to these guidelines and best serve the educational and safety needs of our families. We understand that all families are at various levels of how to proceed with school. Your input will help us better understand how to serve you within our resources. Thank you in advance for taking the time to assist us with this valuable step.
7th and 8th Grade Update
Below is updated information for students and parents.
7th and 8th graders will continue to wear uniforms under the same uniform dress code they had at Assumption. Information on this and ordering of sweatshirts will be provided in the coming weeks.
- Cheryl Sutlick will serve as the 8th grade homeroom teacher. Mrs. Sutlick will also serve as our Middle School Activities and ASB coordinator.
- Jo Anna Gogl and Christy Richard will serve as 7th grade homeroom teachers.
- Nick Hazeltine will continue as Athletic Director for sports at DeSales and Assumption.
Teaching Assignments and Schedules
- In a previous email on staffing, we failed to mention the following:
- Cathy Hamada will be teaching Math 7 and Grade 8 Algebra
- Greg Fazzari will be teaching Math Grade 8 (Pre-Algebra)
Next week, information will be sent to parents regarding options for Middle School electives as well as the student's teacher recommendation for 8th grade Math.
5th and 6th Grade Update
Additional information will be forthcoming with more details regarding the class, including how we will initially handle the class size with social distancing, but at this time our planning includes the following:
6th grade will be separated for the following classes.
- Math will be taught by Cathy Hamada
- Language Arts will be taught by Lynne Kuntz
- Religion will be taught by Jo Anna Gogl
All of these teachers will work with our primary teacher, Jenny Wood, to create consistency and transition in these classes. While the 6th grade students are working with these teachers, Mrs. Wood will be working with the 5th graders in similar subjects. There also may be some individualized instruction or ability grouping occurring during this time.
We are also looking at having Eric Rohde provide computer instruction to the 4th, 5th and 6th grade classes. This may allow for Mrs. Brinson to work collaboratively with Mrs. Wood in Science with the 5th and 6th grade class.
We appreciate your flexibility and understanding of our evolving situation and know that there are many questions left unanswered. We will do our best to continue to communicate as we have additional details.
-John Lesko, Principal
Complete the Parent Survey on the return to school.
April 30 Message from Principal Lesko - Academic Calendar and End of Year Activities
In addition to the academic efforts of our faculty and staff at Assumption and DeSales, we have been planning for our end of the year activities. Due to the ever-changing guidelines, we have continued to plan with flexibility. More detailed information will be communicated in the upcoming weeks as we finalize details, but below are a few of the items we are currently working on.
As of this time, our plan is to follow the days identified on our WWCS 2019-2020 school calendar regarding non-school days and completion date. Because of our efforts to transition to at-home learning immediately following our last completed in-school day, we are able to remain in compliance with our 180 day school year, as required by the state without requesting a waiver.
Some of you inquired about the state requiring public schools to stay in session until June 19. This will take many different forms among districts. As a reminder, WWCS started the school year prior to the public schools did not pause instruction as a result of COVID-19. WWCS is confident in the days of instruction we provided.
Students who faced challenges during this learning period will be provided time to complete the standards identified at each grade level or class.
Assumption Middle School and DeSales High School staffs are working how semester finals will be provided. We will finalize plans over the next couple of weeks and provide communication at that time.
8th Grade Promotion and 8th Grade Trip
The Assumption Middle School staff and myself are developing plans for the 8th grade promotion ceremony. The date and event will be finalized within the next couple of weeks.
We are also looking at the possibility of combining some sort of trip or day in conjunction with a DeSales Freshman Orientation Day prior to the 2020-2021 school year. Of course, much of this will depend on what is permitted prior to the upcoming school year.
The DeSales staff and the class of 2020 graduates and parents are reviewing possibilities for the 2020 DeSales Graduation. We hope to have plans for Graduation finalized in the next couple of weeks.
We appreciate all your efforts, support and understanding as we work toward the completion of the 2019-2020 school year. As always, if we can be of more assistance, please reach out to us.
May God continue to bless you and your families,
April 7 Message from Principal John Lesko
April 6 Update from WWCS
WWCS Families and Friends,
Today, Washington State Governor Jay Inslee announced that all K-12 schools statewide must be closed for the remainder of the school year. While we are saddened by this news, we understand the importance of keeping our community healthy. We continue to be fully committed to providing quality Catholic education to every one of our students for the remainder of the year. Rest assured we will be continually improving our distance learning. There will be many questions that need to be answered in the coming weeks but we hope that for today you can enjoy Spring Break and the blessed holiday of Easter with your families. More information will be forthcoming.
Older posts have been archived but are available on request.