March 12, hallways filled with students bustling from class to class. March 13, a deserted school building. For the last time this school year, students were walking the halls without a clue that would be the last time they would be in the building that year.
On Thursday, March 12, Lawrence Township announced that schools would be closed down due to the spreading threat of COVID-19. Though the temporary shutdown was only scheduled to last through the beginning of April, it quickly became effective through the rest of the school year. On-site learning, events and everything in between for the spring semester of school had to be postponed or cancelled due to the closure.
“[Coordinating this] is something I would have never expected. Many nervous moments, and I can say many tears. A lot of thinking and reflecting on when we felt like we could make a decision or feeling like you were planning Plan A, then moving to Plan B, and then on to Plan C and so forth and so on and that is really what it’s been since the closure,” Crousore said.
Students were expected to continue learning and participating in the classroom despite the physical barrier of not having on-site classes. As school continued, however, the events and activities scheduled for outside of the classroom had to be postponed or cancelled altogether.
The Top 30 Banquet has been rescheduled to July 15 for LN seniors. Honor night for the distinguished graduates was rescheduled to be a virtual celebration on May 28. Although there was a virtual graduation for graduating seniors to watch on the original date of June 2, the school also plans to have an on-site graduation ceremony on July 28 for LN students on the football field at 8 p.m. Diplomas will be distributed at the on-site graduation. Graduation for the immersion students has yet to be decided, but the school is determined to honor the celebration.
“Immersion graduation is still to be determined when we will host that. The students really want to make sure they get to do the clap out at Forest Glenn so we want to honor that in August. So hopefully if we are back in school by August, they will get to do that before they go off to college,” Crousore said.
Some events and celebrations of LN students were able to be rescheduled or conducted online. Other events, however, were not able to be rescheduled and had to be cancelled, like prom. Although students and administrators alike both hoped to keep the dance a reality, the event was not able to take place for the safety of everyone.
“We have had to cancel prom due to social distancing and venues not permitting us to use places because schools are closed through June 30 and coming out of that, we’ve also been given guidance that social distancing will still be in place. We didn’t see how we could possibly do a prom. That’s the only thing that has been cancelled,” Crousore said.
Despite the difficulties through all of this, the teachers and administrators are working hard to provide the care and support for all students during this time.
“I think that’s been the hardest part for me, in knowing that it’s been hard on all of the students and our teachers and knowing that I have to stay positive and I have to still be prepared to lead but also taking care of myself. That’s probably been the hardest part, is to make sure and also monitor my well-being during it and my family’s, because you just didn’t know where it was going to go… And so we are going to continue to lead and help the students navigate a very difficult situation and be strong for them,” Crousore said.
A Message from the Principal to the Class of 2020:
“No matter how learning takes place, continue to try to learn something new. And it doesn’t necessarily always have to be content. We are living in a time of history that we will forever remember, that we will forever talk about as parents, as grandparents. And understand that this is not the norm and no one is doing this to anybody. This is a reality, and we are trying to stay safe. And so students get upset with teachers about certain work and teachers get upset with students and administrators get upset with teachers. No one planned for this, nobody knew how to do this. And every principal I speak with, it’s just about trying to help people stay calm, navigate and understand that we are living in the moment and understand that people are going to have to make decisions that go against what they might have said 48 hours earlier. So my message to the students is to listen to what is happening, reflect on their lives but also understand that this is our reality right now and we just need to continue to be lifelong learners and listen.” –Principal Brett Crousore