March 8, 2021

Dear Parents,

It has been a few months since our last task force email update, and we are happy to say that things have continued to remain consistent with very few cases and no spread within our school, and our entire staff has been given the opportunity to receive both doses of the Pfizer vaccine. We are incredibly grateful that we have remained in school and kept our community safe. We continue to pray for those who have family members suffering from the virus and its many effects in innumerable ways.

As we approach the one-year anniversary of the closing of all in-person learning, it is important to provide emotional closure to our children and families, as endings often frame how we look at the future. While we are still grieving the way our lives used to be, it is important to check in with our children and discuss what that means now and in the future. CNN recently published an article about this titled Why kids are hitting the pandemic wall. Instead of focusing on forgetting the year we’ve had, we instead want to look at what we’ve learned and how we’ve grown. Last week, we asked all students to answer the question:

“As a school community, how do you think we should commemorate the one year anniversary of when our school closed due to the COVID pandemic?”

I was stunned by the thoughtfulness and creativity of answers received by children of all ages. Many children asked for time with family, time to focus on wellness, a time for prayer, time to celebrate, or to dress down in their pajamas to symbolize how they went to school for three months! 

Considering our children’s ideas and feelings about the one-year anniversary, we have come up with a week of Remembrance and Hope, which will be celebrated next week, March 15 - 19. Below is a summary of how we will be celebrating (with parent action items in red).

Week of Remembrance and Hope: March 15-19
A week to reflect, celebrate and pray

Monday, March 15 - Wellness Day

  • A day off of school (no remote learning) to reflect and spend time at home appreciating the importance of family life. (This will be the final Wellness Day for this school year. With this day we still remain well within the Ohio Department of Education required hours and days.)  Perhaps discuss:
  • What are some positive things that have occurred in your family, your life, or in the world during the pandemic?
  • What are some negative things that you are experiencing because we are physically distancing from extended family, neighbors, friends?
  • What family fun took place when staying home during the pandemic?
  • How did you focus on the things that really mattered?
  • Other ideas for commemoration could include:
  • Pray a decade of the rosary for all those who have suffered during the pandemic.
  • Attend 9:00 Mass as a family (virtually or in-person).
  • Have a family movie day since that was the #1 biggest quarantine activity.

Tuesday, March 16 - Messages of Remembrance and Hope

  • Students will create Remembrance and Hope classroom doors.  Students should bring in a  photo of something they learned or did during last year’s school closure, and/or write a word that represents how they are feeling about the past year. 
  • Outreach project at school - Students will decorate a paper “coffee koozie” with messages of hope, love, and discipleship that will be used at Bumbles Bakery in Shawnee Hills.

Wednesday, March 17 - A School Community Celebration

  • We will celebrate St. Patrick’s Day together as a school family with a green-decorated school and a green Kona Ice treat!
  • This will be a Green Dress Down Day.

Thursday, March 18th -  PJ Day

  • Early release at 1:30 PM (regularly scheduled)
  • PJ Day to commemorate our students’ top choice of clothing during the pandemic
  • We will make birthday cards and St. Joseph Feast Day cards for Msgr. Joseph Hendricks.

Friday, March 19th - Remembrance, Hope and Prayer

  • Feast of Saint Joseph the Protector
  • 9:00 virtual Mass, with Litany to Saint Joseph led by eighth-grade students
  • Students will proudly wear school uniforms because we are proud we have been able to be in school this year.
  • We will close with a special prayer service of “Remembrance and Hope” at 2:15 PM via Google Meet code “prayer.”
We are so grateful for our parents’ support and prayers as we work to commemorate and celebrate this historic time in our children’s lives through remembrance, hope, and prayer.

Kathy O’Reilly