2020-2021 Learning Plans at HNA

Update: October 23, 2020

As the end of the first academic quarter approaches (on October 30), Holy Names Academy has decided that classes will remain online-only for the present. In making this decision, the school is following recommendations from Public Health–Seattle & King County and the Washington State Department of Health. The current COVID-19 infection rate of 94 per 100,000 in King County is in the High-Risk Category for opening schools, according to the Department of Health’s Decision Tree for Provision of In-Person Learning among K-12 Students at Public and Private Schools during the COVID-19 Pandemic. The Department of Health has advised schools to pause any plans for bringing students back to campus for in-person instruction.

From Liz Swift, Head of School & Principal: "We recognize that this will disappoint students, who were looking forward to returning for in-person instruction. It is disappointing for us. We know that students learn best when they can interact in person with each other and their teachers. As we move forward, we will continue to closely monitor the infection rates and all recommendations for schools."

Previous Update:
  • August 6, 2020

    Update: August 6, 2020

    After careful consideration of many factors, especially new recommendations from Governor Inslee on August 5, Holy Names Academy will open the school year online on August 26. We are confident that we can again provide an excellent and engaging online learning experience for our students, and we are prepared to transition to a hybrid learning model when infection rates for COVID-19 go down in King County. We will continue to closely monitor infection rates in King County and all recommendations for schools.

    As outlined by the Governor, King County is considered to be in the High Risk Category for opening schools, based on the incidence of new cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 residents that occur over a two-week interval. High risk is considered as 75 new cases per 100,000 residents; King County is currently at 99 per 100,000 residents. With this level of infection, schools are strongly recommended to use distance learning and to cancel or postpone all in-person co-curricular activities. The Governor’s press conference on August 5 provided additional background information about the process for developing these new recommendations for schools.

    Parent, Faculty Input
    In making our decision, we also considered the responses from parents and faculty to an August survey. We have also had recent conversations with the Washington State Department of Health and King County Public Health.

    The Best Possible Experience for Students
    We recognize that this decision will disappoint many students who were looking forward to returning to in-person education. All our teachers and administrators are committed to providing the best possible experience for students. The week prior to the opening of school, teachers and staff will be engaged in work-shops and discussions to further enhance the successful online program HNA implemented last spring.

Online-Only Model

During periods of online-only instruction, Holy Names Academy uses a synchronized learning model for remote instruction. Students are expected to attend class online Monday through Friday via Microsoft Teams videoconferencing tools;  teachers will take attendance. This model provides an engaging and structured experience for students, and afforded teachers more teaching tools and strategies than an asynchronous model of prerecorded lessons. Classes can have real-time discussion and participate in small group work as appropriate.

While no remote-learning model can fully replace in-person instruction, large-group discussions as well as the ability to join a small-group “channel” for more one-on-one interaction help bring students “into the classroom” for demonstrations and collective lab experiences.

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SPRING 2020:  AP Environmental Science STUDENTS AND TEACHER MICHAEL BACHUBER Connect virtually via Microsoft Teams.

Committed to Safety, Education, and Support

Holy Names Academy is committed foremost to the safety of our students, faculty, and staff. Throughout the spring and summer of 2020, our COVID-19 Response Task Force worked to develop a safe and effective hybrid model of in-person and online instruction. When the school is able to transition to the hybrid model, administrators will continue to closely monitor health and safety recommendations.

We also developed parallel plans for the various student activities and the social interactions that are so essential to the full development of our students. 

At the heart of our hybrid plan is the educational philosophy that students learn best when there is real-time engagement—between student and teacher, and between student and student. The Microsoft Teams platform provides us with this capability, while the in-person instruction adds the benefits of increased personalization and such experiences as demonstrations in science, art, mathematics, and international languages.

When it is safe to do so, we would then transition the school back to full in-person instruction. We are always prepared to revert to our excellent and engaging online-only program if the need arises.

Hybrid Model

To provide the appropriate physical distancing, half of the school’s students will attend classes in-person on any given day while the other half will simultaneously attend the same classes at home via a MS Teams Conference Call. We have tested a variety of classroom cameras and sound systems to provide a quality experience for students in class and at home alike. This summer, our teachers were trained in utilizing the new equipment, and much of our August faculty-inservice days are devoted to teaching strategies and good practices in this hybrid model.

