Coronavirus (COVID-19)

We have created this page as a centralized resource for updates regarding how coronavirus (COVID-19) is impacting Westridge activities, policies, and educational programming, as well as for links to public health information sources.

We will continue to communicate important updates via email but recommend that our families check this page regularly for updates.

如果您有任何疑问,请联系Liz Jin,,或Rebecca Yeh,


Campus remains closed over the summer (until further notice). Updates about the 2020-2021 school year will be communicated via email and posted on this page.

During remote learning in the 2019-2020 school year, we created this Remote Learning Hub for resources to support students during the transition.

For a list of home-based, non-academic activities for kids, click here.

Remote learning plan:

as of March 16, 2020

Our top priorities during remote learning will be delivering curricular content and maintaining a sense of community. It’s important to all of us that any disruption does not present a disadvantage to students’ future academic progress.

Remote learning is not about replicating what happens in on-campus settings. Remote learning is about creating a strong, healthy online community including a balance of asynchronous and synchronous learning, connections and collaboration. We need to be prepared to use remote learning for a sustained period of time. School is still in session, just in a different space.

For more information regarding remote learning, please see the dropdown below.

Resources for parents at Remote Learning Hub:

As we transition to remote learning, we know parents and families are wondering how best to support their students as they adapt. To assist parents and families in this effort, we have created a Remote Learning Hub at the link below (which also contains resources for home-based activities that may be helpful during Spring Break).

Visit Remote Learning Hub

Updates from Westridge:


*As of March 16, 2020.

Download PDF version

Our top priorities during remote learning will be delivering curricular content and maintaining a sense of community. It’s important to all of us that any disruption does not present a disadvantage to students’ future academic progress.

Remote learning is not about replicating what happens in on-campus settings. Remote learning is about creating a strong, healthy online community including a balance of asynchronous and synchronous learning, connections and collaboration. We need to be prepared to use remote learning for a sustained period of time. School is still in session, just in a different space.

Week 1 of Remote Learning (March 30 - April 3), all instruction will be asynchronous, meaning that students will not have to be online at the same time as their classmates. We want to give families an opportunity to establish the routines necessary to support learning at home.

There will be a modified daily schedule for each division. Students will be expected to check Finalsite every weekday by 10 am to read the assignments and materials posted by their teachers.

Teachers are expected to post all instructions, assignments and learning materials to Finalsite each week along with an overview of the learning objectives and expectations. In remote learning the pace is slower and expectations reduced. Teachers will have office hours when they will be online to answer students’ questions.

Week 2 of Remote Learning (April 6 - 9), teachers may include synchronous, meaning online at the same time as students, activities such as hosting an online video meeting. There should be a balance between asynchronous and synchronous activities. Please note that synchronous activities may not be ideal due to individual technology limitations. If students cannot participate in the synchronous activity, they will have an opportunity to learn the material in another way. It should be noted, however, that some synchronous activities, like class discussion, cannot be recreated.

Teachers many use a number of different tools to communicate and provide instruction to students including Finalsite, email, screencasts, discussion boards, Flipgrid and Microsoft Teams for video connections.

We recognize that students may be in situations that make it difficult to learn. Some students may have trouble with the format and pace of remote learning. Some students may need to take care of younger siblings. Know that we will work with students- during and after the closure- to make sure that students feel confident in their learning. Students and parents/ guardians should contact the appropriate division director for support, guidance, and advice.

If students need help with technology, please reach out to the tech department at This includes help with software challenges like “I can’t connect to Finalsite,” to more significant challenges like “I don’t have access to the internet,” or “I need a device to use at home for schoolwork.” We are ready to provide full support to all students and families so that students can continue to learn.

Student and family support during remote learning:

During remote learning, Westridge’s student and family support program will continue. It’s critical that students and families have access to our support services. Students’ advisors will proactively reach out to them for the duration of the closure. Learning support and counseling will be available at regularly scheduled times.

Key terminology for online learning:

Terms that will help you navigate the shift to remote learning:

Remote Learning/Teaching

Remote Learning occurs when the learner and instructor, or source of information, are

separated by time or distance and therefore cannot meet in a traditional classroom setting. Note that this is not synonymous with “virtual classroom.”


Class interactions happen via Learning Management System (Finalsite) without real-time interaction. Students engage in class materials and complete work at their own pace, typically within a given timeframe, often using discussion boards and other online tools to drive peer-to-peer engagement.


Class interactions happen in real time, at the same time. Students may virtually attend

class together via video conference, livestream, or chat. We will use Microsoft Teams for synchronous meetings. Most online courses are a blend of synchronous contact and asynchronous study/work.


A digital video recording of a computer screen or session, usually including audio narration. Screencasts are a form of instructional video. Screencastify, Loom, and PowerPoint are common tools for screencasting.

Video Conference

A virtual meeting in which participants in different locations can communicate with each other with audio and video. Westridge will use Microsoft Teams for this function.

MAY 8, 2020: Parent Survey Results and Program Adjustments

An Update from Head of School Elizabeth J. McGregor

Please click here to read the message in its entirety.

MAY 4, 2020: Remote Learning Extended to End of Semester

An Update from Head of School Elizabeth J. McGregor

Dear Westridge Parents and Students,

I am writing today to formally announce that Westridge will remain in remote learning for the remainder of this school year. Though most people I have spoken with have assumed this would ultimately be the case, I know for many it will still be difficult to hear this final decision. I know it was for me.

We delayed making a formal announcement earlier in the hope that we might be able to gather for at least a few weeks at the end of the semester. However, with stay-at-home measures in place through at least the middle of May, and state and local officials talking of school campus closures at least until July or August, I think it will help us all to have a concrete picture of what the remainder of the year will bring. It will also allow faculty and staff to finalize plans for virtual year-end projects and events.

We are proud of our students. Though disappointed and sad and living through a historically tumultuous period, they have worked hard to adapt to remote learning and stay focused. And through it all, they have supported their friends and exhibited the kindness and compassion that says so much about our student body. Indeed, in last week's survey along with offering helpful insights, students took the time to call out their teachers for working extraordinarily hard on their behalf, both in the virtual learning environment and in providing personal support. Later this week, as we continue to hone our efforts based on the experience of the past seven weeks and reflect on parent and student survey responses, I will provide information about what we have gleaned as well as the ways in which we will continue to evolve our remote learning program.

