10 Sep Message from The Head of School September 10, 2020
We have struggled in this era of COVID-19 to explain it, to describe it, to make sense of it. Pundits, historians, and armchair critics alike have opined about these “unprecedented times” and the uncertainty of how long this pandemic will last. We have all wished for “normal” times as we never have before.
We at TCS are no exception. Each time we consider one of our treasured traditions, we also must work to reconsider it in light of the CDC guidelines. How will we do Orientation Day, the Buddy Reveal, the Fall Family Festival?
A recent New York Times Op-ed talks about the risks and trade-offs of this time of COVID-19 and extends the idea of the ways we think about risks backwardly.
We may be prone to think that:
As long as we see one another at school, it should be OK to freely gather together in our homes as well.
As long as we are able loosen restrictions in one place (think bars and restaurants), it should be safe to loosen them in every place.
As long as we aren’t made to wear masks in public, we shouldn’t have to wear them at school.
But at second glance, this thinking is backwards. Instead, we need to be thinking in terms of trade-offs.
If we want to be able to gather in school, then we need to limit (or eliminate) time in gatherings.
If we want to continue to be connected with other families, then we need to make arrangements to do so safely.
If we want to keep the TCS community strong, then we need to prioritize certain events and practices over others.
In other words, . . . we can’t have it all.
But, of course, we want it all. This is nothing new. So, I went to the Scriptures to help me make sense of this idea and to get some wisdom for how we need to think about school, about extra-curricular activities, and about community events.
While the word “trade-offs” isn’t specifically stated in the Scriptures, there are a good many “if . . . then” statements.
If we want to live, then we need to die to ourselves. Luke 9:24-25
If we want to be forgiven, we must confess our sins. 1 John 1:9
If we have the faith of a mustard seed, then God will move mountains through us. Matthew 17:20
God has been near to us at TCS as we have sought – and continue to seek – wisdom. I believe there is wisdom in this idea of trade-offs during the “Year of Covid.” We all want for school to stay open all year. We want children and adults to be safe in our school. We do not want to spread the virus or do anything that would endanger others. If we want all this, we have to be wise.
I am confident that, as a community, we can be wise. We can keep ourselves and our own families from undo exposure. We can be smart in how we re-imagine activities that are important to us so that they are safer. We can make wearing masks, washing hands, and keeping social distance normal, matter-of-fact practices for as long as we need them. These are not undue burdens. These are just wisdom.
Once again, I am both humbled and excited to work in cooperation with you to keep school open and to continue on our adventure that is the 2020-2021 school year.
Blessings on the families of TCS,
A prayer of St. Francis of Assisi:
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace; where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is discord, union; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; and where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console; to be understood, as to understand; to be loved, as to love; for it is in giving that we receive, it is in pardoning that we are pardoned, and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.