Coronavirus / COVID-19 Information at Holy Names Academy


May 13, 2020: Spring Schedule Updates Due to Pandemic

From Mrs. Liz Swift, Head of School & Principal:
Graduation from high school is a significant milestone. Especially in this time of uncertainty and disappointment, parents, HNA teachers, and the school administration agree on the importance of finding creative ways to celebrate the very special Class of 2020.  In April, the school surveyed seniors and their parents on end-of-year options. Most students and parents preferred a virtual graduation on Sunday, May 24, and that we plan tentatively for an in-person graduation on Saturday, July 25. Students and parents alike preferred that we plan for an in-person senior prom on Thursday, July 23.

Class Day
(virtual), Wednesday, May 20, at 1 p.m. Class Day is a longtime tradition at HNA and recognizes the many talents of our graduating seniors.

Baccalaureate Mass (virtual livestream), Thursday, May 21, 1:15 p.m. 

Graduation Events. The in-person events in July will depend on the safety of everyone and official guidelines.

  • Virtual Graduation on Sunday, May 24, at 2 p.m. Please note the change to an afternoon time. We will also record the event so that it can be available to stream on demand.
  • In-Person Senior Prom (tentative) on Thursday, July 23.
  • In-Person Graduation (tentative) on Saturday, July 25, at Benaroya Hall.

Overall response: Holy Names Academy recently surveyed students, parents, and teachers about their experiences of the online-learning program the school instituted in March in response to the governor’s “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order. There was a high level of overall satisfaction with the online learning: 88% of students and 98% of parents.

Final Exams: The parent survey results on final exams were evenly split for and against, but students and teachers were overwhelmingly in favor of not having the exams this year. From the educators’ vantage point, our teachers would rather focus their last weeks of school on transition topics and the skills needed for next year rather than reviewing for finals. The online learning this spring has been successful in part because teachers adjusted expectations and student workload. Ending the year by focusing on the transition to next year seems in the best interests of our students and teachers. Accordingly, there will be no final exams this year. The last day of school for Grades 9-11 will be Friday, June 5. Semester grades this year will be based on equal weighting of third and fourth quarter grades.

Following a pause in March due to the governor’s pandemic order, construction on Holy Names Academy’s Underground Parking Garage and Athletic Complex resumed on May 4. The project meets all requirements set out by the governor in allowing construction projects that meet a low-risk threshold to restart. Andersen Construction has a plan in place (click for details) to ensure a high level of safety; measures include training of all workers, appropriate personal protection equipment, hygiene and hand-washing stations, staggered starts, daily screening by a medical professional, and more.

Fortunately, the project was six weeks ahead and under budget when it was paused in March. Holy Names Academy continues to anticipate opening the new facilities in November 2020.

— Mrs. Swift

Previous Updates

  • April 8, 2020: Important Updates for HNA Seniors from Mrs. Swift

    To the Holy Names Academy Class of 2020 from Mrs. Liz Swift, Head of School & Principal:
    All of your teachers and administrators send their love and support as you adapt to the reality of the governor’s recent order to close schools and extend remote learning for the rest of the year. We know that this is deeply disappointing, and our hearts go out to you. But we also know that you have the resilience, faith, and strength not only to cope with feelings of loss but to rise above them and make the most of a challenging situation.

    There are creative ways to celebrate your amazing class in a virtual format, and we plan to hold many of the senior activities as scheduled. In addition to the culminating events this spring, we look forward to a time when your class can gather again in person. This letter will give you some initial information about activities and the remaining weeks of school; as Mrs. Dawson indicated in her e-mail earlier this week, we will send you a survey after Spring Break to gather your ideas.

    Graduation – Sunday, May 24
    We will proceed with planning for a virtual graduation on Sunday, May 24, as scheduled. We are confident that we can make this a meaningful and memorable experience for you.

    Possibility of an In-Person Graduation – Saturday, July 25
    If the ban on group gatherings is lifted by early summer, we will plan an in-person graduation celebration for Saturday, July 25. With uncertainty surrounding the availability of a venue for this event, it will likely be an intimate celebration for students and their parents in our HNA auditorium and parlors.

