March 30, 2020 Update

COVID-19 UPDATE

from Principal Chris Gavin

March 30, 2020

Wow, what a week! I received a message from Seesaw summarizing each of our classes that are using that platform. Just to give you a sense of what our kids and teachers are producing, we are over 3,000 new posts for the week with an average of 30 posts per student. These numbers tell part of the story, it is the quality of the work and the responses that really capture the spirit of this new enterprise. From Google Hangout to morning prayer, I am so pleased by the depth and breadth of our remote learning from PreK through 8th grade.

Along these same lines, we saw our first system overload when SeeSaw went down this morning. Now that many of our public schools will be initiating distance learning and using many of the same platforms and apps that we are currently using, there may be times when we are just slow or down. We will adjust as this unfolds.

Help Desk

Gene Lao, our IT Director, has set up a Help Desk for teachers and parents who are having any technical problems or have questions. He will roll that out today with his ideas of how it can assist us all. It is in a blog format with the hope that many people will look at it and offer assistance.

Q & A

There are many questions about upcoming school activities and whether we will postpone them or have them in a different way. Examples include Stations of the Cross, a traditionally beautiful reenactment performed by our 8th graders; Grandparents Day; May Crowning, etc. Other questions or concerns continue to arise. So, each Friday I have asked our staff to pull together questions from all our sources and to give them to me so I can include them in a Q & A section for our Blarney Stone on Mondays. You can write to me directly or to Christy Johnson with questions that you think would be helpful for our larger community. I will answer this as best I can.

Gratitude & Prayers

Thank you for your prayers for my cousin Ken who is out of the hospital and back in his Jesuit community in Brooklyn. Thank you for those who have volunteered to help deliver food to our home-bound seniors. That list is still being formulated and I will contact you when your help is needed.

This past weekend we heard the Gospel of John, chapter 11, verse 35. The reading we heard on Sunday contains the shortest verse in the entire Bible, “Jesus wept.” Jesus was deeply saddened by the death of His friend Lazarus, and the awful grief of Lazarus’s two sisters, Martha and Mary. Sometimes, I need to be reminded of Jesus’ humanity. He wept, felt pity, and suffered. I need to remember His humanity so that I call on Him knowing He suffers with us. Our anxiety, doubt, and pain are His too. Jesus cried out to Lazarus who was buried in the tomb to “Come forth,” to be with Jesus and his sisters. I believe He says this same thing to us, in our need whatever that need is. Continue to pray for all in our community, our world community who need to hear Jesus’ call to be with him.

Peace,
Chris

P.S. Here is a photo of me from the days when Ken and I lived on the same street in Brooklyn, NY.

School Closed | March 13, 2020

School Closed | March 13 – April 24, 2020

March 13, 2020

Dear Parents,

Governor Inslee has mandated that all schools be closed starting Monday, March 16, 2020. For us, this means we will not have classes after today. Your children should have come home today with materials for the long time we will be out of class. The Governor has said schools will be closed through April 24, 2020

We anticipated this possibility and teachers were ready to have today be the last day before a long break. We have prepared the students for this temporary cessation of classes and introduced distance learning. For many of our students, this was a confusing day as they waited for the news of the closure. For some, it was closer “to a dream come true!” For all, it will be a big change. We are ready to help them be ready for the next six weeks.

Specific distance learning materials will be sent to them, and you, as we ease into this new reality. Teaching and learning will be very different for all of us and our desire is to not overload them but to continue to engage them in learning. Details about how we will teach/learn at each grade level will be given to you as soon as we complete them on Friday. Please look for Distance Learning guidelines and materials for your child(ren) no later than Tuesday of next week.

I am aware of the tremendous difficulty that this school closure will be for all of you. Everything I read about kids needing routines and some sense of normalcy will be tossed unless we are purposeful. Usual bedtimes and getting up times (within an hour) are important. Homestudy will be about 2 hours. Let them explore things of interest. Read. Unless public health officials say otherwise, let them get outside. If you need anything, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me. We need to support each other. Our souls need each other.

I expect the first week will fly by, the second week will be harder. I worry about social isolation. I will ask you occasionally how your kids are doing to see how we can help. Keep a diary as this will be part of our history that your kids’ kids will want to know about. I will keep you informed through my riveting COVID-19 updates!

St. Patrick, pray for us and for those who most need God’s healing love.

peace and be healthy,

Chris