As teachers and students across Minnesota prepared for spring break, we anticipated that things would probably be different when the break ended. When the governor of Minnesota announced that Minnesota schools would close in an effort to protect students and slow the spread of COVID-19, we began to implement plans for online learning.
There was a significant amount of concern and apprehension as preparations were made. For most of our teachers, this is a new format and process of teaching, and there were certainly a number of unknowns. However, our teachers rose to the occasion and provided a quality online learning experience for our students.
This does not mean just worksheets and busy work to keep students occupied at home. Classes were faithfully taught and student knowledge was increased. Music classes were presented, and even art classes continued.
We have received positive feedback from parents, especially as they heard from friends and family about what other schools and school systems did during the pandemic. Through this difficult time, our education team has been able to continue to make the case for the value of Adventist education and has displayed the quality that exists in our schools.
One added blessing to this crisis is that all of us have been forced out of our comfort zones. We have had to explore new ways of reaching our students and presenting materials. New technology has been implemented.
These are things that help us grow as educators and will continue to impact how learning occurs when we return to our classrooms.
What the future holds is uncertain. We are making plans in the event the situation continues into next school year. Whatever the future may hold, though, we can have confidence that we have first-rate, flexible Christian teachers working with our young people.
James Davis, Jr., is education superintendent for the Minnesota Conference.