Anticipating an Outbreak

Community braces for COVID-19 impact


Photo: Mauricio Garcia

In response to an outbreak of COVID-19 in King County, UPrep has installed new hand sanitizing stations throughout campus to promote healthy behavior among students. At time of press, the Washington Department of Health has reported 10 deaths and 39 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Washington.

Following deaths within King County due to COVID-19 — commonly referred to as the coronavirus — Assistant Head of School and Director of Upper School Ken Jaffe made an announcement on Monday, Mar. 2, addressing University Prep’s approach to the outbreak.

Jaffe informed students that the school is basing decisions off of information from the Center for Disease Control, King County Public Health and UPrep parents who work in the medical field, while also taking into account the decisions of other local schools.

Jaffe encouraged students and faculty to wash their hands frequently and stay home if sick.

To increase healthy behavior within UPrep, the school has added new hand sanitizing stations throughout campus.

Additionally, all Global Link trips scheduled for the spring were canceled, and UPrep’s partner school in Kobe, Japan, decided to cancel its visit to UPrep later this semester.

According to Interim Head of School Lila Lohr, if administrators deem it necessary to close school in order to protect the health of students and their families, UPrep plans for teachers to continue teaching using Schoology and Zoom, a video conferencing platform. Currently, UPrep is setting up workshops to help teachers learn how to effectively teach their classes through an online format.

In terms of what a typical academic day might look like, if school were canceled, Lohr says the administration is currently discussing a schedule that involves 30 minutes of online class time for each scheduled class with time to virtually meet with teachers in the afternoon.

Though UPrep is crafting plans in case of a school closure, Jaffe reminded students that the situation surrounding COVID-19 is constantly evolving.

“Be thoughtful, be smart, be safe, and we will keep you posted on this rapidly changing event,” Jaffe said.