UPDATE: Following a March 13 announcement from Gov. Jay Inslee mandating the closure of schools in Washington, all Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Seattle are closed from March 17 through at least April 24.
SEATTLE – All Catholic schools within the Seattle Public School District boundaries will close for two weeks beginning March 16 due to the coronavirus.
“We did not make this decision lightly,” Kristin Dixon, the archdiocese’s superintendent of schools said in a March 11 letter to principals and pastors. “We recognize the hardship this places on families; at the same time, we must protect the common good. Our government leaders urge us to take these steps to slow the spread of this global pandemic. Our Catholic faith compels us to consider and protect those most vulnerable in our society.”
After “numerous” consultations with public health and local government officials, the CDC and Archbishop Paul D. Etienne, “we have decided that our Catholic schools will follow the lead of the local public school districts,” Dixon explained. “If a local public school district closes, then the Catholic schools within that district’s boundaries will also close.”
The Seattle district announced a two-week closure on March 11, following the announcement by Gov. Jay Inslee banning gatherings of more than 250 people in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties through the end of March, and the announcement by King County Executive Dow Constantine that smaller gathering would be prohibited unless steps are taken to minimize the health risks.
The closure of Catholic schools within the Seattle district, which extends through March 30, includes any planned school events such as fundraisers and field trips. School buildings will not be open to children, parents or community members during the closure, the superintendent said.
“All other Catholic schools will remain open and should follow the lead of their local public school districts,” she said, adding that principals should continue working on plans for closures that may be required in the coming weeks.
“This has been an unprecedented time for all of us,” Dixon wrote. “I know there has been uncertainty and anxiety these past few weeks. I thank you for your continued leadership and faith.”