It's already the third school year during the COVID-19 pandemic. It's not been easy. In fact, it has been stressful. Despite the pressure on teachers, parents and students, Skagit Adventist Academy in Burlington, Washington, was able to offer in-person instruction since September 2020.
Teachers and staff say they are grateful the 20-21 school year ended without a single positive case on campus. That was such good news! With all the pandemic guidelines — distancing, cohorting, health screening and more — it was a great feeling to finish the year with healthy students.
Early on in the pandemic, Tami Rowe, SAA vice principal, said, "It’s the unknown that’s so stressful." And she was right. Along the way, educators haven’t known exactly what school would look like. Besides the understandable fear of contracting the virus, teachers were also worried about going back and forth between in-person and virtual teaching.
But the SAA team committed themselves to providing a quality faith-based Adventist education, despite the unknowns. With prayer and resilience, they pressed on and laid their fears, burdens and stress at the feet of Jesus — every single day.
This school year, as the coronavirus delta variant began to infect parents, students and church members, SAA team's strength began to wane. But God opened a door to further enable quality education.
That opportunity has allowed the school to partner with the local health department. The program, Test to Stay, administers rapid COVID-19 tests to students who are exposed in the classroom. As long as the students test negative, they can stay in the classroom and continue learning. Though they are in a modified quarantine, education for our students is not disrupted like in other area schools. Serving as an approved lab test site is a blessing.
Educators have felt alone many times; parents and volunteers haven’t spent time in the school, events have been canceled, Zoom meetings have become the norm and waiting for continued guidance and answers feels isolating.
Through it all, SAA staff are thankful for more than 30 new students who have been introduced to Christ for the first time this year. The joy that brings helps offset the fatigue and stress brought on by the pandemic.
Please join the SAA community in praying for its students, teachers and all Adventist schools and educators this winter.