August 25, 2020

Happy First Day of School!!! The success of our return to school plan is due to the efforts of many people throughout St. James. Whether you are a teacher, staff member, parent, student, business partner, or any other valued member of our community – we successfully opened our school doors for in-person students, and we connected with virtual students online. Without the support and trust of our parents and community, we would not have considered reopening this week, and we certainly could not have done it as well as we did together.

To that end, I am deeply proud of our teachers and staff. We asked them to reinvent teaching last spring, then we asked them to mask-up and reinvent it again this fall. They rose to these challenges and again have proven themselves to be the essential workers we always knew them to be.  

So far this morning, at every turn, our teachers, staff and students can be seen working together to succeed. I lost track of the hundreds of different masks our students smiled from behind – the hot pink unicorns, cartoon characters, camo, and the STJ Tigers themed masks. Even if you are unable to see their smiles, you can see the skip in their step and hear their pride as they participate in classroom activities. 

Several teachers have already shared their first day of online experiences with their virtual students. We have much to learn together as we begin this new version of digital learning. We are dedicated to providing high-quality instructional opportunities to students using the STJ Virtual platform. We understand there will inevitably be issues early on with the virtual format. This is the first time most school districts have utilized large scale online learning. We will work to expeditiously develop solutions to all virtual learning issues as they present themselves.      

We understand the reality that we are all living through a complex pandemic. We are going to take positive cases seriously – we care about our students and our team of dedicated teachers and staff. We will be in constant contact with the Phelps/Maries County Department of Health and are prepared to shut down cohorts, buildings, or the entire district if cases rise and closures are in the best interest of our community. In addition to the contact tracing process for students and staff who require quarantine, we will notify you of positive cases at your child’s school. 

As we continue with our first few days of school, car-rider lines and logins will speed up, names and passwords will be remembered, and life will feel a little more normal for students and staff. 

As we head into our second week of school, we need to fight that good fight together: social distance, mask-up, disinfect, wash hands, and be kind.  We are stronger together. We are better together. It’s so great to see our students and staff back at STJ Schools! Go Tigers!!! #stjtigerpride