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Oceanside School District teachers and staff release letter to students, community amid coronavirus pandemic

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Dear Oceanside High School Sailors,

May is usually such a great time at OHS. It has a buzz of excitement and anticipation that has been bottled up all winter and is waiting for release with the beautiful spring weather. The hallways buzz with college decisions; juniors fret the recommendation and application process; the musicians prepare for their final performances and the athletes make their mad dash toward the finale of their seasons.

That just scratches the surface of all that is transpiring. We all keep a hopeful and watchful eye toward summer, but also acknowledge it will be sad to say goodbye to the seniors, the classes we had this year and each other. The certainty of this unmeasurable and, at times, indescribable feeling was as certain as Skillman Avenue traffic on a rainy weekday morning. The absence of it this year has us all feeling a little less certain about what we knew and perhaps more than a little lost.

First and foremost, we hope that you and your family are healthy. We miss the energy of OHS as much as you do. We cannot replicate that day-in, day-out rhythm with which we all grew comfortable (no matter how much we try via our digital platforms). We know it is easy to feel alone right now. Still, it is our resolute view that all of us are united, even while separated.

Our mission is to prepare you for life’s challenges and this situation has brought so many upon you. The isolation from your peers is unnatural. Many of you have had to step up to the role of caretaker at home, while your families brave the outside world at work. Others have accelerated their journey into adulthood, leaving the house for jobs and essential tasks in order to keep loved ones’ lives running as smoothly as possible. All of this while trying to adapt to a new educational approach that demands a massive shift in procedure and performance. You have been thrown into the fire, and we stand in awe of your ability to balance these struggles of such profound magnitude as young adults.

While physically apart, we are unified in this shared experience and are confirming what we have known all along: There is so much in common between teachers and students. Like our athletes, we are adjusting our game plan to counter a persistent opponent. Like our performing artists, we find ourselves presenting on a new stage. Like our club members, we are attempting to improve society by checking in to help lift the spirits of our community members. Like you, we are Sailors, trying to navigate this unprecedented storm and the turbulent seas of this pandemic. We miss the classroom conversations, ranging from the day’s lesson, to school events, to life, and everything in between; however, we will continue those conversations from a distance.

We will support you at your induction ceremonies and honors nights; we will watch them online and applaud from our homes. We crave the in-person lessons, connections and lightbulb moments for which we entered this profession, and we will work in unison to nurture these moments digitally. These conditions are not ideal, but our dedication to supporting your growth remains stronger than ever. This is not the last time you will be challenged in life, but know that you do not face these obstacles alone.

 A team does not break up when adversity strikes; we remain ready to extend a helping hand, and a pandemic does not change our desire to cultivate your skills, knowledge and character. Seniors, “once a sailor, always a sailor.'' We thank you for lighting up our building for four years. Know that we feel sorrow for your missed experiences and seek to provide you with the best send-off possible. You are always welcome to return and visit your high school alma mater.

Together, we can grieve for what was lost and share in what was found. To our freshmen, sophomores and juniors, we anxiously await the next opportunity to join you in school as we renew our bonds amid a return to normalcy and an appreciation for what we had taken for granted — Oceanside High School.

To our Oceanside community, we pledge to work tirelessly from any setting, in the face of any hardship, and in spite of any odds, to support our students. Remember, a calm sea never made a skilled sailor. We will see you again, stronger and always anchored together.

Sincerely,

Oceanside High School teachers and staff