Sam Barlow High School ~ Special Message
FROM PRINCIPAL BRUCE C. SCHMIDT, JR.
Dear Barlow Community,
Over the past two months we have gone from a single identified case of COVID-19 in the United States, to multiple deaths, to a now global pandemic that has forced us to take drastic measures to protect our community and ourselves from infection. Perhaps the greatest challenge in this situation is that unlike the Gorge fires we experienced during the fall of 2017, we can’t see the virus we are fighting. We are not making decisions based on a visible threat, but rather, the idea that the virus will spread based on infection models seen in other parts of the world and throughout history. Due to the fact that we can't see the enemy, we may often question whether or not decisions are sound, courses of action prudent, or if we are simply overreacting to the situation. Just know that I am going to err on the side of caution and follow the advice, decisions, and guidelines that our public officials are putting into place and figure out how to work within those lines to set a forward course for our school, our students, and our community.
I realize that you all have so many questions about what will come next based on the most recent announcement from Governor Kate Brown and the extended school closures until April 28th (See Official Announcement). I know for me this has raised all sorts of questions. What does this mean for our school year? Will there be an extended year with additional days? What happens to spring sports? How will we get our seniors to graduate on time? Will we have a graduation ceremony? Will we need to develop and implement online learning modules? What happens to AP testing, and.....and.....and.....? I am sure we can all add fifty things to this list. However, we need to step back, take a deep breath and be patient. We need to be patient with the process, patient with decisions that are being made, and patient with our school community. Uncertain times require us to be flexible, open to new ideas, kindness, and support each other through the process of next steps. We can do this because we are Barlow Bruins!
In the coming weeks we will be working to answer questions you may have and to find an effective way to provide your student with the best educational experience we can give them at this time. While we don’t know exactly what this will look like, I do know that our staff will be utilizing every available tool to deliver instruction. We want your student to finish their year strong and learning the essential skills they will need in order to be successful in the future.
To the Class of 2020, I want you to know how bad I feel about the way your senior year is ending. Trust me, this is not the way we wanted you to finish your school experience at Barlow. We all wanted you to experience a fantastic year where you were able to see our school construction project come to an end, to enjoy a new stadium, auditorium, and common areas designed and built for you. We wanted you to feel a sense of Bruin Pride as our athletic teams succeeded on the field and court, as you pushed yourselves in classrooms to become better educated, and as you walked the halls as if on air knowing you are going to finish the year at the top of your game. We wanted the end of your year to be unique to your class, yet predictable. Unfortunately, that is not the case right now. However, you have the power to make the end of your senior year just as special, if not more so, than any other class in the history of Sam Barlow High School.
The Class of 2020 is the first class of the new decade. The Class of 2020 will be the first class to graduate from a newly remodeled building. The Class of 2020 will have produced a record number of state playoff teams and programs. As the Class of 2020, you can still control your destiny and make an epic mark on Barlow’s history of excellence.
Regardless of the situation, each one of us has the ability to see hope or fear, joy or sadness, to be grateful or ungrateful. In times like this, we need to consistently work to find ways to be positive, stay connected, be thankful for what we have, and to share that with others who may need a lift. We should all strive to be the person who is there to lift others in this time of need.
Please know that we will send additional communication as we get more answers and develop next steps for the school year. Be sure to pay special attention to District communication as it contains key information that will provide answers to most all of your questions. On a final note, practice social distancing, good hand hygiene, avoiding people who are sick, and covering your coughs and sneezes. Remember, the U.S. Government does not recommend gatherings of more than 10 people at this time. You can access more information at: COVID-19 Information.
Bruce C. Schmidt, Jr.