Distance Learning 2020-21

Updated 11/18/2020
Distance Learning 2020-21

Due to current restrictions placed on private schools by the Oregon Health Authority, we are currently not able to meet for full-time on-site instruction. We have started the 2020-21 school year by doing Distance Learning for K-12, supplemented by limited on-site support. You can find the full information about how this works in our Guide to Distance Learning with On-Site Support

We are excited to partner with you during this time. Please feel free to reach out to your classroom teacher with any questions you have. We’re happy to brainstorm ways to make this work for each family’s unique situation!


Q. How does the current “freeze” affect education?

A. At this time, education is not affected by the “freeze” announced by the governor.

Q. How does the 14-day quarantine for those traveling into or returning to Oregon affect the school?

A. On November 13, the governor issued this “Travel Advisory for Non-Essential Travel”:
Persons arriving in Oregon from other states or countries, including returning Oregon residents, should practice self-quarantine for 14 days after arrival. These persons should limit their interactions to their immediate household. This recommendation does not apply to individuals who cross state or country borders for essential travel.

Q. Is SSA open for in-person instruction?

A. Washington County does not currently meet the metrics required under Governor Brown’s “Ready Schools Safe Learners” guidelines to reopen schools for in-person instruction. SSA will continue offering a robust distance learning experience with limited onsite support meetings for all students until it is safe to resume full-time on-site instruction.

Q. What should we do if a member of our household is not well?
A. Please reference this flow chart for guidance.

Q. As a private school, does SSA have to follow the same requirements as the public schools?

A. Under Governor Brown’s plan, independent schools are currently required to follow the same reopening guidelines and metrics as public schools. The governor has claimed, and the courts have so far affirmed, that she has authority to enforce these guidelines and metrics for private schools because the COVID-19 pandemic has been deemed a public health crisis.

Q. Can we start in-person instruction for K-3rd grade sooner?
A. If the county case rate is <100 cases per 100,000 population over 14 days, and if we comply with the state safety guidelines (physical distancing, masks, screening, cohorting, etc.), then we would be permitted to welcome our K-3rd students back into the classroom for in-person instruction.

Q. What will happen if there is a COVID case in the SSA community?
A. Every situation is unique and requires a tailored response. We will work closely with the local public health authorities to determine the necessary actions/communications at that time. In certain cases, a confirmed COVID diagnosis might necessitate a student, class, cohort, or larger part of the school to stop participating in on-site meetings for a period of time.

Q. Will tuition stay the same while we’re doing distance learning?
A. The school’s ability to maintain a faculty, support staff, and facility capable of providing excellent distance learning with in-person, on-site instruction depends on each family supporting the school through regular tuition payments. It would make sense to adjust costs and reduce tuition if we planned to offer only online classes for the entire year. However, if we want to have the option of returning to in-person instruction at any point during the year, we need to support a structure that allows for that option and share the cost while we wait for Governor Brown to allow schools to reopen.

Q. What events do you plan to hold this year?
A. We have a number of event traditions that we treasure at SSA. With the current restrictions, it is unlikely that we will be able to hold any on-site events during Term 1. We will continue to evaluate opportunities to hold other events throughout the year and do what we can to fulfill the purposes of any canceled events in a safe and meaningful way.

Who to Contact

If you are connected in any way to a confirmed case of COVID-19, please notify Hayley Emly immediately.

If you have specific questions about the SSA Distance Learning Plan, please contact one of the following:

General COVID-19 Information

In the midst of all our questions about coronavirus and its potential effects on our lives, it would be helpful for us to dwell on God’s promises in Psalm 91, which we might unofficially dub the coronavirus psalm.

Consider some of the lines from this psalm:

I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”

The opening verses of this psalm remind us that our security is not found in this life, but in the presence of the Lord, who is the only sure source of protection against the threats that come from within and without. It is in times like this that our true source of confidence is exposed. Are we trusting in soap? In masks? In isolation? Or are we entrusting our bodies and souls to God?

For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler
and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his pinions,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.
You will not fear the terror of the night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness,
nor the destruction that wastes at noonday.

The psalmist lists various forms of serious danger – traps, disease, terrors in the night, flying arrows, and anything else that would destroy us. The Lord is our deliverer from deadly things. Therefore, we should not fear. He will not let anything touch us that is not a part of his good plans for our lives. He surrounds us, like a wall around a city. He covers us, like a mother bird covers her chicks beneath her wings. And his faithfulness is a shield to us in the midst of the uncertainty of life.

Because you have made the Lord your dwelling place—
the Most High, who is my refuge—
no evil shall be allowed to befall you,
no plague come near your tent.

The psalmist writes this long before the development of modern medicine, in a time when everyday illness could be deadly, and a plague would be catastrophic. God’s authority extends even over the dangers of community sickness, and there is nothing that can truly harm us if the Lord is our dwelling place, our refuge.

I will be with him in trouble;
I will rescue him and honor him.
With long life I will satisfy him
    and show him my salvation.”

The psalm ends with the assurance of God’s presence “in trouble.” We would like to think that God desires to save us from trouble, and that something has gone horribly wrong if we experience real trouble. But the only things we can lose in this life are temporary things. The most precious things cannot be extinguished by the troubles of this life. In fact, the truly precious things are refined and improved through the fire.

The most striking thing about this psalm is the way the New Testament applies it to Jesus and his followers. Jesus is the faithful and obedient lover of God whom God delivers, but he is also our shield, the one who stands between us and the deadly arrows of sin and judgment. Jesus absorbs the real threat for us. It is on the cross that we see Jesus’ sacrificial love – his life for ours – and his death, resurrection, and ascension assure us that God will rescue us and satisfy us with everlasting life.

Remember that coronavirus may come into our lives, and it may bring real discomfort, both physical and economic. But it cannot truly harm those who abide in the shadow of the Almighty. He is our refuge and our fortress, our God, in whom we trust.