The Standard July 30, 2020
All of us have been navigating uncharted territory for the past four months since the arrival of COVID-19 and many of us will face its impact with the myriad of proposed changes for the reopening of schools in August. Some states will allow online instruction only while others will offer in-person teaching or some combination of the two. In Pitt County public schools, students from kindergarten through twelfth grade whose parents opt for partial in-person instruction plus all teachers and staff will each be wearing a mask. There will be a lot of hand washing, hand sanitizing and social distancing. All over the country school administrators and board of education members are considering one-way traffic in the hallways, options for students eating breakfast and lunch in classrooms as opposed to in cafeterias and transportation with adequate spacing. Middle school, high school and college sport schedules will be altered, postponed or cancelled. Colleges and universities are working through changes in dorms, dining halls and lecture halls. Many working parents with young children have had to make alternative arrangements for childcare. Preschools and afterschool programs are making necessary alterations. There will be major opportunities for churches to step up to serve parents and children.
We must remember that this is new for all of us. So much has changed since March and we do not know exactly what lies ahead. Instead of allowing the disruptions and the unknown to make us nervous or irritable, we have got to try to face the future graciously. Teachers need our support more than ever. For the most part, they are trying to do the best they can with what they have been given. We should be patient with them and those making the decisions for our schools. It has got to be incredibly difficult to be in charge at this time. Those of us who do not have children or grandchildren in our care might want to consider how we individually or as congregations could step up to meet needs caused by this novel coronavirus. Our church buildings might be very useful for some new purposes during the weekdays. It is time to be creative in our problem-solving, patient in our responses to people in charge and at peace in our trust that God will keep us.
“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” (Ephesians 4:3-2)
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)