    Class Day, Prom, and Baccalaureate
    We will also proceed with the planning of a virtual Class Day and Prom Night as scheduled on May 20 and May 22, respectively, and we are counting on your input and ideas. In addition, we are exploring the possibilities of a virtual Baccalaureate.

    Daily Schedules, Final Exams, and More
    The College Board has rescheduled AP Exams for May 11-22, a week later than originally planned. You can find the complete schedule of exams and formats on the College Board website. This later timeframe necessitates a change in our originally planned schedule for seniors. Specifically:

    Daily Classes: Regular daily online classes for seniors will conclude on Friday, May 8. During the AP Exam weeks of May 11-22, teachers will hold virtual office hours for you as you prepare for AP Exams, but no regular classes will be held for 12th graders. Note: Regular classes will be held for the other grades.

    Final Exams: There will be no final exams this year for seniors.

    Finally, know how much we care for you, how proud we are of each of you, and how much we miss you in these “stay-at-home” days. You are an amazing class with many talents, a deep sense of service and social justice, and a warmth and a spirit of fun that has touched all of us. We look forward to celebrating you this spring and in the years ahead.

    May God bless you, today and always.
    — Mrs. Swift

  • April 7, 2020: School Closed for Remainder of Academic Year; A Message To the Class of 2020

    Governor Inslee ordered on April 6 that all schools in Washington remain closed through the end of the 2019-20 academic year, while online learning should continue.

    The administration and teachers of Holy Names Academy recognize that this order is particularly hard on students of the Class of 2020, who have long anticipated many spring activities and traditions of their senior year. Holy Names Academy closed its school building and switched to online learning, with all student activities and athletics canceled, on March 12.

    Kim Dawson, Vice Principal of Student Life at HNA, sent the following e-mail to the Class of 2020 today:

    Dear Seniors--By now you have heard that the governor has closed schools and extended remote learning for the remainder of the school year. The administration had hoped to return to school in May, especially for the senior activities. We know this is heartbreaking and disappointing for you, and we hurt with you.

    Please know that the administration is meeting and will come up with alternative ways to celebrate the senior activities. We will send out a survey after Spring Break for your input with planning. Though things may not look the same, do not despair; the heart and soul of the senior activities will be honored. Through our faith, we will rise to this challenge together, honor the journey of the Class of 2020, and prepare you to meet the coming challenges of this unprecedented time.

    With much love and understanding,
    --Mrs. Dawson

    “The pain that you’ve been feeling can’t compare to the joy that’s coming” – Romans 8:18

  • March 30, 2020: Updates on HNA School Closure, Construction Project

    School Closure Extended
    In light of Governor Inslee's latest “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order, the HNA school building will remain closed--and all student activities canceled,including athletic events--until at least May 4, 2020. Classes for all students will continue online on the regular weekly schedule. Note that the school will observe Spring Break as previously scheduled from April 10 through 17; no classes will be held.

    Construction Project
    Also in light of the governor's order, Holy Names Academy has made the decision--in collaboration with our construction team--to pause construction activities on the new athletic complex & underground parking garage at this time so that we can do our part to help stop the spread of COVID-19. A structural engineer is assessing the project for safety and integrity, and the project will have 24/7 on-site security. The project has been very well-managed and executed to date, and we are confident it will be a success despite these challenges.

  • March 16, 2020: Information & Resources for Holy Names Academy Parents for the First Day of Online Classes

    Dear HNA Parents:

    For the first day of online classes at Holy Names Academy—Monday, March 16—I am writing to provide additional information and resources to ensure your daughter’s successful transition to remote learning. Our faculty had a very productive inservice day last Thursday. Teachers gathered—as a whole and in academic departments—to practice online lessons via the video-conferencing tools in Microsoft Teams, and to collaborate on strategies, lessons, and assessments. I found the time inspiring and very hopeful as our teachers set upon this new journey of online learning with enthusiasm and openness. We are ready and looking forward to greeting students online tomorrow morning.

    All of our faculty and staff are available by e-mail, and we are happy to respond to you via e-mail or phone. See the complete directory of faculty and staff on the HNA website.

