About Us

COVID-19 Planning for Fall 2020

Annie Wright Schools continue to think compassionately about everyone around the world affected by the coronavirus. Here at school, we are committed to providing the exceptional Annie Wright experience to the fullest extent possible while prioritizing the health and safety of our community. 

We plan to resume on-campus education, residential life, student activities and more while adhering to public health guidelines. We will continue to plan for contingencies, including the continuation of remote learning, should they be needed.

FAQs for Fall 2020

Summer@Annie Wright

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New Calendar

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  • What safety protocols are you planning to put in place?

    Our school nurse, Paula Coumou, has been working closely with schools in Europe that have begun to reopen and, through their recommendations and the advice of the CDC, we are forming expectations around masks. You can anticipate that masks will be expected of adults as well as students in the Middle and Upper Schools. Younger students will likely be asked to wear masks when entering and exiting the building but not while in the classroom. Hand washing and hand sanitizer will be paramount as well. As far as our housekeeping efforts go, we're stocking up on supplies now so we can make sure the bathrooms, classrooms, and high touch areas are regularly and vigorously cleaned. Ventilation is also going to be of the utmost importance. Students should anticipate open windows and open doors and that may mean chilly classrooms. We're considering temperature checks or health checks. It may be that we have teachers take temperatures on the way into class every day. If someone is sick, they need to stay home, and we’ll provide you with clear guidelines as to when it's safe to return.
  • Does Annie Wright have plans to modify chapel, lunch, sports and other activities that traditionally assemble students from various grades?

    We will look for ways to retain activities such as recess, which will involve smaller groups. Fortunately, we have space, both outdoor and indoor. Gone for now are the large gatherings. This means we won't hold chapel or all-school assemblies until it's safe to do so, and it also means that the dining hall will likely remain empty. Our plan is for students across the school to have lunch in their classrooms.
  • Will students still be able to go to specialists like Spanish, art and music?

    We’re waiting to see if the governor restricts the number of adults who can be with a group of students. If there is a restriction to the number of adults per group, then we would just plan to live stream from a different location.
  • If the dining hall is unused, how will students use the food service?

    Families that had planned to use our food service will still be able to do so. Box lunches will be delivered to classrooms daily and ordered using an online system through our food service provider.
  • What will happen to Extended Day both before and after school?

    We fully intend to offer Extended Day, which is an essential part of our program. We will have to make some adaptations, such as keeping students in their own spaces in the Lower and Middle Schools.
  • What happens if a student is sick?

    For the safety of all students, any student exhibiting upper respiratory symptoms will be required to stay home until those symptoms are gone.
  • Will students or staff members who are infected or exposed be put in isolation?

    Should a student exhibit any flu-like symptoms at school or any illness in general, we have created a quarantine space where we can keep them until a parent can come to pick them up. For boarding students, there are two properties across from campus where students can be quarantined, tested and monitored.
  • If a child is sick, what are the guidelines for the rest of the class?

    Nurse Paula is actively working on our guidelines around that, looking closely at CDC and Department of Health recommendations. By the time school starts we'll have very detailed information about how we intend to handle a range of health situations, including possible COVID-19 exposures and confirmed cases.

What Learning Will Look Like

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  • When does Annie Wright plan to make a decision about resuming physical versus online classes for the fall of 2020?

    We are checking daily for guidance from the governor, the state and the health community. As soon as we have permission, we will plan to reopen. Our start date is August 26, and we are optimistic that we will come together on campus once school resumes.
  • If online classes are needed, what will they look like?

    The Upper Schools have a unique challenge when transitioning into online classes because of different time zones represented within our student body. Next year, if we need to continue distance learning, we hope to be more in line with a slightly more traditional schedule. We have committed to opening our boarding department throughout the year. This means our boarding students can return and we can take advantage of a more traditional schedule. With cameras in the classrooms, we can potentially have students in a synchronous environment for longer periods of time.

    The Middle School distance learning schedule currently has core academics from 8:00 am to 12:00 pm, then an hour to meet individually with teachers, 45 minutes of athletics, and a social hour at the end of the day. This has been pretty successful according to the surveys we sent to students and parents. We will continue to make tweaks to ensure that our students remain engaged, successful and motivated. 

    In the Lower School, we tried to find a balance between being on a screen and also continuing learning. We’ve ended this distance learning experience with a good balance of live synchronous opportunities and asynchronous teaching and learning. We were able to do this because we ended the school year in a distance learning format, rather than starting the year that way. Expectations were in place, relationships were built, systems were learned, and kids knew what they needed to do. If we have to begin next year virtually, we expect that it will look different because the beginning of the school year is spent building community and we will probably need to do more live synchronous time to start.
  • For families who may not feel comfortable sending their students to school even if they are healthy, how are you ensuring those students receive a high quality education from home?

