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What will the fall look like at our school?

Dear Families of Our Shepherd Lutheran School, 

Thank you so much for the many ways you have jumped in to support your child’s education at home with this new learning. We know this hasn’t been easy. Without your partnership, we would not have transitioned so quickly to E- learning, and your perseverance has allowed us to end the school year strong. Thank you. The faculty and staff thank God for you and lift you up in prayer. Thank you for your prayers for us as well. They have meant so very much to us.

What will schools look like in the fall? What will Our Shepherd look like for the 2020-2021 School Year? This is the question we are all seeking to answer. Our priority is to bring the learning community together in person, in part or in whole, given any restrictions that may be necessary at the time. The MI-District, LCMS Schools, in conjunction with our school leaders, are planning for a range of potential scenarios (in-person, remote, or a combination of the two). While it is too early to precisely predict what school will look like for us in the fall, we are committed to prioritizing as many in-school days as possible for as many students as possible. Whatever the circumstances may be, the foundational values of education remain the same. 

First and foremost, Our Shepherd is a community of faith, where we gather, nurture and serve because Jesus loves. We know how much your children are missing their friends and teachers, just as our teachers are missing their students. We will strive to offer in-person experiences to the extent possible. 

One of the many strengths of Our Shepherd Lutheran School is our partnership with you, the parents, desiring and providing best-in-class education for the children entrusted to our care like no other school. We are working with school leaders to design a more cohesive structure for our instructional approach this fall. Our Shepherd desires to be nimble and responsive, able to meet the demands of change without hesitation, unencumbered by unnecessary structures and limits. We will continue to adapt as necessary to begin next year on time. We are personal and desire to be able to meet the needs of individual students and families. We look forward to surveying parents soon so that we can better understand your needs for the fall. 

We are pursuing a plan to maximize student learning and leadership while prioritizing the health and safety of all. Some of the plans we will be considering to implement into practice are the following: 

  • Testing: Ensuring the health and safety of students and staff through screening procedures.
  • Sanitation and cleaning equipment and processes: Strengthening ongoing procedures, purchasing new cleaning tools, and instituting daily and scheduled disinfecting regimens.
  • PPE: Using masks during classes and in public gathering spaces.
  • Limiting visitors on campus: Limiting access to campus for visitors and parents.
  • Capacity limits in classrooms to allow for social distancing: Utilizing unused classrooms at our campuses that have availability and where space allows, developing strategic classroom seating configurations, and repurposing spaces such as the gym, MPR , lobby area, and gym hallway. 

 It is still too early to know what our exact circumstances will be when we start school in the fall. However, we are actively preparing several scenarios to get school underway on August 24th. We will continue to update you as plans progress according to developing federal and state orders.

Finally, most importantly, we are committed to sharing the Gospel in any and all circumstances. Our Shepherd gathers, nurtures and serves because Jesus loves. This is the message we share with each other and the world around us. It is the foundation of why we exist: Christ Crucified. We rest in His promises and go forward in life trusting His promises to always be with us.
In a word, Our Shepherd Lutheran School and Church love you and your entire family, and we always will. This is our commitment to you. This is our promise. This is our call. 

Over the coming weeks and months, we will continue to update you with the progress we are making toward defining what next year looks like. All ideas are being considered. 

Jesus said to his disciples: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives, do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.” JN 14: 27

Peace In Christ,

Janet McLoughlin