Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information

Coronavirus News Updates

Campus Closed for Remainder of 2019-20 School Year 

The Overlake School is continually monitoring the ever-changing COVID-19, or coronavirus outbreak. Administration officials and members of the risk management committee announced campus will be closed beginning Monday, March 9. All on-campus activities are cancelled, including athletic games and practices.

Check back here often for updates and information regarding the COVID-19 outbreak as it relates to our school operations.

Virtual Town Hall Meetings



Community Updates


June 12

Dear Overlake Community,

I hope this message finds you all enjoying your first few days of summer vacation with a much-needed break from the pace of the regular school year, even though these last 12 weeks have been anything but regular.  

I did want to update you on where we are in our planning for the 2020-21 school year. As you may have heard in the news yesterday, the Washington State Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) released a guide on reopening schools in the fall. This office oversees the work of all K-12 public schools in Washington and although Overlake is an independent school and part of the Northwest Association of Independent Schools (NWAIS), the OSPI information provides good direction in planning for next year.

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What's the students' schedule during distance learning?

This video tutorial link was shared with families on March 10 to help clarify the learning day. Here are the current schedules: 

How can parents/guardians support their student’s learning at this time?

It is critical that students know their schedule and are online or offline working on assignments provided to them by their teachers. Supporting this at home means checking in to ensure that students are following the schedule and engaged. Distance learning guidelines and best practices for students and parents/guardians are listed here

Outside of a student’s classmates, how can the students stay in touch with the rest of their grade level?

We have created time in the weekly schedule for advisory and are creating a plan with Advisory Team Leaders (ATLs) and our advisories for this to happen virtually.

How do students reach members of Overlake's Student Support team for academic or personal counseling?

All students are now able to Canvas message a learning specialist or personal counselor, even if the student has never contacted them before. Click here for details and contact information.

What about SAT, ACT, and AP tests?

The College Board released new information March 20 as it relates to AP testing. The ACT has provided the following language. May SAT testing has been cancelled. 

How will service credits work in the Upper School?

At this juncture we imagine being flexible with students, particularly seniors, given this disruption. We are waiving all outstanding service hours for seniors. In our current environment, it would not be possible to complete these hours. 

I am concerned that my child will be in front of a computer all day, what should I do?

We are working with faculty on managing screen time. Not all instruction will require the use of a computer. Students will still need to complete work without the use of a computer – reading a book or textbook, completing math or science problems by hand, playing an instrument, and participating in physical education. Many of these types of learning will not require the use of technology.  

My child is very resistant to go out these days. How would you handle this?

The causes for the child’s resistance are the important piece here to find out. Without that, it is really hard to have a response that is other than forcing the child. Children can be scared of the virus, tired from lack of stimulation and changes in their sleep patterns, suffering low motivation from the overall situation and screen use, or other reasons. Instead of a battle of wills, seek understanding where the child is coming from, and then teamwork on managing that need together.

This question brings up a specific situation for a student. Remember that the Student Support Department is available to talk about how we can support specific students right now, including helping you problem solve needs.

Is construction on the new Math & Sciences Center be hindered with the campus closure?

Even though campus is closed to students, faculty, and staff, construction crews have continued to work on the Math & Sciences Center. In fact, construction crews comment that having a quiet campus without students, employees and visitors around, has freed them up to work in the construction zone in a more focused way.

When school is normally in session, the teachers collaborate to be sure workload is balanced. Are the teachers speaking now to be sure huge amounts of homework doesn't get assigned inadvertently?

Yes, we are working together to ensure that teachers and students have shared expectations of workload. This will take some trial and error as we gather data about how long it takes to complete work in the new distance setting.


How are graduation requirements changing?

Service Learning: We will waive all outstanding service hours for seniors. In our current environment, it would not be possible to complete these hours.

Outdoor Education: We will waive all outstanding outdoor education trip requirements for seniors. We are not able to provide you opportunities to complete this requirement given the current situation.

Senior Projects: Dave Parsons, Senior Project Coordinator, will be communicating to seniors about new options (including those that provide for social distancing) shortly. We know that some current senior project plans can remain unchanged. The deadline for new project ideas to Dave is April 24th. We remain hopeful that seniors will be able to pursue an activity where they have a passion and will find joy. We do not intend to have seniors remain in classes beyond May 7th independent of circumstances at that date.

Project Week: This requirement has been waived for all Overlake students for this year.

What are the revised activities to recognize the senior class?

While we recognize that many of the senior class activities were impacted by the pandemic, the school has put together a modified schedule of events to honor the Class of 2020.

Is there going to be extra accommodation (in terms of extra time) for students taking their exams online? For some students typing long answers or working problems on a computer might require more time than pen and paper?

Our faculty members are aware of the additional complexities that exist when students are taking assessments online. We are being mindful of these challenges when designing assessments and hope to create experiences that are flexible enough to meet a variety of student needs.


Will classes be pass/fail or grades reported while in a distance learning model?

Teachers have the information they need to calculate quarter 3 grades. As for quarter 4, students in seventh grade through senior year who obtain a 70% or more will receive a credit for the course. Students will not see a percentage grade for their 4th quarter report card, but instead will have a rubric and comments. For more information about the decision to go to credit/no credit, please visit this FAQ.


What if our family has been financially impacted by COVID-19?

If you are experiencing financial difficulties amid the global pandemic, please reference information from our Admission office here.

Parenting Resources

Care for Your Coronavirus Anxiety, Shine

That Discomfort You're Feeling is Grief, Harvard Business Review

The Well-Being Series, Forefront

A Trauma-Informed Approach to Teaching Through Coronavirus, Teaching Tolerance

Zoom Fatigue, BBC News

Screen-Free Activities for Tweens & Teens, Simply Full of Delight

Screen-Free Activities, Seattle PI

Screen Time Balance, Screenagers movie

Digital Binging (and what to do about it), Screenagers movie

How to help a student self-pace? Use a time management app, Common Sense Media

Self-Care & Wellness for Families, Overlake Student Support

Self-Care & Wellness for LGBTQ+ students, Overlake Student Support

2020 will be the year of the asterisk, The Dallas Morning News

Dear Therapist: What’s Your Advice to Parents Whose Kids Are Stuck at Home During the Coronavirus Lockdowns?, The Atlantic

Coronavirus Anxiety- Helpful Expert Tips and Resources, Anxiety & Depression Association of America

5 Ways to Help Teens Manage Anxiety About the Coronavirus, The NY Times

Help Your Family De-Stress During Coronavirus Uncertainty, Common Sense Media

7 Science-based Strategies to Cope with Coronavirus Anxiety, The Conversation

Shine (an interactive website with helpful self-care exercises)

Guidelines of gatherings of children and youth while schools are closed, King County Dept. of Health

How to Talk to Kids about Coronavirus, The NY Times

Talking to Children about COVID-19, National Association of School Psychologists

Talking to Kids about the Coronavirus, Child Mind Institute

Helping Children Cope, video from CBC News

Government Resources

Here are resources from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the King County Department of Health:

CDC Tips for Keeping Healthy During the Outbreak

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Stay home when you are sick
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe
  • Wash your hands often
    • with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after
      • going to the bathroom
      • before eating
      • after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
    • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol
    • Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty
  • Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a face mask