I know that you also have questions about what school will look like in the fall. As you can imagine that decision will be contingent on many things outside of our control and we continue to monitor updates from state and local government and health officials. Right now, we are anticipating that we will be back on campus, but we are planning for a number of scenarios, ranging from being back on campus with measures in place that create more social distance and modifications in the way that we gather (impacting assemblies, the way the dining commons distributes food, the way we work with students who are not feeling well, etc.), to hybrid models that see us on campus at times and conducting learning remotely at others, to continuing in remote learning mode (enhanced by lessons learned and opportunities for faculty and staff to gain additional training over the summer related to delivering remote and blended learning). Our top consideration with any scenario, will be the health and safety of our students and our employees.

Before ending this message, I think it is important to call out the work of our teachers – especially this week, during Teacher Appreciation Week. In the matter of days, they too had to adapt to a different model of working and caring for students while dealing with all that the pandemic meant in terms of juggling family and personal loss. Working harder than ever before, they had to turn immediately to remote learning, seeking to make the student experience as meaningful as possible and learning a great deal themselves along the way.

I look forward to providing more details about our plans for end-of-year events and what next year will look like as soon as details are finalized. I'm particularly conscious of the need to create community and celebration for our seniors and their families and hope that the efforts already undertaken (roses for senior athletes, yard signs announcing that students are 2020 Westridge graduates, remote lunch with the college counseling team to muse on the places they will go (with appreciation to Dr. Seuss), and other events, will allow them to complete this year with a sense of belonging and hope.


Elizabeth J. McGregor
Head of School

APRIL 10, 2020: Pass/Fail Grading to be Adopted

An Update from the Westridge Administration

Dear Westridge Families,

As Westridge School continues to engage in remote learning and prepares for the possibility of doing so through the end of the semester, the administration has determined that all second semester student coursework will be assessed as pass/fail. This decision is supported by division directors and department chairs, the Board of Trustees, and the college counseling team. Considerable research was conducted because of the importance and complexity of this issue in these unprecedented times. We believe strongly that due to the combination of the significant changes to the circumstances and nature of learning, as well as the toll and stress of the current crisis on our students, we need to focus on how to foster academic excellence while:

  • promoting student social and emotional wellbeing as our girls confront great change, social isolation, and the fear of potential ill-health and loss within their community and family,
  • reducing the real possibility for a drop off in students' typical academic performance due to both stress and the massive changes they are experiencing in life and school, and
  • promoting equity in academic opportunity across a wide range of remote learning situations, especially as families experience this crisis in very different ways.

Our teachers are confident they can provide challenge and promote student growth within a pass/fail system, and that our students will respond to the challenge and apply themselves to learning. Indeed, our teachers believe this will provide students with an opportunity to experiment and take risks in new ways that will influence them as thinkers and learners while alleviating unnecessary pressure. With this knowledge, we were convinced the move to pass/fail was the right thing for our students in absolute terms. But what allowed us to make the final decision was the consistent feedback we received from colleges and universities of all types – pass/fail grades during this crisis (a crisis that is impacting the education of virtually all students in the United States and the world), will not jeopardize college admissions.

We know you, like all parents today, are worried about the impact of remote learning on your daughters' education – a poll in the Los Angeles Times this week revealed that 89 percent of parents have this fear. This is understandable. Everything is new with our world, and the world of education is changing overnight. And we know that it is difficult for parents to "see" what their girls are doing in this virtual school of sorts. We are in early days – just two weeks in, although it feels longer – so we are still honing best practices and making changes. But we can tell you that we are hearing and seeing incredible examples of teaching and learning. We will make sure your daughters are prepared for what's next and instituting pass/fail grading is an important part of that. It will allow our students to engage as deeply as they can in their learning, will still allow them to demonstrate their strengths, and importantly, will allow Westridge to provide them with necessary care and support.

Below you will find some additional detail regarding the thinking behind our decision and our process for assessments this semester. Next week we will host grade-level Town Hall meetings with the division directors where you may have your questions answered (details of these meetings can be found in the April 9 Westridge Weekly email). In the meantime, feel free email to us.


Elizabeth J. McGregor
Head of School

Gary Baldwin
Director of Upper School

Zanita Kelly
Director of Lower & Middle School

Academic Opportunity and Assessment during the Pandemic: Colleges and universities around the country, from Ivy League Schools and small liberal arts colleges to major research institutions and the University of California system, have stated that going to pass/fail will NOT jeopardize students' options (many have also chosen to adopt pass/fail at this time themselves). Our college counselors have been in correspondence with many admission directors who have provided guidance and reassurance on this matter, including the fact that our students will not be unfairly judged against students whose schools choose to continue with grades. Of note, numerous other independent schools and school districts across the nation are also shifting to pass/fail grading and colleges are preparing for transcripts that include these marks.

In addition, due to the direct relationship of our college counseling office with institutions of higher learning and the patterns of success of Westridge alumnae at hundreds of these institutions, the quality of Westridge students is well known across North America and other parts of the world and the insights and recommendations we provide for our students are trusted. Narrative recommendations provided for students by Westridge will be substantive and directly address the current situation. Teachers and counselors will address how our students responded to the challenge of remote learning, reflecting on important skills and qualities that higher education institutions and the business world are seeking, including problem solving, collaboration, flexibility, responsibility for self, a growth mindset, intrinsic motivation, and the ability to cope in the face of significant challenge.

Teachers will provide clear guidance as to what constitutes a pass, and a fail, and as always, with any student who is struggling academically, advisors and teachers will reach out to students to determine how to provide support and encouragement.

In the Upper School, grades for the first semester are already recorded on the transcript and marks for the second semester will be recorded as a P or an F. In lieu of the traditional mid-semester comments, teachers will email a progress report for each student detailing their individual progress between now and May 1. Additionally, teachers will write full summative comments at the end of the school year.

In the Middle School, in lieu of the traditional mid-semester comments, teachers will email a progress report for each student detailing their individual progress between April 27 and May 8. Additionally, all teachers will write full summative comments at the end of the school year.

Lower School families can expect to receive a narrative report covering student progress from the third quarter through the end of the month of April. The narrative reports will look much like the traditional report card comments from each of their courses.