    Technical Assistance
    If your daughter is having difficulty connecting to Microsoft Teams, contact our technology team at Technology tip: Last Monday, we had all students connect to a videoconference in MS Teams during their theology classes. Most students who could not connect had not downloaded the recommended updates to their computers.

    Academic Day
    Students are expected to attend classes online from 8 a.m. through 2 p.m., Monday through Friday, via the Microsoft Teams videoconferencing tools, and teachers will be taking attendance. If your daughter is unable to attend online classes due to illness or a doctor's appointment, please notify the Attendance Office ( or (206) 720-7823).  We have designated the last half-hour of the day as a scheduled opportunity for students to contact teachers with questions or concerns via MS Teams. If a student needs help, she may also contact her teacher directly via e-mail.
    Students were directed to take home all necessary materials last Wednesday, our last day of in-person classes. If your daughter was absent and needs some materials from her locker, call our receptionist at (206) 323-4272 to arrange a time for your daughter to pick up the needed materials.

    Social, Emotional, and Physical Health
    In this time of isolation from the COVID-19 virus, we are also concerned about the social, emotional, and physical well-being of our students. Our Academic Mentors/Counselors and Athletic Department will post suggested activities for students via the homeroom announcements and the Student Resources Team Channel. Our student government leaders will also be posting some online activities for students. Our Academic Mentors/Counselors will be available via e-mail or phone to answer questions and provide support as needed. Please contact them as needed:
    For students with last names A-K: Jen Hawes, or (206) 720-7184
    For students with last names L-Z: Emily McKenzie, or (206) 720-7182

    College Counseling
    A number of colleges across the country have also closed, and some of the SAT/ACT testing has been postponed. Our College Counselors have been e-mailing students with the latest information on testing and other resources. They are ready to assist students and parents as all of us navigate the impact of COVID-19:
    For students with last names A-K: Megan Diefenbach, or (206) 568-7786
    For students with last names L-Z: Alice Tanaka, or (206) 720-7824
    (For the Class of 2021, some students with last names beginning with K have Dr. Tanaka.)

    Final Comments
    As you have heard from Governor Jay Inslee, all schools in Washington are closed through April 24, which is a week longer than our last communication (on Wed., March 11). We are eager to begin our online program, and we hope to graduate our 12th graders on time and to end the school year as scheduled. There are many unknowns in the days and weeks ahead, but we have great confidence in our community to adapt, respond, and thrive.

    Thank you for your resilience and understanding as we navigate these uncharted waters. We appreciate your partnership and your confidence in Holy Names Academy. Know that you and your family are in our hearts and prayers.

    --Liz Swift, Head of School & Principal

  • March 15, 2020: FIRST Robotics Communication about COVID-19

    Dear HNA Parents—We are writing to let you know that we received a communication last night (March 14) from FIRST Robotics Washington that one of the adult mentors from Medical Lake High School attending the robotics competition on February 28 to March 1 has tested positive for COVID-19. This is all the information that we have at the moment. We will also share this communication with our students.

    Twenty-one student members of our HNA robotics team participated in the event held at Glacier Peak High School and were accompanied by HNA chaperones and several parents. Please inform the school if you or a student has become ill with the common symptoms of COVID-19: fever, cough, and shortness of breath.

    The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicates that individuals exposed to COVID-19 may develop symptoms in 2 to 14 days after exposure. A new study by researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health suggests that the median incubation period for COVID-19 is 5.1 days, and about 97.5% of people who develop symptoms of the virus will do so within 11.5 days of exposure.

    We will keep parents informed if we receive more information.

    ---Liz Swift, Head of School and Principal, Holy Names Academy

  • March 11, 2020: HNA Closed Effective March 12; Instruction Continues Online; Athletics, Arts, and Club Activities Canceled

    Holy Names Academy will close beginning Thursday, March 12, continuing through Thursday, April 9 (the day before Spring Break begins), and all instruction will move to online effective early next week. UPDATE, MARCH 13: The school closure will continue through Friday, April 24, per the order of Gov. Jay Inslee.

