“Our hearts broke a little:” St. Mary’s School continues distance learning in wake of school shutdown extension


TOMAHAWK – Although the news that all K-12 schools would remain closed for the rest of the 2019-2020 school year wasn’t necessarily a shock, St. Mary’s School Principal Rita Lee said when she and staff heard the announcement, “our hearts broke a little.”

“We miss all those smiling faces in our classrooms every day!” Lee said. “But at the same time, we know how important it is to keep everyone in our community safe and healthy, and recognize that this is the way to do it.”

Photos submitted by Rita Lee

Lee said the school will continue distance learning in May, as it did in April. Students are receiving weekly “activity calendars” with assignments in each subject adhering to the curriculum, and they are given the choice of which activities and assignments to do on which days, as long as all are completed by the end of the week.

“Our goal with the calendars was to give parents a little more flexibility,” Lee stated. “We don’t want to see our parents battling with children to get work done when we are all feeling a little overwhelmed right now, so we provided choices within each subject.”

The school is also reaching out to parents with ideas, suggestions and resources as lessons are planned. Lee said the school is also starting to plan how to make the end of the year special “despite not being together.”

“We usually have a special graduation ceremony for our 5th graders before they head off to middle school, but aren’t sure what that might look like this year. The staff is already brainstorming ideas to still make this a special time for all the students, but especially for that 5th grade class!” Lee said.

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