“From challenges and adversity can come learning and change if we are diligent,” stated James R. Regan, Executive Director at MLS, as he announced MLS’s new SAFETY, FAITH and READINESS Initiative. “As educators, we are constantly evolving so we stay ahead of trends and advancements in education, but the Covid 19 Pandemic caused us to prioritize the potential effect of the unfolding crisis situation, the likes of which no one has ever experienced. Our chief concerns were the impact the Pandemic was going to have on our students in terms of their learning and our teaching but, most importantly, it spurred us to take fast action to protect our students’ health above all else. We actually closed before the NY Public Schools did,” he quickly added.
“The best example of acting quickly and decisively to protect our students was the overnight transition from classroom learning to remote learning,” stated Donna Younghese, MLS Principal. She beamed as she told how her faculty was trained in the afternoon on the same day the school was closed and the students were sent home due to the Corona Virus. The following school day, classes were online. She beamed even more as she related how well the students adapted to their online classes and said how grateful she was that MLS students didn’t miss a single day of instruction. She also credited MLS’s conversion to their 1:1 iPad Learning Program which launched last fall when iPads were issued to all students and faculty.
Now what? “The answer is MLS’s new SAFETY, FAITH and READINESS Initiative,” stated Assistant Principal, Ann Boyle. “When students return to classroom learning, they will enter a totally new format for classes for their own SAFETY and the SAFETY of others,” she added. “While we await NY State guidelines, some of the specific protocols we will require include students wearing masks, using hand sanitizing stations which will be installed throughout the building and requiring hand-washing for starters. Sports and other activities, including usage of the cafeteria, will have to be modified and desks will be “academically distanced” (i.e. 6 feet apart) as will students throughout their day, including at Chapels and assemblies. Students will wipe down their desks and equipment before and after usage and the entire school will be disinfected daily on an ongoing basis. ” Boyle continued.
“We never planned for this crisis, because we couldn’t; no one could. But we are getting through it because of our deep FAITH. It feels terrific knowing we are moving forward through this together in support of our students. I am so proud of our teachers, students and staff, because they never give up, nor have our supportive parents and alums. This sums up the difference a faith-driven environment makes,” Regan, a 40+ year MLS veteran, went on to say. “Together we support our Mission of challenging students in mind and body and shaping Christian character so they succeed as God’s people in today’s diverse world. If we aren’t everyday examples of doing what is right, not giving up when faced with big challenges and showing respect for each other’s cultures, beliefs and opinions as we go, we aren’t doing what we were called to do,” he proudly stated.
“So many factors abound…when will Covid-19 be over or will it? What happens when the flu season hits us again? Can we return to classes, our sports, clubs, the arts such as the band, choir, dance and art projects? When? So many unanswerable questions! We knew we had to swing into action!,” exclaimed Younghese.
Putting on their Athletic Director hats (former in Regan’s case), he and Boyle jumped in saying “we are known as the MLS Cougars for a reason; Cougars are known for their agility so they can be READY to fight. We will be READY to:
Return to classes, not knowing when (but we can’t wait for that time, because students need their friends, clubs and activities together as much as they need their teachers and classes).
Continue with remote learning until such time as the authorities deem it safe to return to school full time.
Introduce a hybrid of in-class and remote learning to cope with the constraints of “academic social distancing,” for example.
“MLS is a very special place known for our individualized attention so every child can be the best she or he can be. We will not let this situation prevent us from educating our students…after all even though we will not be back in the building this academic year, we still have our school. We are a Small School, but that also makes us the Smart Choice. Ask our parents and our Alums!” Younghese declared.
ABOUT MARTIN LUTHER SCHOOL
Located in Maspeth, Queens, NY, and serving the community since 1960, Martin Luther School
(MLS) is known for the individualized attention each student receives as a result of its small size
and its dedicated staff of Christian Educators. For more information about Martin Luther School,
please visit their website www.martinluthernyc.org.