In addition to reducing the number of students on campus at any given time, the Academy is implementing various strategies to keep students and staff safe at school, such as requiring face masks, reconfiguring classrooms and offices for increased physical distancing, health screening, and increasing the sanitizing of spaces – to name a few.

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the hybrid model: fewer Classroom desks allow for 6 ft. of distance; new Cameras and Speakers at the front of the classroom allow at-home students to attend class more actively and participate in real-time.


Athletic Director Lacey London is working closely with the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association (WIAA) as well as the Metro League and HNA’s coaches on athletic practice and competition for the fall season. In compliance with the major changes made to the high-school sports season calendar in July by the WIAA, Holy Names Academy has set the following tentative schedule of seasons. Note that WIAA has reshaped the traditional three athletic seasons into four.

  • HNA Sports 2020-2021 by Season with tentative season dates:

    WIAA Season 1 (Fall)

    Regular season: September 7, 2020—October 31, 2020
    HNA will not offer any WIAA sports

    WIAA Season 2 (Winter): Basketball, Bowling, Gymnastics

    Regular Season : December 28, 2020—February 20, 2021
    WIAA Culminating Event Week: February 22–27, 2021

    WIAA Season 3 (Early Spring): Cross Country, Soccer, Swim & Dive, Volleyball

    Regular Season: March 1–April 24, 2021
    WIAA Culminating Event Week: April 26–May 1, 2021

    WIAA Season 4 (Late Spring): Golf, Fastpitch Softball, Tennis, Track & Field

    Regular Season: April 26–June 19, 2021
    WIAA Culminating Event Week: June 21–26, 2021

    WIAA COVID timeline by sport – All Dates

    Holy Names Academy Independent Non-WIAA Sports:

    Crew: To be determined
    Lacrosse: Washington Schoolgirls Lacrosse Association will follow WIAA Season 4 Dates
    Ultimate Frisbee: will follow WIAA Season 4 Dates


For choral students, some “singing” will be performed with students spread out in the auditorium and using closed- mouth humming with masks on. This will give students a chance to safely work during rehearsal in preparation for at-home use of practice tracks.

Instrumentalists should plan on playing their instruments either in person in the orchestra room (distanced appropriately) or separated into different rooms and taking advantage of technology in the Music Loge, either existing or being acquired during the summer. This in-person training will likely be combined with a remote-learning curriculum covering units in music theory, ear training, music production, composition, and conducting.

Concerts: There will be a virtual Winter Concert featuring all of our ensembles.

Theatre & Film

The fine arts are an integral part of the education of the whole person as well as of the provision of a tight-knit community at HNA. We are working closely with the theatrical licensing companies to explore ways that will safely allow rehearsals and performances of our fall play and spring musical.

Broadway and Musical Theatre International are working in conjunction with COVID Health and Safety Specialists to redevelop and re-imagine safe-on-stage musicals with safety guidelines for performers and crew. In addition, newly written stage directions for mainstream musicals ensure proper physical-distancing recommendations while maintaining the integrity of the production. We are excited at the possibility of streaming our productions, which will not only provide the opportunity for our cast and crew to showcase their talents, but also allow for a larger audience worldwide.

Campus Ministry & Community Service

Retreats: To provide sufficient physical distancing, the annual retreat for 9th graders will be held outside and split over two days; students will participate on one day or the other. Students will gather on the school grounds and participate in small group activities led by the Peer Mentors. The 10th-grade retreat will similarly be split over two days, but held inside the HNA building for a day of reflection and community-building. Meanwhile, the Fall Search Retreat will also take place at HNA over the course of two days instead of the previous format of a two-night, sleep-away event. Students will not spend the night at the school, but will participate in activities and discussions that follow the longstanding format of Search retreats, a much-beloved tradition at HNA.

Community Service: Community service will include more options during the 2020-2021 school year. Students will have a choice between fulfilling hours or completing a variety of activities from home.

Liturgies: For all-school liturgies, we will live-stream prayer services from the HNA chapel. Students who are in the school building that day will participate from homeroom; students at home will participate virtually.

Thank you for adhering to the following health and safety expectations for HNA students and families:

  1. Follow federal, state, local orders and recommendations
  2. Contact HNA if you or a family member contracts COVID-19.
  3. Stay home if sick and/or exposed.

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