The following letter was sent to current VLHS parents today, March 13, 2020.
March 13, 2020
Wow! How things have changed in the last 24 hours!
School is closed by order of the Governor. Why is this happening? A pandemic of this magnitude is hard to stop, especially when we cannot easily identify who is contagious. Health officials believe it is time to separate people as much as possible to slow the spread. As schools do their part by sending students home for an extended period, you are asked to help insure “social distance” in your family. This article from a scientific journal helped me better understand the Governor’s decision:
Consequently, all Valley Lutheran school activities conclude at 3:30 p.m. today and are at this time planned to resume at 8:00 a.m. on Monday April 6. No athletic, drama, or other practices, including involuntary practices on or off site are allowed.
Classes will be delivered in an eLearning format beginning Tuesday March 17 through Friday March 27. We will do our best to deliver the best education that we can via eLearning. These lessons are more robust than those planned for snow days and are intended to meet as many course objectives as possible. Several weeks ago, teachers began to consider strategies in case school would be closed for an extended time. On Monday, teachers will begin to implement those plans. Today teachers worked with students to ensure access to Google Classroom which is the foundation of eLearning. Students were directed to take their books home and clean out their lockers in preparation for the application of disinfectant throughout the school. If your child was absent from school today, please contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org, 989-790-1676 ext. 11) to schedule a time when you can pick up books. If you have concerns about internet access at your home, please contact Dr. Lisa Meyers (email@example.com, 989-790-1676 ext. 12) to make alternative arrangements.
Valley Lutheran is a source of help and support. We stand ready to help your family during this anxious time. If you need help – perhaps a shortage of food – let us know. Or – perhaps unexpected financial issues – let us know. Or – perhaps the need for a listening ear – let us know. Several individuals have already stepped forward looking to help and I know there are many others within the Valley Lutheran “family” who will do the same. Our guidance counselor Lindsay Mueller (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a great person to contact.
Our teachers are more than teachers – they are “ministers” of the gospel. Even though we are apart, they are ready and willing to help students in need. An email to a favorite teacher is a good place to look for help.
There is much we don’t know. Many questions have been asked about events later in the school year. Will we play the spring sports? Will we hold prom? Will we perform the spring play? At this time all we know for sure is there is no school and no events until April 6. As we know more we will share it.
And some things haven’t changed . . .
You have already been of great help. Your calm in this storm rubs off on your children and is a great encouragement to those of us who work with your children. Encourage them to limit the spread of the virus by limiting their contact with others. Encourage them to be a positive, supportive member of the online communities in which they are active.
Look for ways to “love your neighbor.” As Christian citizens we need to do our part to reduce the spread of this virus. As we do, we will also see ways to “love our neighbor.” Perhaps you are blessed with a full freezer, then a gift to a Food Pantry might help. Perhaps you know an overworked healthcare worker who could use the relief of a home cooked meal delivered to his/her doorstep. The ways we can safely help are many. If you can help a VL family contact Lindsay Mueller (email@example.com). We can be the hands and feet of Jesus.
The practical things we can all still do are:
- Stay home if you are sick, and advise others to do the same. Contact your doctor for more information.
- Always cover coughs or sneezes with a tissue or sleeve.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol if soap and warm water are not available. I recently read that in a computer model the spread of a virus was reduced by 50% if everyone washed their hands! In the same article it defined “often” as 10 times daily. A bit of high school bathroom humor – Above a urinal was this sign: “Stop the apocalypse! Wash your hands. (Even if it is just #1.)” Good advice!
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- Get your flu shot. It won’t protect against the Coronavirus but it will help protect against other viruses.
- Review your travel plans by going to CDC.gov/travel.
At chapel I shared with the students much of what is written here. We concluded our time of worship with reading Psalm 46 which describes a great deal of earthly tumult before the Psalmist writes – “Be still and know that I am God.” We concluded by singing “A Mighty Fortress is Our God” which is based on Psalm 46. Yes – “God is our refuge and our strength, a very present help in trouble.” That is why we can “be still.”
I wish you could have seen your children in action today. They are concerned. They have questions. However, they approached the situation in a very calm, positive manner. They were “still.” You should be proud.
John Brandt, Ed.D.