COVID-19 and Beyond – Riders on the Storm

The COVID-19 pandemic has entirely altered the way that every one of us perceives life in just a few mere moments. Funny how tragedy can do that. However, in the wake of every disaster rise heroes in our communities, doing amazing things that remind all of the power of humanity to overcome even the most ominous obstacles. You may have not seen it if you don’t subscribe to the local paper (which I highly recommend), but people in Springfield and the surrounding communities are stepping up and staying strong. Our local State Journal Register veteran reporter, Steven Spearie has covered three such events.

The first story to surface was one in the SJR on the Springfield Families Helping Families Facebook page , established by our SPS Board of Education Vice President, Scott McFarland. Through this platform and the help of many selfless people like Jill Handy and Katharine Eastvold of Springfield and Erin Campbell of Chatham, hundreds of necessary food and health related items for families in need (because of the COVID-19 pandemic) have been provided. Additionally, they were able to establish micro-pantries , where people can donate or pick up what they need (one downtown at 422 S. 5th Street). You can join this group digitally at. There are 7,000 people already on board. What a success story!

The second positive story to surface was a spotlight on how our colleagues are reaching out to students and families in this new “remote learning” realm. The story took a close look at how our SEA professionals established creative online teaching across the board at Pre-K, third grade, middle school ELA, and high school AP, math and German. Our fellow professionals, Carrie Servough, Ben McKinney, Jill Friday, Rachel Johnson, and Eric Koepell (from ELC, Fairview, Washington Middle School, Southeast High and Springfield High) were positively showcased. In addition, parents with kids at Butler, Grant and Lincoln Magnet also commented positively on their teacher’s online prowess and support to their families. As icing on the cake, Springfield teachers were mentioned specifically by the State Superintendent, Dr. Carmen Ayala, in her last memorandum sent out last Friday .

The last positive piece was on our old SPS186 Webmaster of many years, Dave Heinzel, and his unique effort to keep people positive and spread a message of hope. He and the District parted ways back in 2014 . And, as they say, you can’t keep a good man down. Dave decided that what he might do is to create home made signs that attempted to capture the right message for the time we were all navigating and distribute them to those who might support it. “Everything will be ok,” is what it reads. You can see them all over the Historic West Side Neighborhood of town (Fayette, Lawrence, Macarthur, Washington and the surrounding side streets). What a concept… what a positive guy.

Unfortunately, we will all have some tough times ahead, as the confirmed cases multiply wildly. We know that there is a distinct possibility of losing some good people we know and love along the way. Hopefully through it all, we can figure out a way to stay supportive and stay strong and remember, as in the end of every tragedy, everything WILL be ok.

– Aaron