March 15, 2021
Published: March 15, 2021
This Wednesday marks the one-year anniversary of the shut down of St. James R-I Schools to slow the spread of COVID-19. Several other area schools shut down one day later. On April 9, 2020, the Governor officially closed all schools in Missouri. Never would we have predicted that our schools would stay closed for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year. Nor could we have anticipated the challenging summer preparing reopening plans for a safe return to school in August. One year later, we have overcome every challenge and conquered every mountain in front of us. There is still much to learn as we develop strategies to prepare for a new model of what the school environment may look like in the future.
We endured various challenges including a one week shutdown at the elementary and hybrid learning at the middle and high schools for several weeks. I am proud to say that we have developed strategies to overcome these challenges and are now completely open for learning. The vast majority of our students are here, in-person all day, every day. I am convinced that our faculty could become air traffic controllers after becoming so skilled in synchronously connecting with students on so many devices and platforms. They all made it look easy, but I know it was anything but. We also supported many students across the district who opted to attend school this year remotely. It is a marvel that these classrooms of students have become a community of learners and good friends, even at a distance.
Our faculty and staff have done a herculean job this school year, but so have all of you, our families, who have entrusted your children to us in a pandemic. I cannot thank you enough for your cooperation with following our safety protocols, your diligence in reading our near daily updates, your patience with quarantine notices, and your flexibility with changing schedules and sudden transitions to remote learning. I know this has been a challenging year for all families, but I am optimistic about what the future holds as vaccinations become more widespread and the infection rate declines. We will need to continue to work together in the weeks and months ahead.
We are all much stronger today than we were one year ago. I am excited to see how we will continue to adapt as we tackle a multitude of challenges ahead. St. James is a compassionate, creative, and resilient community, and I am confident that brighter days are ahead for the STJ Tiger Family. #stjtigerpride