Graphic by Alex Roberson
Well, that escalated quickly.
Tuesday, March 3: A Patriot Communication email is sent out to the Prep community that states information on how to prevent the spread of the coronavirus while emphasizing there is not yet a pandemic in the United States.
Thursday, March 5: Students and faculty leave campus for what will be their last school day on campus, unbeknownst to them, to enjoy Spring Break.
Tuesday, March 10: A Patriot Communication email is sent out reminding the Prep community that the situation is being monitored by different agencies while still emphasizing the fact that there is not yet a Coronavirus pandemic in the United States
Thursday, March 12: Mr. Lawrence Coco, Jackson Prep Head of School, sends out a Patriot Communication stating that “[a]ll students, faculty, and staff (and any family members with whom they have been in contact) who have traveled over Spring Break to Europe, Asia, and/or traveled on a cruise ship will need to self-quarantine for 14 days from the time that they returned to the United States.”
Friday, March 13: A Patriot Communication is sent out stating that there will not be school on Monday as previously scheduled, but the faculty and staff will meet together to discuss how to begin the process of remote learning. The students were expected to go to school the rest of the week to meet with their teachers and discuss how the change to remote learning will occur for the following weeks, while quarantined students were expected to go to school remotely starting that Tuesday.
Saturday, March 14: A Patriot Communication is sent out stating that the campus of Jackson Prep will be closed until further notice, and remote learning will begin on Wednesday, March 18th, which will give the teachers the 16th and 17th to learn how to implement the system. All extra-curricular activities are cancelled until further notice. A second email is then sent out that entails the schedule for the students to drive through and pick up materials from their locker and anything their teachers wanted to distribute.
Monday, March 16: A Patriot Communication email is sent out that instructs the students on behavior and expectations during remote learning. Also included is the schedule for the first day of remote learning, which is a “Z” day, allowing all class periods to meet in one day. The schedule for the following days of remote learning was also included.
Tuesday, March 17: A Patriot Communication is sent out that includes details of how students are to attend class, what to do if technology issues occur, and other related details.
Wednesday, March 18: The first day of remote learning occurs, and a Patriot Communication is sent out that includes an encouraging letter from Mr. Coco that highlights how the Prep community has been able to adapt to difficult circumstances. This begins the new daily schedule of life of the Prep community, and, especially, the seniors.
Friday, March 20: A Patriot Communication is sent out to wrap up the first week of remote learning. Due to the governor’s previous executive order on March 19, the school believes that the campus will remain closed through Monday, April 20.
Tuesday, March 31: Head of School Lawrence Coco sends out a video to the Prep community. It serves as a reminder to read the weekly Patriot Communication emails, explains that jacksonprep.live will begin showing sporting events and performances from the past online, states that all Prep activities are cancelled and/or postponed until further notice, mentions that all MAIS activities and athletic contests have been suspended until April 6, announces that Prep is planning for milestone events such as Prom, graduation, class day, etc., and reminds the community that the students are missed on campus and to follow safety protocols.
Thursday, April 9: A Patriot Communication is sent out, and it contains a video with an Easter message that also reminds the community of what there is to be thankful for during this time.
Wednesday, April 15: A Patriot Communication is sent out that lists the end of school year plans, including information about class day, graduation, and exams.
13 emails. Through these 13 emails, the rest of the school year was utterly and totally changed. Sports seasons were postponed and eventually cancelled, pacer tryouts were postponed by weeks, and the schooldays that were so familiar to the Prep students were changed entirely.
Normal school was replaced with remote learning due to national restrictions on gatherings. Students went to Google Classroom and then clicked on links that took them to class, which was run through different online systems, such as Zoom and Google Meet. The teacher could then lecture, give assignments, and run class like they would have if they were meeting in the classroom.
Classes were changed to fifty minute periods, with the exception of the thirty minute fixed carrier. This allowed the school day to end at 12:30, with the option for teachers to give tests in the afternoon or provide help sessions for their students. The remote learning allowed the teachers to talk with their students and explain new concepts instead of simply assigning a worksheet for the students to complete.
The PAT had to postpone the Party for Prep, which is the PAT fundraiser, from Friday, March 27 to Thursday, August 6. This is just one example of the many events that have been postponed or cancelled throughout the past few weeks.
As the weeks move forward, we will be able to see how much longer and to what extent this pandemic will affect Prep, the nation, and the global community. No decisions have been made on summer camps up to this point as Prep looks to see if the campus will be able to open this summer based on several different local and federal agencies that are giving out information about guidelines as we move forward.
Fourth term has changed extremely quickly, but due to the Prep’s quick response, students were still able to attend classes and finish the year with the credits needed.