APRIL 9, 2020: Community, Connection, and Culture (and Calendars!)

An Update from Head of School Elizabeth J. McGregor

Over the weeks of our school closure the vibrant and meaningful life of our school has become palpable in its absence. The greetings in drop-off line. The shared lunches. The impromptu study sessions in the library. The club meetings. Students raising their voices when celebrating a friend. Students dropping into my office to let me know what they think could be done better or just as often to catch up. These moments and so many more. We always knew the importance of this more ephemeral part of Westridge and in so many conversations with parents and faculty we have wondered what to call this. The things that fill the air we breathe and comprise the spirit of Westridge. That create a culture. That are so central to the lives of our students, and indeed, our whole community.

We are missing these things, but they are coming back online (literally and figuratively) as we continue to roll out our remote learning. They are more diffuse, because in our school without walls we don’t soak in the experiences that happen around us like we do when we walk through campus and see girls playing the cello on the quad, walking across campus reading, or reaching for the microphone for the first time at an Upper School Town Meeting.

The Black Student Union shared lunch this week. Lower and Middle School student leaders are meeting weekly. Students in Peer 2 Peer and the Writing Lab are reaching out to see who needs their help this week. And seniors are reaching out to Mr. Baldwin with their suggestions on how to improve their remote learning experience (of course they are! As Westridge changes girls so girls change Westridge!). Our campus may be closed, but the life of our school has not stopped.

I know we are all craving connection. Making sure our students remain connected in the human rather than the online sense is a top priority for us. I think more of this is happening than any of us know, but since we can’t walk the halls like normal, a lot of it happens out of sight. But we won’t assume this – we will work to make sure it is happening. Likewise, we are working hard to sort out our calendar of events and re-imagining them so that we can bring life, tradition, and celebration to our students. We know our students and parents are eager for this information and the updated calendar information we have to date is provided in the Announcements section of today’s Westridge Weekly email. We will provide specific event details as soon as we can – a lot of different people are working on these events and in many cases we are in conversations with the students involved to learn what they would like to see happen. We are especially sensitive to the importance of these next few months for our seniors. Our team of deans, advisors, and college counselors are pouring their hearts into making this time special and are planning for a month of Friday events for our seniors. We will find many other ways to celebrate them as well.

And so – on this rainy Thursday before Easter Weekend, I want to tell you something I am sure you know: I miss you and your daughters and the normal life of our school. But I am so proud of this community and how it is coming together on behalf of our girls. I know things aren’t always happening as quickly as you would like, but when you reach out to ask us your questions and to let us know what your daughters’ lived experience of remote learning is from your viewpoint, we are lifted by the sense that we are all working on this together.

Thank you.

Elizabeth J. McGregor
Head of School

APRIL 8, 2020: An Important Message from Elizabeth McGregor & Richard Fung


Dear Westridge Families,

When our campus closed on March 13, we did not yet understand the potential reach or duration of the COVID-19 crisis. Under these extraordinary circumstances, we have been heartened by how our families, students, faculty, staff, and trustees have rallied behind our students to ensure the continuation of their education.

We are fortunate not only to offer our educational program remotely, but also to maintain our commitment to academic excellence, social emotional learning, and direct student support from our advisors, deans, psychologist, and college counselors. These hallmarks of the Westridge experience have always been foundational to our students' academic success and wellbeing and are even more important today as they struggle to process a worldwide health crisis and social isolation. Though the methods and pace of learning may be different than in our on-campus program, serious and creative academic and personal growth is happening in "Westridge Without Walls." Our students and teachers have embraced the spirit of remote learning, and our faculty members and technology team continue to work countless additional hours to adapt and refine their programs and provide extra support to students and parents through this adjustment period. As we look for goodness around us, the community embrace of our girls and their education shines brightly. Thank you for standing with us as we work to deliver on our promise to our students.

In addition to the rapid restructuring of our program, the administration and Board of Trustees have been working on the financial aspects of school operations. We write today to share information on the financial position of the school and how Westridge can support those families who are experiencing significant immediate impact from the economic shutdown. The two are intertwined, and we want you to know that as we make decisions to maintain the financial sustainability of the school, we are very conscious of the need to do so while seeking to help our families in need through this crisis.

Currently, the school is in a stable place financially and in a markedly better position than in the recession of 2008, from which we learned a great deal. Your philanthropic support over the years, and that of generations of families and benefactors, helped build Westridge into the school it is today and made it possible for us to respond swiftly and strongly to this crisis. However, we are experiencing an understandable but significant decrease in donations and an increased need for financial aid. We anticipate this will continue to be the case for the foreseeable future. In addition, our core expenses have not changed. Remote learning is made possible through the continued devotion, and greatly expanded work, of our talented faculty. As you may be aware, their salaries and benefits comprise the single largest budget item at Westridge. And salaries for all Westridge employees continue as we support a broad educational program remotely. At the same time, our physical facilities have to be maintained in a ready state to welcome back our students as soon as it is safe to do so.

Some of the actions we are taking to ease the financial burden on families and school operations are:

  1. Financial Aid Program. Since the start of the COVID-19 crisis, we have received an increase in requests from families who receive financial assistance. We are trying to meet the increased need through an allocation from our operating reserves. These funds are limited and are subject to the same criteria and process as all financial aid program funding.
  2. Tuition Assistance Program (TAP). TAP is a temporary tuition support program that is being created with operating reserve funds to help families who do not qualify for financial aid but are facing significant income cuts or job loss due to COVID-19 that impact their ability to make tuition payments in the near term. Awards under TAP are considered one-time hardship grants as funding is limited to the 2020-2021 school year. To apply, please complete the modified FAST financial aid application, which can be found in the parent portal. In addition to the financial information requested, please include a description of your reduced income or job loss as a result of COVID-19 in the family letter, and upload your employer notification of same, if applicable. Completion of school specific questions is not required. If you have questions or need assistance, please email our financial controller, Kim Cota, at
  3. Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act ("CARES Act"). We are in the process of applying for a short-term loan established by the CARES Act to cover payroll and benefits for two months. If received, this loan would buy us a little time for payroll protection making it possible to ease up on the tuition payment schedule or absorb loss of tuition through attrition while protecting the livelihood of our faculty and staff.
  4. 10-Payment Plan Extension. If you are on the 10-payment plan and need an extension on your monthly payments which begin in May 2020, please email Kim Cota. If you can begin making your payments in May that would be appreciated greatly because these payments are critical to meeting the school's cash flow needs.

