COVID-19 - What it means to be a Crusader - March 30, 2020

In almost every way imaginable, these past several weeks have been surreal. On Tuesday, March 10th, we hosted a Crusader Forum. The presentations that evening were honest and genuine. Each presenter painted a picture of the positive trajectory of Muskegon Catholic Central. So much to be proud of and happy about.

The Leadership Team met the next afternoon. A major agenda item was a discussion of the growing coronavirus pandemic. What a tough conversation we had as we attempted to proactively react to a situation that seemed to change every ten minutes. The one solution we could agree about was ensuring that we would do all we could to put ourselves in a position to allow our students to continue learning and growing - whether in school or at home. The principals were asked to begin a dialog with our faculty about e-learning. The dialog began.

Thursday we met again with members of the MCC Crisis Team to assess the situation. Things were moving quickly and we needed to also. Again, our main concerns were how to keep our students learning and safe. Thinking that we would remain in school, we made decisions that day about renting additional handwashing stations and extending the time between classes so that students had ample opportunities to wash their hands and practice social distancing. Also on our radar was how we might sustain student learning if faced with a school closure.

Friday we arrived at school knowing that Governor Whitmer had proclaimed on Thursday night that all schools in the state of Michigan would close on Monday, March 16. Though we had talked about it, we knew that there were lots of logistical issues that needed to be worked out - and we only had till 11:00 am to pull it off. Each participant left that meeting with a to-do list that literally would involve the entire MCC community. We talk about being a family, that Friday morning we found out the intricacies of what it means to be family. So many pitched in to move important pieces of the e-learning puzzle to the next level. Great people work together to get things done. We have great people - faculty, students, staff, families, and administrators. Wow! What a team! What a family!

School ended on Friday and the building was locked down. To be honest, that is when the real work began. Our faculty quickly found that preparing to teach students via e-learning was a whole different beast than preparing to teach them in the classroom. We asked them to learn a whole new way to teach and motivate students. I am proud to say that their level of commitment and dedication to their students never wavered. They have taken on the task with great intent and by every indication have been successful. The mission of educating students in spirit, mind, and body through excellence in the Catholic tradition is what drives them. Every day they work to provide excellence in faith formation and academics for their students. Their passion and determination need to be commended and celebrated. Our students are learning and progressing toward a positive end of the school year. Go, Crusaders!

During this time away from the building, we have purposefully attempted to maintain and sustain a real sense of school life. In this online environment, we want to remain Crusaders. All aspects of MCC are involved in this effort - administration, campus ministry, counseling, and staff. Though we are away from each other, MCC is doing all it can to function and serve. As our students are, the staff continue to be productive, working from home. Do not hesitate to reach out with your questions and concerns. We are here to help.

The MCC tradition of excellence has been built on a foundation undergirded by a special partnership between families and MCC. What was true yesterday is still true in 2020. We celebrate the commitment and dedication of our parents. They too have been asked to step up and help in this process of keeping students engaged in the learning process. During a time of great sacrifice and hardship, we thank you for your continued support and acceptance of something new and bold. We appreciate your patience as we work to iron out the glitches and bumps in the road. We are grateful for your participation in the learning process that is now taking place at home. 

Almost every day, someone I am interacting with talks about a return to normal. I am convinced that when we return, we will come back to a new and improved normal. This experience has led us to stretch and grow in ways that we didn’t know we could, and I look forward, when able, to the opportunity to assess this experience. The level of hardship and difficulty the coronavirus has caused can be well documented. The experience has also forced us to innovate, create, develop, and implement new, effective, and efficient ways to serve. To be honest, we are better for it. The virus has forced us to explore and improvise solutions and outcomes that will leave a positive mark on Muskegon Catholic Central as we move toward 2050. It is through hardship and suffering, that God’s grace is able to shine. Our continuing reliance on Him will allow us to return with passion and determination, and be better for it.

We continually monitor this ever-changing situation. The Leadership Team continues to meet, working as best we can to stay out in front of whatever will come at us next. Even with new Federal Government guidelines extending the social distancing date until April 30,  our planning revolves around a respite for spring break next week and a return to school on April 14th. We base these decisions on the Stay at Home executive order provided for all Michiganders by Governor Whitmer.

May God continue to bless you, your families and all Crusaders. May His healing graces be showered on all who are suffering because of COVID-19. 

Blessings and peace!

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