It has been an all-hands-on-deck effort from the Saint John’s community as we all work to transition in our new “normal” as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Beginning in February, many departments on campus began preparing for a multitude of potential eventualities - including the possibility of shifting to an online, remote learning platform.
With this came many considerations, including: How do we prepare our faculty and staff to transition their work and teaching? How do we ensure our students, especially, are equipped with not only the equipment, but internet access necessary to uphold this eventuality?
Our Information Technology team took the lead in providing daily training opportunities for our faculty and staff to familiarize them with the many available resources. They also surveyed our families to ensure that all Pioneers had the proper equipment to begin online learning - working to bring online many of our in-stock laptop devices and provide WiFi service to students in need.
If not more importantly, Saint John’s partnered with the Nativity School of Worcester to provide food and essential goods to members of our community, and their families, who may be in need during this unprecedented time. Taking care of one another is our most important duty.
All the while, our Admissions, Advancement, Business, Counseling and Campus Ministry teams worked within their teams to ensure that all of their materials and processes were secure and ready to be accessed from home.
All of this happened in February.
When the eventuality was realized, with the announcement of the closure of all schools in the Commonwealth, beginning March 16, we were ready.
Saint John’s proudly did not miss a beat and transitioned as seamlessly as possible to our remote learning platform, Pioneers Online.
Over the past month, our students, faculty, and staff have adapted as well as we could have hoped. Classes are meeting through video conferencing services, assignments are being issued and returned for continued assessment, even our various extracurricular clubs and activities that our students have come to enjoy after school are engaging with one another remotely - helping us continue to connect and engage while we must be away from campus.
We realize that as smooth as our transition has been, we are up against some harsh realities. Our students and teachers are no longer able to greet one another face-to-face every day, our athletic teams have been indefinitely postponed and are unsure of when a start date may be possible for spring sports, and our seniors are closing out their final year as Pioneers at a distance from a place they have come to call “home”. While our physical transition has been successful, we are all feeling the emotional toll of being apart, and longing for what was once our old “normal”.
Until a time we can safely meet again at 378 Main Street in Shrewsbury, our incredible faculty and staff will continue to work tirelessly to bring our community together - to continue the learning, the fun, and the care as best as we can while we must be apart.
As a part of our Pioneer family - as an alumnus, a past or current parent or grandparent, or a friend - we encourage you to stay connected to Saint John’s, now more than ever. We are here for you, too. Please be sure to reach out if there is anything we can do for you or your family during this time, or if you just need someone to talk to.
While our doors may be shut for the time being, they have never been more open to you, Pioneers.
Be well and may God bless you in the coming weeks and months.