On a related positive note, next week we will begin processing refunds/credits for Interim trips and identifying other areas of refund from canceled activities due to school closure.

If you would like to discuss any of the assistance programs noted above, please email Kim Cota at If you have other financial questions or thoughts you would like to discuss, please email Chief Finance and Operations Officer Kendis Heffley at

Thank you for your partnership and support in these difficult times. It is only through the combined dedication of our community, parent volunteers, and Westridge faculty and staff that we are able to provide a meaningful experience for our students. Please let us know if we can support your family through financial, academic, or social emotional support programs. For your more general academic questions, our division directors will host a series of online townhall meetings for parents next week, details of which will follow shortly (alternatively, please don't hesitate to reach out to them directly via email). We want you to have a clear understanding of and confidence in your daughters' remote learning experience and hope these "face-to-face" forums will help as we all struggle to manage the heightened flow of electronic communications in our lives right now.

May your families remain safe and well.

Elizabeth J. McGregor
Head of School

Richard C. Fung
Chair, Board of Trustees

APRIL 4, 2020: Athletics Update

An Update from Director of Athletics Melanie Horn

Hello Tigers!

I hope your first week of online learning has gone well and you've been able to find time to work-out as well as have fun at home. For those of you who know my puppy, Maverick (he'll be two April 11), he's had a great time getting extra agility practice in the back yard!

Sadly, we've learned through CIF that Spring Sports championships have been canceled for the 2020 season. While it breaks my heart to communicate this to you, I realize it is the right thing to do as safety must always come first. CIF-Southern Section Commissioner, Rob Wigod, released this statement yesterday:

I have been in meetings with the Prep League AD's and should we be able to return prior to the end of the school year, we may be able to have an end of the year tournament or meet. Obviously, we cannot make any plans as of yet. On the bright side, there's been discussion about virtual competition with other Prep League schools. If you have any ideas of an online game (that maybe the Tigers know well) please email me. I can't think of anything more fun than a chance to beat the Panthers or Cubs 😉

For Physical Education credit please complete this form weekly:

Also, check your team's Padlet page as coaches are continuing to add new content

Lacrosse -

Softball -

Swimming & Diving -

Track & Field -

Be safe. Be well.

Go Tigers!!!

Coach Horn

APRIL 2, 2020: Video Update from Head of School

An Update from Head of School Elizabeth J. McGregor

Click here to read the transcript from Head of School Elizabeth J. McGregor's video update.

MARCH 26, 2020: Remote Learning Starts March 30

An Update from Head of School Elizabeth J. McGregor

Dear Westridge Families,

After writing about cancellations over the past two weeks, today I write about the return to learning for Westridge students on Monday. This brings me great joy. I think for all of us, reinstating a routine and getting students engaged in schoolwork will provide comfort and purpose during our uncertain times.

Remote learning will not be without challenges, although peer schools that have been holding classes for the past few weeks report that the challenges are greater for parents than for students. Our girls are quite comfortable working with many of the learning tools we will use to facilitate remote learning. With that said, to make this a successful time of learning for our students and a manageable experience for our students and families, we need to have reasonable and clear expectations for remote learning and be patient and flexible with ourselves and others, understanding this is new and we are all in this together. Importantly, we must have early and open communication between students and adults (teachers and parents) and between families and the school regarding expectations and how things are working on the ground.

We embark on this venture with several guiding principles:

Remote learning does not replicate in-class experiences, nor should it. Remote learning is its own experience, with its own opportunities and its own challenges. It is important to have a variety of methodologies – asynchronous (self-paced) as well as synchronous (live) – for students to have the most meaningful educational experience and to retain knowledge most effectively.

Remote learning does not happen exclusively on computers or other devices. Your daughter will not be in front of a screen all day. Learning approaches will be varied and often centered around assignments or activities to do offline.

There will be a learning curve for students, faculty, and parents. There will naturally be some highs and lows along the way, but learning from challenges is an important and valuable component of education. It will be important to keep this in mind in the coming weeks and remember what we tell our girls – learning can be messy, let go of perfectionism, and embrace a growth mindset.

Less is more (especially in the beginning). In these unusual learning circumstances and at a time when students are likely still finding their footing at home and with their studies, our goal is not to march through a traditional curriculum or fill our students' days. Our goal is to focus on what is essential learning for this semester and how that can best be accomplished remotely, and on creating authentic, engaging learning opportunities for our girls.

Check in. Check in. Check in. Teachers will be checking in with students frequently, through a variety of methods including emails, video chats, and checking work and discussion board entries. Student acclimation to remote learning will vary due to its atypical format and the range of emotions young people are experiencing about what is happening in the world today. Please check in with your daughter regularly to see how she is feeling about remote learning, her work for the day, and what support she needs. If you feel your daughter needs help adjusting to remote learning, please reach out to her advisor or homeroom teacher early so that we may provide resources for support. Please understand, however, that our faculty and division directors may not be able to respond immediately but will make every effort to respond in a timely manner during working hours.

In addition to checking in with your daughter, what should your role be during remote learning? Like you, I've seen the posts and memes about parents "home schooling" their children. They are both hilarious and cautionary. But it is important to keep in mind that you are not being asked to home school your daughters. Thankfully, our incredible teachers still will be handling the official "schooling." Instead, we ask you to be more of a coach, providing structure and support, and ensuring that teachers and administrators are aware of any special assistance your daughter might need. We particularly recommend that you:

  • Work with your daughter to establish her remote learning routine and ensure that it is maintained. There is an article with good tips for this posted on the Remote Learning hub.
  • Set up a physical location, if possible, that is suited for an extended period of remote learning.
  • Check in. I mentioned this above but would recommend regular formal check-ins, maybe twice a day, in the morning and at the end of the school day. Depending on your daughter and her age, there may be many other touchpoints, but a routine of the beginning and end-of-day check-ins will be helpful in gauging the bigger picture.
  • Make sure your daughter takes breaks during her classes and study time, engages in physical activity each day, and gets plenty of sleep.
  • Keep an eye on screen time. There isn't a hard and fast rule of thumb on this. But as girls begin their remote courses in addition to using technology to maintain their very important social connections, it will be important to ensure they are having meaningful engagements and pursuits off screens as well.

