03 Aug Message from The Head of School July 29, 2020
I trust that late July finds you healthy and enjoying this height of summertime.
Hopefully you have been able to read through the plans for reopening and either attended or watched the Zoom meeting in which more questions were asked and answered. A very important thing you can be doing right now is getting your children used to wearing a face covering. Many of you are already there, because you’ve been wearing them in public and it has become a non-issue. But if you have a particularly little one, or one who resists wearing a face covering, it would be wise to begin making this a non-issue now. We will mainly be wearing them in the school’s common areas – hallways, fellowship hall, in carpool – yet there will also be times in the classroom when “heads together” is a must for a particular learning activity, requiring masks. Now is the time to begin discussing, with calm matter-of-factness, the changes the children will see in the coming year. Soon it will be time to simply be excited for the school year to start!
A few more thoughts on the coming year:
This Year of COVID, as in the Biblical year of drought, has been a challenge to every person in this country and to most of the people on this planet. Never before have the commonalities of the global community been so clear. And for all of the pain and disappointment and even death it has brought, it has also given us three important and life-changing gifts: clarity, creativity, and community.
Just as when winter strips the trees and kills off the undergrowth, making everything stark and clear, the Year of COVID, has acted to strip our schedules and lay bare our priorities. We have had to make choices we would never have otherwise made. We have cancelled trips, events, celebrations in the name of health. Even though it is summer, it has been a winter experience, to be sure. The clarity in this Year of COVID has been painful at times, but clarity, in and of itself, is a gift. And we intend to receive it as such.
This clarity has freed up some room for new thinking, for creativity. As a school, we have had to rethink all of our teaching practices, our plans, and our protocols to allow for hybrid and distance learning. This is not a process I would have undertaken had it been an option. But the result of this process is that we’ve recognized we aren’t inextricably bound to “the way it’s always been done.” We get to consider new avenues for teaching and learning, new ways to use our building and our grounds, and new, albeit more challenging, ways to establish and maintain relationships with students, families, and colleagues. The creativity required in this Year of COVID is a gift. And we intend to receive it as such.
Perhaps the most challenging aspect of life in the Year of COVID is maintaining a strong school community (or any kind of community) when we cannot meet in groups of more than 25 and parents can’t come into the building and attend Chapel, etc. And yet, we have maintained a sense of unity and community during this time. This is perhaps the greatest of the gifts of the Year of COVID – that being united in purpose and prayer, we are a stronger community.
As we walk boldly and wisely into this school year during the Year of COVID, my desire is that we, as a community, be like the tree described in Jeremiah 17:
But blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him. He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit. (Jeremiah 17:7-8)
I want to be that tree. I want our community to be that tree. I invite you to be that tree.
Video helps regarding face coverings and kids:
For parents of little ones through Kindergarten: this is a great video from a children’s hospital about helping children to feel comfortable and understand why wearing a face covering is important. Whenever they say “at this hospital” insert “at Covenant” J https://youtu.be/PaENofVC_5w
For young children to watch. I think this is well done for kids. https://youtu.be/mf4QuaR3FRc
For older children to watch. Coronavirus Etiquette for Kids – a little silly but with good info. https://youtu.be/arN3ZfxcNf4