Covid-19 Does Not Keep SJN Down

5th grade students do not let a little thing like a quarantine prevent them from Bible study with their teacher, Mr. Lawlor.

This is truly an unprecedented time we find ourselves in. One day our grandchildren will open up their textbooks to discover a chapter on Covid-19. St. John Nottingham, both the church and the school, have met this challenge with flexibility, ingenuity, and faith. So many things have been abruptly cancelled or altered, from field trips to gatherings, school functions, and even the annual 8th grade trip, and we knew that the number one priority was to ensure that the instructional integrity did not suffer; that SJN students did not fall behind. At first, when we thought it would only be a few weeks, that meant work packets, but, alas, it has not just been a “few weeks.”

SJN school joyfully serves a wide cross section of the community, and not everyone has ready or reliable access to the kind of high-speed internet necessary for online classes and the like, so when it became apparent that we were in this for the long haul, school and church leadership knew that the response had to be accommodating for everyone. With that in mind, the SJN teaching staff quickly swung to active online instruction, utilizing Zoom for group classes and instruction and Google Classroom for assignments, work turn-in, and more.

But we also knew that we would have to make certain that those students struggling to access these formats were not left behind, so care was taken to also provide lessons and assignments in a wide variety of formats and delivery systems, from PDFs that could be downloaded to physical work packets that could be picked up at the school. Which meant developing and instituting the necessary protocols and policies to keep everyone safe while doing so. When we had families that needed more, we provided more, even mailing work packets to students at home when needed. For work that simply could not be turned in electronically, a secure, no-contact drop off slot was implemented. These have truly been unusual times.

Zoom has been instrumental in keeping communication open, and not just for lessons. Kids need to see their teachers and their friends. Let’s face it, if God had intended for children to sit in their houses all day He wouldn’t have given them so much energy! Everything from Geography and Math lessons to Bible study went online, and SJN is fully prepared for whatever the Fall may bring, whether it is online, in person, or reduced capacity and mixed instruction.

The Church has also been handling the quarantine with aplomb and practicality. SJN church never truly “shut down;” we have maintained in-person services all along, but in a smart and responsible manner. Wide social distancing is in place. The Lord’s Supper is carefully offered in a manner that is safe and allows all present to maintain safe distances. For those who are not comfortable with a physical presence, but still wish to worship, the SJN services immediately went online, broadcasting on Facebook Live so that all who wish to praise God may do so. All are invited to worship with us on our Facebook page, either live at 9:45 AM each Sunday or by watching the recorded service.

The SJN Facebook page will also host the live broadcast of our 8th grade graduation ceremony, although the diplomas will need to be picked up later, of course.

St. John Nottingham has been proudly serving the east side for 130 years, and something like Covid-19 isn’t going to change that. We continue to be a community leader is strong, Christ-centered education, and will persist for decades to come. Our students, parents, teachers, and pastors have held strong, and will continue to hold strong in His name for as long as it pleases Him.

SJN is currently enrolling for the 2020-2021 school year. We will open on time, ready to go, in whatever format that needs to be!

David Peck

Principal of St. John Nottingham Lutheran School

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Volume 12, Issue 6, Posted 11:51 AM, 06.07.2020