We realize that life is tremendously stressful right now and that many of our families will be balancing at-home school, work, childcare, and support for other relatives and friends. Know that there will be frustrations but that you are not in this alone. We are here to support you and your family through this time of remote learning. If you are feeling overwhelmed or in need of guidance on how to support your daughter, please contact your division director.

A few notes about what to expect next week, Week 1 of remote learning:

  • If not before, by Sunday evening students will receive messages from their teachers providing information on how remote learning will work for their classes – many of these emails have gone out already. In the Middle and Upper School, advisors will also send an email explaining how advisory will work for the foreseeable future.
  • Monday by 10 am, all students should log into Finalsite where teachers will have posted assignments for the coming week. (Students need to check Finalsite each school day by 10 am.)
  • All work during this first week will be self-paced, meaning classes won't meet or work together. Students will work independently based on assignments and instructions in Finalsite. They will have access to their teachers for any questions during online office hours, which will take place during scheduled class times (divisional schedules can be found on the Remote Learning hub) and as posted by individual teachers. Synchronous or live learning will be phased in beginning Week 2.
  • Students should be able to work independently or with the help of classmates in most instances. As is always the case, please do not do the work for your daughter, but rather assist by asking appropriate questions, guiding her to resources, or suggesting that she connect with her teachers.

We have developed an FAQ with additional information. It is posted on our Remote Learning hub ( and will be updated as the days and weeks progress. While we are trying to anticipate your questions and our students' needs, in many regards we will be learning together and importantly, the reality of remote learning will be different for each of our students and families. Communication will be key, so on this page we have also posted a grid of who you should contact for different questions (e.g. technology help, student support, classwork issues).

I know there are questions about upcoming school activities and traditions, for example, the junior ring ceremony that had been scheduled for Friday, April 3. We are committed to maintaining the important cultural and social elements of school whenever possible, especially for our seniors, even in re-imagined forms. As classes are established, we will have more information for you regarding these aspects of our program.

Until then, please remember next week that as a community we must ease into the process of remote learning – let's prioritize gaining comfort with remote learning, having meaningful and interesting intellectual engagement, and social connection. There is much unknown ahead, and we are in a situation that none of us asked for. However, new and innovative ways of teaching and learning are ahead, and together, we will rise to the occasion!

Thank you. Stay well. And please stay in touch.


Elizabeth J. McGregor
Head of School

MARCH 19, 2020: Parent Resources for Remote Learning

An Update from Head of School Elizabeth J. McGregor

Dear Westridge Families,

Over the past few weeks my emails have been filled with announcements of difficult and substantive decisions regarding changes to current life at Westridge. For now, our major decisions have been made and, like you in your work and family lives, we are focused on what is needed to continue our mission and to support our community during the current circumstances. And so, today, I write mainly with a few resources and thoughts that might be of use in the coming weeks.

Parent Resources Page. We have published the initial phase of a parent resource page ( We envision this as a tool to help you in supporting your daughters as they adapt to online learning. It will continue to be built out in coming weeks but I wanted to send it to you today because it includes some resources for home-based activities that may be helpful during a Spring Break mostly confined to your homes.

Wifi Check-in. Sister schools in Northern California that went online last week have relayed that internet speed in homes has been an issue for some of their families. This can be an issue especially for live-stream, video-based classes. On our end, faculty members will be using a variety of technology options for synchronous learning so that we don’t rely exclusively on video. However, we recommend that you take a moment to check on your home network to see if this might be an issue for your family, especially if you have several adults and children working online at home now. If you have any questions, please reach out to the Westridge Help Desk at

College Board Page. We know our Upper School families have many questions about AP and SAT testing. Information from the College Board is evolving rapidly, so to streamline communications we have created a dedicated information page in Finalsite.

Communications with Faculty & Staff. We recommend communicating with the school primarily through email while we are in remote learning mode. We won’t hesitate to pick up the phone if that is best. However, while we are physically away from our phones there may be delays in picking up voicemail. (Faculty emails may be found in the online directory access through the homepage of the Parent Portal and most are also published here on the school’s public website.) I would also remind you that faculty and staff have begun to transition into Spring Break this week and may not be online. In the meantime, you may reach out to me or your division director if you have any questions.

As I was writing this message, local officials announced new restrictions across LA County, the Safer At Home Order, which among other things bans gatherings over 10 people who stay at least six feet apart and tells us that outside of essential errands for food, healthcare and the like, we must all stay at home. I know this is difficult for our students and our parents, but it is vital that all of us are as conservative as possible in these measures right now and that includes avoiding play dates and social gatherings unless needed for urgent childcare needs.

To that end, much is being said about the importance of maintaining personal connections while we withdraw into social isolation. As I look out over our campus, I am both saddened at its temporary silence and reassured by the reminder of the community that is formed here. Our physical space is important to that community, but our connection transcends Madeline Drive. The gestures of caring that I have seen from the students and adults of Westridge this week make that clear. We have students wondering how they might stay connected to their Westridge "big and little sisters." Faculty have had virtual lunches to share a personal moment of connection as well as thoughts on ways to translate their curricula online. Our Grade Level Representatives (GLRs) are reaching out to their classes with parenting ideas for quarantine in messages that include beautiful thoughts for troubling times. We even have a Middle School student who has arranged an online dance party for students of Pasadena independent schools this weekend (tomorrow at 7 pm at @djwildstyle18 on Instagram)!

We are certainly in for more change before this is over, but I am thankful we are in it together. I came across this quote from Mary Oliver, one of my favorite poets, today: It is a serious thing just to be alive on this fresh morning in this broken world. Indeed, our world feels broken today but it is a gift to be here and to witness the many beautiful examples of humanity on display in the face of current challenges.

Thank you for your support and caring. If not before, we will be in touch next Thursday, March 26, with additional information on our transition to remote learning.

Yours in community,

Elizabeth J. McGregor
Head of School

MARCH 17, 2020: Update on Remote Learning

An Update from Head of School Elizabeth J. McGregor

Dear Westridge Families,

I hope today's email finds you and your loved ones safe and healthy. Importantly, I can pass along that our student who was exposed to a house guest later diagnosed with COVID-19 has emerged from the quarantine period feeling well and with no symptoms. The same is true for the other members of her family.