    While we do not have a current case of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) in our school, it has become clear that we have a concerning number of HNA families who have a member with a weakened immune system or other underlying health condition. Our decision was informed by our responsibility to protect the health and safety of all members of our community, the recent announcements by Governor Jay Inslee, and our larger responsibility to take action to slow the spread of this virus.

    We are confident that we can deliver a quality educational experience through the online use of Microsoft Teams and OneNote. Teachers and students have been trained in the tools for remote learning.

    Thank you for your understanding and support as we navigate these challenging times.

    Details About the Closure
    Thursday, March 12, will be an inservice day for faculty members to transition to online learning and share strategies. Friday, March 13, is a previously scheduled school holiday.

    On Monday, March 16, students in Grades 9-11 will begin online classes.
    On Tuesday, March 17, students in Grade 12 will begin online classes. We are honoring the previously scheduled “Senior Skip Day” on Monday.
    Spring Break will, as previously scheduled, run Friday, April 10, through Friday, April 17.

    Normal Daily Class Schedule
    Students will generally have classes online each day from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. We will publish a daily schedule for students in our Microsoft Teams Student Resource Page.
    The Online Teaching Schedule for March 16-22, 2020 can be found on the Parent Portal Forms & Links page (Parent Portal login required). 

    Athletics, Arts, Club Activities Canceled  UPDATE, MARCH 13: All activities are canceled through Friday, April 24, per the Governor's order.
    All athletics (practices and competitions), arts (rehearsals and performances), and club activities are canceled through Friday, April 24. This is effective immediately. We recognize that this will be very disappointing to students involved in these activities, but we need to prioritize the health and safety of our community.

  • March 9, 2020: Update from HNA on Coronavirus response

    Dear Parents: We are closely monitoring the news and information about the coronavirus outbreak. King County Public Health continues to recommend that schools remain open unless there has been a confirmed case in the school.

    Holy Names Academy Remains Open
    Holy Names Academy is following the recommendation of King County Public Health to remain open. This can obviously change in the days and weeks ahead. We will keep parents updated via e-mail, and we have started this webpage so our communications can be easily found. We recognize that there are vulnerable individuals in our community, and we respect the decisions of individual families to attend school or not.

    Athletic Practices Continue
    We will also keep you informed about activities and events as we learn of changes. At this time, athletic practices will continue as scheduled, and we will keep individual teams up to date on any changes in competitions. The First Robotics Organization has postponed all Pacific Northwest District Events.

    Non-Academic Events Canceled
    To date, the following HNA events have been canceled during the next two weeks:
    Thu., March 12: HNA Rock Show
    Fri.-Sun., March 13-15: Spring Search Retreat
    Tue.-Wed., March 17-18, Urban Plunge
    Wed., March 18, Peace and Justice Day
    Fri., March 20, HNA/O’Dea Spring Fling

    In Days Ahead
    Finally, should Holy Names Academy need to close in the days or weeks ahead, our teachers and students are prepared to utilize online tools for instruction.

    The health and safety of our students, faculty, and families are at the forefront of every decision. We are grateful for your support and confidence, and we will keep you apprised as we navigate this evolving challenge.
    —Liz Swift, Head of School and Principal

  • March 4, 2020: HNA Non-Academic Events Canceled

    On March 4, King County Public Health recommended a series of steps to reduce residents' risk of exposure to COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus. Based on the county's recommendation to avoid bringing large groups of people together, Holy Names Academy has canceled various events at the school or sponsored by the school during the next two weeks. 

    Because the county is specifically recommending that schools NOT close unless there has been a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the school, Holy Names Academy has no plans to close school at this time; athletic practices and competitions will continue as scheduled

    HNA School Gatherings Canceled

    In light of the county's recommendation to avoid bringing large groups of people together, we are canceling a number of upcoming events at the school or sponsored by the school during the next two weeks. Events now canceled include:
    Thurs., March 5: Endowment & Scholarship Reception
    Sat., March 7: HNA Alumnae Luncheon at the Golf Club at Newcastle
    Sat., March 7: Father/Daughter Casino Night
    Mon., March 9: HNA Basketball Banquet
    Wed., March 11: Parent Board Faculty/Staff Luncheon
    Thu., March 12: HNA Rock Show
    Fri.-Sun., March 13-15: Spring Search Retreat
    Tue.-Wed., March 17-18: Urban Plunge

    Individual field trips, non-athletic competitions, meetings, and international trips will be decided on a case-by-case basis and will be communicated with student participants and moderators.

