This school year’s final quarter brings hope

Mar 05 2021

This school year’s final quarter brings hope

“Five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes
Five hundred twenty five thousand moments so dear
Five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes
How do you measure? Measure a year?”
–from “Rent”

Over the course of the past few weeks, many of us have discussed how it was a year ago this month that we headed out for spring break; that was the last time life felt “normal.” A year may not seem that long in the life of an adult; for a child it can be an eternity. To use a word from one of my favorite movies-”The Princess Bride”- the change in our world the past year feels “inconceivable.”

After Spring Break, we will welcome many students back to campus, including some who will be here for the first time since March 2020. We completely understand and support the decision of some of our families to remain in distance learning. That being said, it will feel more like school to have a greater number of students on campus, even if we still have to do temperature and symptom checks daily, and we all continue to wear masks and maintain physical distance. It’s been a long slog, and we still have a ways to go; in some ways, though, it is beginning to feel like there is light at the end of the tunnel. (We hope we will not see a spike in the next few weeks.)

The vast majority of our faculty/staff have received either their first or second COVID vaccination. Spring sports, albeit with changes to recognize the new reality, will occur; we’re already planning for a live outdoor high school graduation ceremony like the one we held last June. Yes, school feels different for a number of reasons, but in other ways, the routines of students and teachers working together and children playing with one another remains, and they’re a blessing to behold.

In many conversations I’ve had with friends and colleagues, we’ve shared what are the things we’ve missed the most in the past year, and what we most look forward to experiencing again. How about for you? Is it eating in restaurants? Seeing movies? Meeting friends in coffee shops? Our older son and I recently shared our mutual yearning for live music.

What will make you feel like you’ve recovered some of your pre-COVID world? Many studies have offered a variety of scenarios for how a “return to normal” will look. While we may not know exactly how it will appear, we can anticipate the possibilities.

However, we must continue to bear in mind the many, many people who experienced significant loss this year. Over a half-million people have died; every one of those individuals left loved ones in mourning, and our thoughts and prayers go out to them. The economic losses over the past year have devastated communities and companies, and countless people have suffered grievously. An education gap that preceded the pandemic has only widened, and many children have fallen even further behind their peers. We have much repair and restoration in front of us as we move forward.

As a fellow independent school educator recently toured Keystone’s campus, she commented on how vibrant it feels in spite of the pandemic. She pointed out how hard our teachers are working to provide excellent concurrent education for children in person and students at home. She complimented Keystone students on their passion for learning, their dynamism, and their excellent questions. She found our campus uniquely beautiful and “homey.”

It felt refreshing and reaffirming to hear her opinions on our school. When you experience something daily, it can be easy to lose sight of its particularity. Sometimes, it takes someone from the outside world to remind us of our good fortune and blessings. Seeing our school through her eyes reaffirmed the excellent work and dedication of this entire community.

While none of us would have wished for this life-altering pandemic, we have learned much and we have grown a great deal over the past twelve months. As we move into the final quarter of the 2020-2021 school year, let’s dedicate ourselves to finishing the school year strongly. Let’s learn as much as possible and let’s revel in one another’s company. Let’s work hard and play hard, and let’s never lose sight of how fortunate we are.

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