It seems I write to you from a different world than I did just last Friday with more and more aspects of community life shutting down and the potential timeline for this emergency expanding daily. Because of this, I can now confirm that Westridge will officially move to remote learning as of March 30, the day school resumes after spring break. As the situation with the virus remains in flux, we do not have a specific timeline for a return to campus. I am sure you know that reports to date project a late April or early May peak for the outbreak, so we are planning to remain online for the foreseeable future.

Our faculty and staff have been working remotely since Friday, in many cases building on the remote operations plans we have had in place for a number of years in anticipation of suspending life on campus due to a major emergency, such as an earthquake. Because of this work, we are well prepared for the coming weeks, although we do realize that it will be a learning process for all of us. In addition to advice from schools in Asia who have months of experience with online learning this year, we will tap into our community of educators across the country to share best practices, and we will learn from our students and families as to what is working and where we need to shift our approaches.

Week One (March 30 – April 3). All work during this week will be asynchronous, meaning class interactions will happen via Finalsite without real-time interaction. Faculty will post assignments by the evening of March 29. Students will be expected to check Finalsite every weekday by 10 am to read the assignments and materials posted by their teachers. Teachers will have regular office hours when they will be online to answer students' questions either by email or video chat.

Week Two (April 6-9). Teachers may begin to use Microsoft Teams for synchronous learning in which class interactions happen in real time. They may employ a number of different tools to communicate and provide instruction to students including Finalsite, email, screencasts, discussion boards, Padlet, Flipgrid and many others. There should be a balance between asynchronous and synchronous activities.

Your daughters will receive emails from their teachers before March 30 explaining their plans, schedules, workload, expectations, and the like. We have posted an updated and expanded overview of remote learning on the school's Coronavirus page. Before online school begins, we will launch a page of resources for parents as you support your daughters in this new learning environment.

We will continue to communicate with you as our planning unfolds. In addition to classes, we are working toward ways to maintain other important aspects of our school day and our community life, such as advisories, school traditions, celebrations, and team workouts. They will undoubtedly look different but are crucial to our school and our girls' social and emotional wellness. There is much to tackle as we roll out remote learning, but we will incorporate these components as quickly as possible.

Again, I thank you for being with us through this challenge – a challenge for our school, our girls, our families, and our greater society. While we work to ensure that our educational program continues uninterrupted, we know our first responsibility is to ensure our students feel safe and secure. Getting back to school and establishing a routine are important foundational elements, as is working to maintain social connection. Our student support team will, of course, be available while we are working remotely. And I know that our community will rally to support those among us in need in the coming months. In the meantime, if you have any questions please reach out to me or to your division director.


Elizabeth J. McGregor
Head of School

MARCH 13, 2020: Coronavirus Update

An Update from Head of School Elizabeth J. McGregor

Dear Westridge Families,

By now you all should be aware that we have a student who was in contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19. We have notified the Pasadena Department of Public Health and are waiting to receive specific guidance. In the meantime, we are able to provide you with the following information.

The student, a 9th grader, was in contact with a family friend visiting from Spain who departed 12 days ago. She has been in school during this time, and she and her entire family remain symptom free. After the guest returned to Spain, he tested positive and is noted to be healthy and doing well. The family has been in touch with Pasadena Public Health and their own physician and the consensus of opinion, as reported by the family, is that the overwhelming likelihood is that their houseguest contracted the virus after he returned home.

We will continue to seek direct information and guidance from health officials but wanted to share this information now because, due to the magnitude of what they are dealing with, it may be some time before we connect. Our closure was a precautionary measure, but I do believe it was the right one for our community.


If your daughters left items at school on Thursday that they wish to pick up for break, campus will be open Monday, March 16, from 12-3 pm. We ask that they check in with their division office when they arrive on campus. This time is for quick pick-up of items only.


Faculty and administrators are working now on remote learning plans and resources and we will be in touch next week with more details (an overview of remote learning procedures is posted at Know that currently we are operating under the assumption that we will be moving to remote learning when we return from Spring Break on March 30 and that we may be in this mode for some time. However, we will be in touch regularly as the situation evolves, and at a minimum, will report back to our community on Thursday, March 19, and Thursday, March 26.

One other piece of information that we learned today from a physician who provided guidance to the California Association of Independent Schools is that recommendations are trending toward keeping students at home as much as possible, and, if they are in group situations, to limit them to no more than 15 people, all of whom are symptom-free and typically spend time with one another. I know this is a much smaller number than the broader guidance we see in the larger public and it was not stated as a formal, concrete recommendation. However, I wanted to share the direction and tone of expert thinking to help you as you make plans for your daughters and families in the coming weeks.

Thank you and, as always, reach to me or your division director with any questions.


Elizabeth J. McGregor
Head of School

MARCH 12, 2020: School Closed March 13

An Update from Head of School Elizabeth J. McGregor

Westridge School will be closed tomorrow, Friday, March 13, to all students, faculty, and staff.

This evening we learned that an Upper School student was in direct contact with a person who has since tested positive for COVID-19. In an abundance of caution and following guidance from the National Association of Independent Schools, we are closing school tomorrow and Spring Break will begin immediately for students. We will provide more information as soon as we are able to speak with the Pasadena Department of Public Health.

As always, our decision making is led by our primary responsibility for our students' and community's health and safety.


Elizabeth J. McGregor
Head of School

MARCH 12, 2020: Athletics Practices

An Update from Director of Athletics Melanie Horn

Hello Tigers!

Beginning tomorrow (March 13) we will not be practicing after school. During the next two weeks, coaches will be sending you work-outs that you can do at home. It is my hope that you continue your conditioning and stay sharp with your skills as you are able. When we return, we’ll take care of our unfinished business in the Prep League!

I thank you for your hard work and dedication thus far this season, and truly look forward to getting everyone back on campus!

Stay strong, Tigers!

Coach Horn

MARCH 11, 2020: No School March 16-19

An update from Head of School Elizabeth J. McGregor

Dear Westridge Families,

We appreciate your patience as we work through the best options for our students and community during the COVID-19 outbreak. While we know uncertainty can be frustrating, new information and recommendations from public health officials that we receive each day have been important to our discussions about how best to protect our students while minimizing the impact to their learning. After much research and deliberation, we have decided to begin Spring Break four days early and will close school beginning Monday, March 16.

