The summer season is coming to an end. Most people, especially young families, have been busy with preparations for back to school and work. Here at St. Matthias, our students return to school this Thursday, starting with higher grades. It will be a joy for us all to see our campus more alive with the presence of our students and faculty. We are excited to welcome everyone back to school, but in a special way we welcome the new members in the faculty and staff as well as over fifty new students who have enrolled this year.
There are feelings of stress and anxiety among parents and kids about being back to school. On the one hand, there is excitement about the benefits of in-person learning which we, here at St. Matthias, have been having practically for the whole of the pandemic times. On the other hand families have concerns about potential disruption of studies in the event their child or a classmate tests Covid positive.
Such mixed feelings are very normal and so we have been planning to have measures in place to make the parents and students feel comfortable and confident. Mrs. Mary Lynch, our new Principal, has prepared a comprehensive “Return to School Plan” for reopening the school, putting in place all the health guidelines and safety measures, taking into consideration all possible scenarios. Certainly, such detailed planning gives us, especially all the parents, a sense of confidence that our students are welcomed into a safe learning environment.
It is important for us to spread this confidence in safety measures and speak positively about the care and love with which we, the teachers, aides, faculty, office staff, administration, and maintenance staff, welcome each child to our campus. We take it as a sacred responsibility that the parents have entrusted to us to become co-parents for their children for a good chunk of the school days. Parents are also partners in this. Students will experience fear and anxiety OR safety and confidence depending on what they hear the parents discuss about politics and policies about the pandemic response to face masks, social distancing, stay-at-home orders, etc.
It is here the importance of trusting in God must be underlined. I always have this line to sign off my email correspondence: “Let us keep taking all precautions and keep praying, because though we do not know what the future holds for us, the good news is that we know who holds our future!”
These uncertain times are the best chance that God has provided us to instill into our children the sense of dependence on a loving God who will protect us always if we turn to Him and make Him part of our daily life. After all, His promise is true: I will be with you always, even to the end of times.” (Matthew 28:20).
Your brother in Christ,
Fr. Abraham Orapankal