    A few weeks ago we made the decision to purchase high quality web cameras and high quality microphones for every classroom in the school. All of these classes will be live streamed via a link found behind our password protected website. Whether a student is home because they don't feel comfortable on campus or because they're not feeling well, they will still have the ability to engage their classes with teachers and classmates.
  • If school opens for in-person classes in the fall, will distance learning continue for students or families who are at high risk for serious health complications due to COVID-19?

    We’ll have live streaming options within every class. That’s going to be critical and hopefully a great option for many of our families, whether they’re worried about health concerns, or if a student is ill. That way, students will be able to not only watch class, but also participate in class.
  • Will there be an opportunity to do some online or in-person academic review for Lower or Middle School students during the summer to ensure they are ready for next year?

    We’ve yet to see the academic consequences of what we're going through. Although Annie Wright has done as good a job as it could have with online education, it's not as good as Annie Wright’s in-person education. We therefore encourage our currently enrolledPreschool to Grade 8 families to come to six weeks of camp during the summer. The academic components of the camp will focus on readiness for the fall to help ameliorate a some of the summer slide.In addition, all divisions will be sharing summer work recommendations with current and admitted families.

IB & College Preparation

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  • What is the current plan to have students fulfill IB Diploma Programme graduation requirements such as CAS and EE?

    Teachers are reporting that we have tracked our curriculum exactly as we had hoped to. This is going to position our students very well both in terms of growth and our own graduation requirements. As we look to IB exams, we think our students are going to be very well prepared. Nevertheless, IB is going to have to examine its own set of rules based on what happens going forward.
  • For upcoming seniors, what will college guidance look like? How can parents prepare for it?

    Our college counselors have already had several meetings with parents and hopefully the conversations about college have begun. If not, we will ensure that those meetings happen soon to help students plan for testing, essays and applications. College counselor Scottie Hill has arranged opportunities for Annie Wright students to take both the ACT and SAT in the fall on campus, though many colleges and universities are going test optional this year, using the COVID-19 crisis as an opportunity to rethink their admissions requirements.

Physical Activities

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  • Are you planning to continue recess, sports and PE for Lower School students?

    We’re going to take the guidance from the governor in terms of the group sizes and then creatively do the things that we can do within those parameters. Recess, PE, arts and academic classes are a little easier because we can stay within small groups. After-school activities will depend on the size of the group.
  • How will school sports look?

    We're waiting for guidance from the WIAA and the state. Potentially, we’d be able to have athletic teams at the high school level, both JV and Varsity. However, those can be fairly large in terms of the numbers. During practices, these teams would be separate as much as possible, and we plan to health check and screen coaches. Students may still be able to compete, but possibly with limited or no spectators.


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  • Will busing be impacted?

    We know that busing is essential to many of our families. We are doing everything possible to figure out how we can manage the bus service so that we can transport students in a safe and socially distanced way.

Social & Emotional Support

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  • What is the plan to address social and emotional impacts on students?

    In Lower School,our program is already steeped in social and emotional development, largely due to the PYP. Students are doing units of inquiry about the state of the world at the present time. The Grade 5 exhibition is all about how we express ourselves, particularly right now. Grade 3 did a unit on responding to disasters, and it turned out to be about how they're experiencing this disaster right now. These projects will allow us to really key in on how students are feeling, and how they're dealing and managing. We also have experienced counselors, Devon Morris in the Lower and Middle Schools and Jenna Aynes in the Upper Schools. In addition, we are ready to commit to meeting students' individual needs as they come up.
  • How are teachers doing? Do they have the support they need?

    Our teachers are at their hearts committed to their students and the work they’re doing. I think that has both weighed them down with responsibility and buoyed them with love and care. They pivoted amazingly well to a whole new way of teaching. At this point, they’re in a groove, but they are definitely going to need a break. And you can imagine, for any of our teachers with young children at home, they had to be very creative. A lot of you have probably seen young children on the videos and synchronous classes. It’s hard, but they’re committed.

Tuition & Enrollment

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  • Can we defer enrollment to second semester?

    You can certainly choose not to enroll your student for fall 2020. Your option is then to reapply at the time you would like your student to enroll. While we will do our best to accommodate your family, there is no guarantee that a space will remain available.
  • What is your refund policy for the next year?

    Refunds are not available after June 1. If we have to move online for any amount of time next year and if there are savings from this shift, we will absolutely pass these savings along to families. But the vast majority of our operational budget as a school is made up of our faculty and staff salaries. We will need to continue paying our teachers and our staff to ensure that your students receive the quality education that they deserve and to ensure that Annie Wright's strong team remains in place for years to come. What this means is that we cannot prorate our tuition, and the amount of any potential rebate is impossible to determine at the moment.

Financial Aid

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Annie Wright Schools
827 North Tacoma Avenue
Tacoma, WA 98403

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Founded in Tacoma, Washington, in 1884, Annie Wright Schools serve students from age three through high school. Annie Wright Lower  and Middle Schools offer coed programs in Preschool through Grade 8, while separate Upper Schools for girls  and boys offer day and boarding options in Grades 9 through 12. Annie Wright is proud to be an International Baccalaureate World School.