We did not make this decision lightly, but believe it is best for our immediate community, our extended loved ones, and the right thing to do as a school, an institution which plays a critical role in the fabric of our local community. Though there wasn’t one clear path, it is clear that as individuals and institutions, we need to work together through this difficult situation. We understand this will have a significant impact on our families, and we hope that by making this decision today you have ample time to make any childcare arrangements that might be needed for next week.

Although we have no cases of exposure within our community, the combination of increased calls for social distancing to mitigate virus spread and our atypical schedule for next week ultimately led us to make this final decision. We do not have a concrete plan for post-Spring Break yet and will be evaluating the situation on an ongoing basis. We are scheduled to return on Monday, March 30, but much could change over those two weeks. We will send communications each Thursday, March 19 and 26, to update you on our thinking and plans.

Faculty will be on campus Monday planning for remote learning should that be required after break and they will be speaking with students over the next two days to help them prepare for that possibility. All students should take materials, devices, and chargers home Thursday in case our situation changes abruptly, and of course over the break as well. Families of students in grades 4 & 5, whose daughters do not have dedicated devices for school, will receive a survey tomorrow to help us understand your home technology needs.

We also are canceling all events and participation in non-essential gatherings of 100 or greater people between now and Monday and all athletic competitions for the remainder of the week. This includes:

  • Thursday: Intermediate and Chamber Orchestra Spring Concert, North Central Animal Shelter service-learning trip, and Upper School Town Meeting.
  • Friday: US Orchestra Symphonies for Schools Concert at Disney Concert Hall field trip, NSDA Speech Qualifier, and the 8th grade dance at High Point.
  • Weekend: Rocketry launch at Santa Fe Dam and the Speech and Debate Bruschke Invitational.


Following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention current recommendations, we ask all families, faculty, and staff traveling to CDC Level 2 or 3 countries, or who are knowingly exposed to COVID-19, to observe a 14-day self-quarantine period at home before re-entering school. Quarantine should begin the day after leaving one of these countries and families should also follow guidelines received from health officials. Should your family be in this position, teachers will work with your daughter to keep her up to date in her classes and we ask that you contact your division director and Director of Health & Wellness Cynthia Conteas-Wood.


We have launched a dedicated webpage ( for all school updates regarding COVID-19 as well as links to public health resources. There you will find all announcements we have made to date, and an overview of how remote learning will function if required. We will continue to email you key updates but have created this as a central repository for information and it will be updated regularly.

Just two weeks ago when I wrote to you that we were entering into uncharted waters for U.S. schools, I did not conceive of where we would be in such a short period of time. All of us appreciate your words of support and understanding. Westridge is a special community every day, but we have a different appreciation for the depth of what that means when we face challenges. We will continue to keep you apprised and please do not hesitate to let me or your division directors know if you have any questions or concerns.


Elizabeth J. McGregor
Head of School

MARCH 9, 2020: Visiting Colleges and Universities

An Update from the Westridge College Counseling Team

Dear Juniors, Seniors, and Parents,

As communicated by the Head of Upper school last week, Westridge has cancelled both international trips and domestic Interim trips. This determination was made in large part because of the risks - known, emerging, and as yet unknown - involved in air travel at this time. The College Counseling Team is aware that some students and their families are planning on using spring break to visits college and universities either as prospective or admitted students.

In light of evolving information about COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) and out of an abundance of caution, many colleges and universities will be suspending upcoming spring events for campus visitors, including admitted student programming, campus tours, and information sessions, until further notice. To date, Brown University, Columbia University, Fordham University, Harvard College, University of Pennsylvania, University of Puget Sound, and Stanford University, are taking this temporary action to ensure the safety and well-being of their visitors as well as the entire college or university community. We suspect that many institutions will follow suit.

We know that this is a critical time for students, whether they are seniors choosing the college in which college to enroll, or juniors just starting their college search. One Ivy League university emailed us to guide students to the many other opportunities offered to learn about their campus besides actually coming to campus. For example: explore individual college websites, take a virtual tour, and check out the Net Price Calculator or other financial aid cost estimators. In addition, you could research social media accounts for testimonials and insights.

To this end, we highly recommend that you research and access if traveling to visit colleges and universities will be productive, given the updates known as of today. If we can be of support to you, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our team, as we care deeply about you, your health, and your future.

Sincerely yours,

Westridge College Counseling Team

MARCH 6, 2020: Student Trips, Spring Break Travel, School Events, Campus Maintenance

An Update from Head of School Elizabeth J. McGregor

Dear Westridge Families,

As we wind down a week with many new situations and updates regarding coronavirus (COVID-19) in the U.S. and communities closer to home, I would like to provide you with school-related updates.


  • Upper School overnight Interim trips, both domestic and international, have been cancelled. This was a very difficult and disappointing decision as experiential learning is a critical and growing part of our program. However, the determinations were made in light of the incredible rate of change in both the outbreak and information available about the virus including risks involving air travel. Our upper school and business offices continue to work with trip vendors to recoup as much of the trips fees as possible. If your family is involved, you will hear directly from those offices when more information becomes available.
  • Currently, we are assessing the situation for Lower School Experiential Week and Upper School Interim Week local and day trips. We plan to make a final decision by Wednesday, March 11.
  • A decision regarding alternate plans for Interim Week for students on cancelled trips will be made on or before March 11 but please note that students are expected to take part in school activities during that period.


With Spring Break rapidly approaching, we know that many of our families and employees will be traveling in the coming weeks. Following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention current recommendations, we ask all families, faculty and staff traveling to CDC Level 2 or 3 countries, or who are knowingly exposed to COVID-19, to observe a 14-day self-quarantine period at home before re-entering school. Quarantine should begin the day after leaving one of these countries and families should also follow guidelines received from health officials. Should your family be in this position, teachers will work with your daughter to keep her up to date in her classes and we ask that you contact your division director and Director of Health & Wellness Cindy Conteas-Wood.

