Letters sent to our school family regarding school during the covid-19 crisis.
April 10, 2020
Greetings to our Blessed School Families,
I have the best job in the world—yes, even now! And I work with the most incredible team of teachers and administrators in the world! I want you to know it is our highest privilege and honor to work with your sons and daughters, and an absolute joy to see them grow to become more like Jesus. I sincerely thank you for entrusting us with this truly sacred and most rewarding work. Please know you are our education family—representing nearly 2,500 students—and each one of us in our 32 schools takes the responsibility of serving you and your precious children seriously.
Many of you have heard that Governor Brown and Governor Inslee have given directives for schools in Oregon and Washington to continue with online learning for the rest of this school year. While this is disappointing news it was not entirely unexpected, and our disappointment is quickly replaced by our excitement at the continued growth we are seeing in our students as they have readily adapted to a new way of learning.
We want to assure you that we, your education family in the Oregon Conference Office of Education, continue to support our teachers and administrators by providing them with quality digital learning resources as well as frequent opportunities for input, dialogue, and nourishment for the soul. We want all of the students these dedicated educators serve to continue a high level of learning while experiencing the spiritual and emotional support they need as they struggle to adjust to the changing landscape this pandemic has caused, and we are diligently working to anticipate any new challenges as they arise.
We are incredibly grateful for the work our schools had already done prior to onset of this crisis to create an advantageous situation for online learning. Here are some of the primary reasons we believe our school system was positioned well to make a strong transition into online learning and will continue to succeed in keeping our students as the inspiration for all of our decisions:
- You: We are most grateful to you, our customers. You have journeyed with us and continue to be the central focus of all our decisions. It is because of you that we feel encouraged and supported to do our best. You and your children give us purpose.
- Principal Leadership: We hire relationship-based leaders with commitment to the mission who can make necessary decisions and build effective teams. We are immensely proud of their assiduous leadership during this time of transition.
- Teacher Dedication and Collaboration: We honor our amazing and tireless teachers who not only effected a smooth transition to eLearning in less than 24 hours but continue to put their whole hearts into nurturing each of your children’s learning. We have Professional Learning Communities where teacher leaders provide collaborative space for best practice. This benefit has continued virtually as teachers share ideas and lift each other up. Thank you to all of our teacher leaders.
- Educational Vision: Over the last couple of years, our principals have created three aspirations to work toward in our schools. Those three are:
- Christ-Center Culture
- Restorative Relationships
- Maximizing Individual Potential
- Technology Access: We have invested in and built a one-to-one technology program for all 32 of our schools, which ensures that every student now has a device for their use at home.
Our Oregon Conference President Dan Linrud believes strongly in the mission and purpose of our schools, and wanted to share this message with you:
“The students in our Oregon Conference schools are exceedingly blessed to
have the most committed educators providing the highest quality learning
opportunities for your students and families. I am confident that we will look
back on this challenging time with gratitude for the Lord’s abundant blessings.
I continually claim the promise in Psalm 37:5, ‘Commit your way to the Lord,
trust also in him, and he will bring it to pass.’
This pandemic will pass. My prayer for the educators, students, and families of
our Oregon Conference schools is that you are safe and healthy and you come
through this closer to Jesus.”
When we all get to Heaven I believe we will look back on this trying time we are currently experiencing and see how God has led from beginning to end. Know that our prayers are with you and your family. God will see us through, and I believe we will come out of this experience even stronger as a school family.
We are so looking forward to getting all of our precious students back on our campuses as soon as possible. It will be a touch of heaven to see everyone. In the meantime, we will make the absolute best of our situation and continue to depend on God to be our Leader and trust Him to meet all of our needs.
God’s richest blessings on each one of you,
Vice President of Education
April 9, 2020
Dear School Family,
Yesterday Governor Brown extended the school campus closures through the remainder of the school year. School is not closed; we will continue to do distance learning. But this isn’t the outcome any of us had hoped and prayed for. I am disappointed. I know the students are too, and I’m sure you’re also very ready to return to the normal we used to know.
Your feedback regarding the way we are operating school is vital. What we are doing has to be sustainable for you and your child. If something I am asking your child to do isn’t sustainable, please let me know and we will talk about it and see what solutions we can come up with. This “new normal” is stressful; I want to do everything I can to keep school from being stressful also.
I never imagined that March would be the last time we would all meet until next fall. There is a lot of grief at this time for each of us. It looks different for everyone, but please allow yourself the grace to grieve these changes and losses, and please let me know how I can support your child through this grief process for them as well. When we grieve, we heal best together. In this time where we can’t physically be together, the grief hits us all the harder. I am continually brought back to thankfulness that God is never far away. In Psalm 34:18, He promises to be near to the brokenhearted.