    As we have previously communicated, we are closely monitoring updates and advisories from county, state, and federal officials. HNA faculty members are trained to hold classes for your daughters via online tools should a school closure become necessary. We continue to prepare for other possible impacts on our community and will keep you informed of updates as quickly as possible.

    —Liz Swift, Head of School & Principal

  • March 2, 2020: Coronavirus Information and Preparedness at HNA


    As you may have heard, over the weekend additional cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) have been confirmed in King County, and the Governor has declared a state of emergency. I am writing to share information about the Academy’s preparedness measures and to seek your partnership in keeping our school community healthy.
    What is HNA doing?
    We are actively monitoring information and updates from the Public Health – Seattle and King County (PHSKC) , the Washington State Department of Health (WSDH) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC). While the CDC states that the risk is “low” for the general American public and there are no confirmed cases of coronavirus in our school, we are prepared with a strong response plan.
    Some specific strategies include:
    • Our Emergency Management Team is engaged and monitoring the situation
    • Faculty members are prepared to hold classes via online tools in the event of a closure. For the past month, our teachers have been trained and practiced in the video-conferencing capabilities within Microsoft Teams. By combining video conference and Microsoft OneNote, students will continue to “attend” school in the event of a closure.
    • We continue to remind students of preventive measures and will train them on the tools for online learning during the homeroom period on Tuesday, March 3.
    • The school is routinely cleaned with an environmentally friendly disinfectant and we have increased the focus on cleaning surfaces in high-use areas.
    • We have hand-sanitizing dispensers in every classroom and common-use areas of the school.

    What can you do?
    We ask that you partner with us in keeping our school community healthy. Please follow these guidelines:
    • Be mindful of good hygiene. Frequent and thorough handwashing, covering coughs and sneezes, and avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth are the best preventive measures.
    • If your daughter is sick, have her stay home and seek medical attention. Some of the symptoms of the coronavirus include fever, cough, shortness of breath, and other respiratory problems. A student who becomes ill while at school will be sent home after parents have been contacted.
    • If your daughter has been diagnosed with or exposed to the coronavirus or other communicable disease, please contact our Attendance Office by e-mail at or by phone at (206) 720-7823.

    Keeping Updated
    We will alert students and parents of any school closure via our SchoolMessenger system, and follow up with more information via an e-mail message and the school website. If the closure is for only a day, students should access lessons on Microsoft Teams and OneNote. If the closure is for two or more days, classes will be taught through the video-conferencing tools in Microsoft Teams to provide for the necessary engagement and interaction. “Video classes” will be held at the regularly scheduled school-day hours of 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., and on the normal class-schedule rotation. This provides opportunities for discussion, direct instruction, and teacher-student contact. We encourage you to check your home Internet connections to be sure there is sufficient bandwidth for video conferencing.

    Activities and Events
    We will continue to monitor the situation. While we have no plans at the moment to cancel or postpone upcoming events and activities, it is possible that we will need to do so. We will keep you informed.

    CDC Recommendations for Prevention
    These recommendations have been shared with our students:
    • Avoid close contact. Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too.
    • Stay home when you are sick. Stay home from work, school, and errands when you are sick. This will help prevent spreading your illness to others.
    • Cover your mouth and nose. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
    • Clean your hands. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and 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.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth.
    • Practice other good health habits. Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at home, work, or school, especially when someone is ill. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.

    We will continue to prepare for the possible impact of this outbreak in our community, and we will keep you informed of any updates.
    — Liz Swift, Head of School and Principal

The HNA website Calendar is being updated with changes regularly.

Holy Names Academy’s Emergency Management Team closely monitors updates and advisories from county, state, and federal officials. Use the following links to keep your family informed of them.

How can we help?