Greetings Parish Friends, 

COVID19 closed our schools last March, but the spirit of St. John School (SJS) remained strong through the end of the school year as our school family did what we do best – love God and love each other.  Our St. John School Facebook page posts give evidence that learning, living and loving continued. We are now busily praying, planning, and preparing for five-day, in-person instruction for all students.  As long as the State of Michigan remains in Phase 4, SJS will be starting school on August 24th! 

Throughout the summer, the Jackson Catholic Schools (JCS) Task Force met virtually each week to address the safety side of our Return to Learning Plan. At the same time, our SJS teachers and staff held weekly virtual meetings to plan for the spiritual, emotional, and academic pieces of the plan and to strengthen familiarity and confidence with digital learning resources that will work well both for in-person learning and for distance learning should the need arise. This week, Mr. Marshall Hesslau, our school counselor, will be conducting a workshop for our teachers and staff on: 1) spiritual, emotional and physical self-care; 2) creating and maintaining relationships and connection with social distancing; and 3) recognizing and dealing with anxiety in ourselves, the children, and the families. 

The school experience may look different than we are used to, but we will be together and that’s important. Here is the short list of what we have planned for our re-opening: 

  • PPE and Procedures – medical-grade classroom air purifiers, touch free bathroom fixtures, water bottle filling stations, hand washing and hand sanitizing stations; masks in common areas (staff and 6th graders wear masks when inside); temperature taken during morning entry; schedule for handwashing; frequent sanitizing of common touch points; restricted visitor access to the building
  • Staggered arrival and departure times with students assigned to certain doors
  • Social distancing – desks as close to 6 ft. apart as possible; kindergarten and first grade classes have been relocated to larger classroom spaces at the south end of the building
  • Students stay with their homeroom “pod” during class, lunch and recess. Specials’ teachers will go TO each class. Hot lunch will be delivered to the rooms. Designated play area for each class during recess.
  • Extra outdoor times for learning and for play. 
  • Frequent periods of prayer, reflection, sharing and support. 
  • Smaller groups of students attending the Friday school Mass; live-streaming the Mass so the other staff and students may “participate” virtually from their classrooms. 
  • No sharing of equipment or supplies; donations of school supplies, disinfecting wipes and hand sanitizer are appreciated!

Kudos to our teachers, staff, and families for all they are doing to make this a positive experience for our children. Special shout-out to our maintenance and tech crews as they continue to work tirelessly to prepare for the start of school. And last, but certainly not least, a great big virtual hug goes out to you, our parish family, for your continued generosity – both in your Sunday offering and in your prayers.  Our beloved SJS would not be here without you!

As always, we continue to pray for God’s grace and guidance, and to give thanks to Him for blessings received. The spirit of St. John School is alive and well!  Praise be to God!