It’s okay to be stressed, overwhelmed, and anxious during this time. Our God is big enough to come along side us as we are all those things and be our comfort. He doesn’t condemn our human emotions. He brings us security and certainty in Him and His unchanging love.
We have the choice every day, though it is clearer in these times, to praise God anyway. He is good, even when many, many other things around us are not. We can praise Him for His goodness, His lovingkindness, and faithfulness. He promises to never leave us. That is praiseworthy.
I miss your child and I miss talking with you too. When this is all over, may we look back at this time and remember the good amidst the bad.
From the distance of my apartment, I send my warmest love to your family.
March 26, 2020
Dear School Family,
As I'm sure you know, on Monday, Governor Brown made an executive order that is summarized by: "Stay home unless absolutely necessary."
This changes our plans to do small-group tutoring at school and I can no longer meet with students face-to-face. While I'm sad we can't continue with that, I am working on ways to best tutor each student from their own home and will be contacting each of you to set up a schedule for me to regularly electronically check in with your child.
Please know that while this is "spring break," I'm in town and most happy to help your child with their work on Sunday-Friday via the phone.
I miss seeing all of you!
With love and prayers,
March 16, 2020
All families have packets with school assignments and instructions. Please call or text your teacher if you have any questions!
-Sutherlin Adventist Christian School
March 13, 2020
Greetings Oregon Conference School Families and Staff,
In light of the latest announcement by Oregon Gov. Kate Brown ordering all K-12 schools in the state to close from Monday, March 16 through Tuesday, March 31 because of the coronavirus outbreak, we are following this directive to close all of our Oregon Conference schools during this time. We anticipate seeing our students back on campus on Wednesday, April 1.
Our principals and teachers are working hard to provide meaningful and relevant learning opportunities for our students during this time to minimize the impact of the time our schools are closed. Please know that during these e-Learning days our office will be open to support our schools.
Our plan is always to keep our children, families, and communities as safe as possible. These are trying times and our prayers are with you and your families as you adjust to these changes. We continue to be hopeful that no further interruptions to learning are necessary, and we are already looking forward to seeing you back at school on April 1.
Please know that we are continually praying for our precious students.
March 12, 2020
Dear Oregon Conference School Families and Staff,
With the number of confirmed COVID-19 coronavirus cases in Oregon increasing, Governor Brown announced new guidance last night regarding group gatherings and social distancing. This follows a recent similar statement given by Washington State Governor Jay Inslee. We remain committed to keeping our schools open and safe. In accordance with these announcements and in order to minimize potential opportunities for the virus to spread, we have decided to proactively begin suspending events that bring large groups of students, adults, and community members together as well as canceling all field trips including our mission trips. This action is not related to a presumptive case. At this time, there are no presumptive cases in our schools.
Suspension of non-essential school-based activities begins immediately, effective Thursday, March 12, and will remain in effect for 30 days. This includes the suspension of all school-based assemblies and events, off-campus field trips, and professional development meetings and events. With regard to athletics, we are following new state guidance denying audience admission at all school-based events, with the exception of essential personnel and credentialed media. The list of affected activities will grow as we work with partners and stakeholders over the coming days. We will update you as we make those decisions.
To be clear, we are taking every step possible so that we can continue to provide high-quality education for all of our students and keep our schools open.
We realize that this decision will impact every school community, and we know that many of the events, student performances, and other gatherings that we are suspending are those that schools, students, and families look forward to all year long. Suspending these events is consistent with guidance from health authorities, and we believe it is a prudent and responsible step to take at this time. We will be working with trip planners, event organizers, and others who are responsible for the affected activities.
The safety, health, and well-being of our students and staff is our highest priority. We will continue to work in close partnership with public health authorities to minimize both the spread of coronavirus and disruption to schools and students. We will continue emphasizing the importance of handwashing at school. We will continue to prioritize the cleaning of high-touch surfaces in classrooms and common areas. And we are making sure schools have adequate cleaning supplies.
Students, families, and everyone in our community can best support our efforts by washing hands frequently, covering mouths when coughing or sneezing, and using hand sanitizer. Those experiencing symptoms of the cold or flu should stay at home, only returning to school or work when symptom-free for 24 hours. If you are concerned about symptoms, please consult with a doctor.
Thank you for your cooperation and understanding during this difficult time. We all collectively share the utmost concern for the health and safety of our students, employees, and communities. Please know we all are in the hands of Jesus and it is reassuring to know that He in charge.
Oregon Conference of SDA