The CDC currently lists China, Iran, Italy and South Korea with Warning Level 3 travel advisories, and Japan is designated Alert Level 2. These warnings and CDC recommendations are likely to change in coming days and weeks, including during our Spring Break, so please monitor changes while you are away, and we will update should our policies evolve. For the most important and up to date information, please visit these websites:


Again, following the guidance of national and local public health organizations, at this time school events and athletic schedules remain in place as planned. The one exception we have made to date is the cancellation of Grandparent's Day (April 9), a decision which was made in light of the increased risk of illness in the elderly. April 9 remains a half day of school for students with planned early dismissal (Lower School: 11:30 am, Middle School: 11:45 am, and Upper School: 12:20 pm) and afternoon professional development workshops for faculty and staff.


Our facilities team is monitoring all public health guidance and is in communication with school and university facilities teams across the city to stay abreast of evolving best practices. We have a large supply of disinfectant wipes that address viruses as well as a large supply of hand sanitizer. All high-touch surfaces are cleaned each night, and janitorial staff members are active during the day as well as in the evening.

As I am sure you have all heard by now, among the top recommendations for mitigating transmission of COVID-19 are social distancing (stay home from school and work if you are sick) and frequent hand washing. This week, more than 100 signs with reminders and directions for proper hand washing techniques were posted around campus.

As in all circumstances, our primary goal right now is to keep our community members safe and healthy. COVID-19 adds a unique element in that schools are key community institutions that might be called on to close to limit the spread of the virus in the broader community. Our management and academic teams are meeting daily to ensure we are managing this issue on our campus and are prepared should we be called on to close campus and shift to online learning.

Thank you for your support and understanding as we all work together to keep our girls and community safe and actively engaged in their learning. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me (Elizabeth McGregor), your division director, or Cynthia Conteas-Wood, our director of health and wellness.


Elizabeth J. McGregor
Head of School

MARCH 6, 2020: Upper School Interim Trips

An Update from Director of Upper School Gary Baldwin

Dear Upper School Families,

As you know we have been monitoring the spread and the risk of the COVID-19 virus and making assessments about necessary changes to School programming. As a part of this process we have cancelled Interim international travel experiences for this year. This determination was made in large part because of the risks - known, emerging, and as yet unknown - involved in air travel at this time. As these same concerns apply equally to our domestic overnight trips, I am writing to let you know that we have now made the decision to cancel this year’s domestic overnight trips to Idaho, Alabama, and Hawaii.

As with the cancelling of the international trips, we recognize that because Interim is such a valued Westridge experience this decision will be disappointing to both students and faculty, and you should know that it was not a decision arrived at lightly. In the end, however, the safety and well-being of our student and faculty population is our primary concern and we are not prepared to send members of our community on overnight trips away from home under the existing circumstances.

We will be working with the airlines and hotels to secure as much as we can in the way of refunds, and we will be refunding to you whatever we receive from these efforts, as well as the chaperones’ stipends and contingency fees associated with the trips. This process will take a few days and so I would ask you to look for a communication from the school in the near future updating you on our efforts on this front.

We are continuing to monitor the situation and remain in regular contact with the Pasadena Department of Public Health. We have not yet made a final decision on the running of the local interim experiences, but we expect to make a decision about that no later than Wednesday, March 11. At that time, we plan to provide an update on the plans for the Interim days for those students whose trips have been cancelled.

Additionally, if you did purchase travel insurance and need assistance or documentation for filing a claim, please be in contact with Kim Cota in our business office (626-799-1053 ext. 266 or by email at

Needless to say, this is a fluid and evolving situation, and we will be messaging out as events warrant. In the meantime, if you have questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me.


Gary Baldwin
Director of Upper School

FEBRUARY 26, 2020: Coronavirus Information

An Update from Head of School Elizabeth J. McGregor

Dear Westridge Families,

As you may know, yesterday the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention recommended that businesses and communities, including schools, prepare now for the potential of planned closures if needed to slow the spread of the coronavirus in the United States. We refer you to the CDC website for specifics, but please note they clearly state that the virus is not currently recognized to be spreading in U.S. communities and that such actions might be put in place should sustained transmission in U.S. communities be identified. As this point in time, according to the LA County Department of Public Health, LA County only has one confirmed case of novel coronavirus in a non-resident traveler from Wuhan, and the immediate health risk for the general public is considered low.

At Westridge, as part of our ongoing emergency preparedness work we have developed a business continuity plan that includes online learning to continue classes should campus be closed for an extended period. In response to the CDC's recommendation yesterday, all faculty members have been asked to formalize specific online learning contingency plans for their current classes.

While the likelihood of a campus closure is unknown, we wanted to let you know that we are prepared for such a scenario.

Also, with the international outbreak situation changing daily, we are assessing our international trips for the upcoming Interim Week. If you have a daughter on one of these trips, we will be in touch with you by Wednesday, March 4, to update you on what we have learned and our plans. In the meantime, if you have questions regarding Interim travel, please contact Gary Baldwin ( or 626.799.1053 ext. 236).

Thank you.

Elizabeth J. McGregor
Head of School

Preventing illness:

Public health officials recommend that the public do the following to protect themselves and others from respiratory illnesses:

  • Stay home when sick.
  • 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.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unclean hands.
  • Limit close contact, like kissing and sharing cups or utensils, with people who are sick.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. If you do not have a tissue, use your sleeve (not your hands).
  • Get a flu immunization to prevent influenza if you have not done so this season.

Coronavirus FAQ:

For general information on coronavirus (COVID-19), we recommend visiting the Center for Disease Control & Prevention's (CDC) website.

Additional tips on how to talk to your children about coronavirus:

LA County Public Health Factsheet (PDF) Downloads:

Event Changes & Cancellations:

Campus closed until further notice. Please find all event changes and cancellations in the most recent Westridge Weekly email.

Update Contact Info:

Should you need to update your contact information or get in touch with the registrar's office during a school closure, please click here.

Public Health Resources:

LA County Public Health

CA State Public Health

Centers for Disease Control

CDC - Chinese

CDC - Spanish

World Health Organization

An independent, forward-thinking
day school for girls, grades 4–12

324 Madeline Drive
Pasadena, California 91105
Phone: 626-799-1153
Fax: 626-799-9236

Westridge School admits students of any race, color, religion, national or ethnic origin, or sexual orientation to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national or ethnic origin, or sexual orientation in administration of its educational policies, admission policies, tuition assistance programs, athletic, and other school-administered programs.

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