The following message was sent to the Jeffco Public Schools community and staff, following the announcement of 14 Denver-metro districts that we would be closed to in-person instruction for the remainder of this school year.
Today was a hard day.
While many already expected that in-person learning would not be happening for the rest of this school year, I know that hearing some finality on this issue was difficult.
What we are all experiencing is a form of grief. Grief is a natural process and a response to the loss of a dream.
Our students had dreams about the experiences they would have with their friends and teachers. Our staff had dreams about the memories they would make with their students and the learning they would explore together. Families had dreams about “normal” life returning, where they were not having to balance work and home responsibilities while also trying to keep their families safe and taking on the responsibility of educating their children.
All of these change now.
It is understandable and normal to feel some sadness when what we believed would be our future changes. However, we must also remember that there is much we can and should appreciate about where we are now and who we have in our lives. And, we must look forward to when the day comes that the threat of this virus does not rule our lives.
As a recovering history teacher, I think often about the experiences in our collective past and what we can learn from those. There are any number of challenges and nemeses previous generations have courageously faced and defeated. The coronavirus is ours today.
Our enemy is formidable and relentless. It does not rest, it offers no mercy, it targets everyone, it has no concern for the boundaries we draw, and it exploits every mistake and weakness we offer it.
It will be up to us to rise to meet the ferocity of this enemy in equal measure. Our countermeasures will be social distancing, sheltering in place, and sanitation. We will also fight this enemy by making sure life goes on – that we continue to grow, learn, and show respect and love for one another. We will also need to be tough and to persevere … because these next few weeks or months are going to be difficult.
Today was indeed a hard day. And today (and for every day going forward through the end of this pandemic), we will need to rise to meet the challenge before us.