My Happy Heart: A COVID-19 Reflection

By Lynn Hess, Teacher and Director

As you know, these are unprecedented times. As Teachers, we all miss the children in our classes and their families. In the state of North Carolina, schools are now cancelled for the rest of the school year. This means that we are all taking extra precautions to keep from spreading COVID-19. This also means that, without knowing it at the time, March 13th, 2020 was our last day for the 2019/20 school year. I am choked up and have tears in my eyes as I type this. On that last day, we said good-by, thinking that we would see each other again on Monday. On that last day, we gave hugs, high fives and wished each other well for the weekend…not the rest of the school year.

To say that this is disappointing is an understatement. As Teachers, we had plans. Each child has grown since August. We knew we had two and a half months to explore, create and continue growing together. Those months at school are now lost. Tears are rolling down my cheeks.

Our Annual Art Show and Silent Auction didn’t happen this year. This is a grand celebration of the children, their creations, our families and our connections. It is a highlight of the school year as we all gather and truly celebrate the heart of this place. My heart hurts with this loss.

We can sit in despair or we can consider how to best reach out to our families. After taking the first week of no classes to regroup, the Teachers jumped into action, volunteering to take turns making videos so that, each weekday, the children could see a familiar face and hear a familiar voice. Music Class is offered, Monday through Friday, on Facebook Live. Each weekday morning, our families receive an email from me, including links to the videos for the day. On Wednesdays and Fridays, the email includes a link to the Grace Lutheran Church Virtual Devotions and Worship services. Our older classes have weekly Zoom meetings, where the children connect by seeing each other, sharing, reading stories, playing games… interacting with their friends, without the transmission of germs.

None of this is ideal. The Coronavirus is not ideal. And yet, we are a family and doing the best that we can. During our Teacher Planning Meetings (through Zoom), we emphasize that this is about making connections, not perfection. This is about doing something, instead of nothing, to help a child feel better, even if it is just for a few moments a day.

This is about leading with our hearts to help children and their families reach their greatest potential, even in these trying times.

At the end of my daily emails to families, I write, “If you have any questions, concerns, good news or needs, please let me know. Remember that we are a family!”

That is The School of Grace. That makes my heart happy.