Good Afternoon Red Hornet Family,
In these times of uncertainty it is good to go back to the one certain thing we have in our lives, Jesus Christ, the solid rock and foundation of our faith. In this time I ask that we all remember our school’s theme verse for this year from 2 Timothy 1:7. “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” In the face of COVID-19 and all the other trials of life on this fallen Earth, we remember the words of Christ in Isaiah 41:10. “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
Just a few short days ago I stood with my fellow administrators during a joint press conference with Mayor Steele of Grand Island and announced that for the time being Heartland Lutheran High School would remain open to in-classroom instruction. Since that time, I have received a lot of support for that message. I was also the recipient of a non-HLHS person’s anger for that same message. Also in these last couple of days, the situation in Nebraska has continued to develop, and a plethora of new information has be presented.
Some of the information came from the Grand Island medical community as they have shared their opinion based upon the facts they see coming in. After hearing their evidence and opinions, and now knowing the first cases of community spread COVID-19 have developed in Nebraska, I have made the decision to cease all student activities, including classes, for one week. The week of Monday, March 16 through Friday, March 20 will serve as Heartland Lutheran High School’s spring break.
The decision of whether to return to face to face instruction on campus will be reevaluated on Friday, March 20. However, Heartland Lutheran High School will be prepared to begin online education beginning on Monday, March 23, and continue that way for as long as needed to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. With this decision, all activities and athletic practice will also be suspended for one week and all activities and athletic events off the Heartland Lutheran High School campus are suspended until at least April 1, when they will be re-evaluated.
We understand that there will be concern for major events such as Red & Blue, Prom, and our graduation ceremony down the road. At this time, we still intend on having all events that we feel will be safe for our students and families. Decisions on these events will be made as time goes on and more information is made available to us.
This has not been an easy decision. Many factors went into the decision, including the domino effect of what happens to families when schools close. However, based upon the medical advice that was presented, and a desire to keep our students and families safe, especially those with immune deficiencies and previous medical conditions, we are doing what we feel is best at this time.
Now, specifically to the Students of Heartland Lutheran:
One of the toughest parts of the decision that was made was whether you were safer in our building or if closing the doors was best for you. Based on the advice from our medical community, we decided to close the doors for the current time was best for you and your families. That being said, it is imperative that you realize the important role you have in helping Grand Island, Central Nebraska, and families in the following days and weeks. Please do not use this time outside of school to gather elsewhere in large groups. Follow the guidelines our medical community is putting forward to stay home, stay healthy, not spread the virus, and continue to pray for those afflicted and those who are still healthy.
You are all blessings and children of God. You are lights in a world surrounded by darkness. We know that this virus and the reactions to it will bring darker days, but in those days I ask you to be smart, positive, and continue your light; continue your witness of Christ to the world around us.
I do not have the answer on when we will all be back together again. I do not have the answer of what our future holds. But I do know, that our Lord and Savior hold us and our futures in His loving and compassionate arms. Jeremiah 29:11 reminds of God’s control and love for us and our future. “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
So Red Hornets family, school will begin again on Monday, March 23. It looks as if that will be virtual learning online. We will continue to email updates to our students and families on how and what that will look like. Students need to pick up their school supplies tomorrow, Monday, March 16. Please, all students or families should come and collect all educational items and clothes from their hall and gym lockers. A schedule will be emailed out on when to do that as we will schedule those by House.
For today, I end with a prayer and the benediction.
Father of all mercy, You never fail to help those who call upon you in faith. Give strength and confidence to your servants in this time of affliction. Grant that we may all know that You are near, and that underneath all of us are Your everlasting arms. Grant that our nation and all its people, resting on Your protection, may fear no evil, for You are with us to comfort and deliver us through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever, Amen.
The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you. The Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace. Amen. (Numbers 6:24-26)