Franciscan Sister of Christian Charity Sister Carol Seidl briefs us on recent significant day happenings in Casa Grande, Arizona amid the covid-19 virus.
Monday, March 30th, 2020
Governor Ducey announced all schools are closed for the rest of the year due to COVID 19. The Diocese of Tucson said we must go along with his order since we receive scholarships of state tax dollars. I spent the day on a one hour Zoom meeting with our Superintendent and other principals. I had to inform the parents that no more coming back to school. We will continue with online classes. Everyone was disappointed. What a way to end my career as a principal. I will not be able to say good-bye to my students. This is the hardest part. I informed the teachers that I was calling an 8:00am faculty meeting (probably my last one of my career) tomorrow to discuss what the closing of the school year means. I stayed at school till 7:00pm working on my end of the year agenda and getting handouts ready for the teachers. I told them the meeting would be in the cafeteria so we could sit 6 feet apart- social distancing as they call it. I was so tired when I got home I ate but didn’t go for my nightly walk in the neighborhood. It was a very depressing day. .
Tuesday, March 31st, 2020
All of my teachers came to the meeting except for two who are taking care of older people and they were afraid of bringing some germs back to them. The teachers were happy to see each other since they work from home, they don’t see their colleagues. We shared and discussed plans for about an hour. Then it was off to the Parish Office to have a finance meeting to see how we will finish out the year. Since I canceled my basketball court and shade project we have enough money to get us through June. I started to make a list of things I need to do to finish out the year but I had too many interruptions to get the list done. Forget the list just forge ahead with what is in front of me-many piles of work.
I went home for dinner with Sr. Mary Karen. She spent the day again cleaning out. The garbage container is always very heavy when I take it to the curb Mondays and Thursdays. I went out for my nightly walk and the two neighbors across the street from our house were “social distancing”. They each had a card table set up in their driveway, eating and drinking and at the same time talking to each other across the stones ( we have no grass in AZ). The kids were playing freely. They said hello and I yelled, “You are doing the social distancing the right way.”
Wednesday, April 1, 2020
This is April Fool’s Day but no kids here to pull jokes on me. Life is too dismal-no one is pulling jokes. Some said, “April Fool’s Day has been canceled for this year!” I got my piles of work organized and the day is moving along more quietly and productive. We had parents pick up packets for PreKindergarten in the cafeteria from 8:00-10:00am. I left the door slightly propped open so I wouldn’t have to meet people. My Art teacher was in the cafeteria taking her bulletin boards down. When I walked through, she told me a mom came in for the packets and talked to her for 20 minutes. She has had it with this home schooling. She has six children in the house now and can’t take it anymore. Her husband came home once during the day and he asked her- “WHAT IS GOING ON???” She said, “This is what it is like everyday. I can’t take it anymore!!! When this whole thing is over. I am going on a vacation by myself!!!” I said, I think she needed someone to vent to and it gave her a chance to be out of the house longer.
I went to the Divine Mercy Chapel at 11:45am. I led the rosary in English and a seminarian from Mexico led it in Spanish. This was posted on the parish Facebook page live. After that it was the Mass on Facebook and I did the reading which was King Nebuchadnezzar and Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. The high school senior said he didn’t want to read today. He saw the names and said, “Sister, you can do the reading today.” My brother-in-law is not doing well at all. This is day 9 on the ventilator. My sister said, if he makes it, he will have a long road of recovery with therapy etc. I sent her the St. Jude Novena prayer to pray for difficult cases.
Friday, April 3, 2020
I emailed the teachers and asked how they were doing about posting grades online. Most had started and a couple had not. The question has prompted them to begin uploading grades because in my email to parents I was going to remind them to check their child’s grades. I am hoping by doing this that some students who have not been checking in with the teacher or doing homework will begin. Had a one hour zoom meeting with the Supt. of the Diocese of Tucson Schools and other principals. It is interesting to see where the principals are sitting. Most are working from their homes including the Superintendent. We again discussed finances and doing special contracts for the teachers working at home. I need to do this. My teachers are all working online and they submit to me at the end of the day how many hours they have worked. I send an end of the day email to them updating them and then telling them “Please reply to this email how many hours you worked for the day.” Most have worked 8 hours or more. I am pleased.
Friday night I was doing my laundry when my brother, Dennis from Green Bay called. He had talked to my sister, Sue, in North Dakota. Her husband is the one on the ventilator with corona virus. My sister was really down today. She woke up to a blizzard and had no clue how to start the snow blower. The doctors were not calling her to inform her about her husband. The agreement was twice a day since she is not allowed in the hospital. She was not happy. Finally, she got to talk to the PR person from the hospital and she agreed to call her on a regular basis.
Saturday, April 4, 2020
I went for a jog early this morning because in the afternoon it is in the 80’s. I saw many older people out walking. I came back and posted where I will be next year on my personal Facebook page, the school and parish Facebook and I sent an email to my faculty. They are happy for me for the time off, but will miss me. But I know for me it is time to move on. After 34 years as principal and 10 as a teacher I am hanging up my education hat and am switching to a year of service at our Motherhouse. I am ready for a change. I haven’t been in Wisconsin for 20 years. My family is happy. For once they can come to visit me and not just in the summer.