By Pamela Summers Showalter
The year 2019-2020 at St. Nicholas Orthodox Academy hummed with activity and interaction: weekly excursions to the zoo, local pool, and school garden, kickball games in Grant Park, publishing parties, costume contests on Halloween, card exchanges on Valentine’s Day, and more. As a part of St. John the Wonderworker Church (across from Grant Park) the tiny school was operating at almost full capacity with 17 students. On March 13, everything abruptly came to a halt, and students left in a flurry, emptying out lockers and receiving last-minute homework assignments. Within a few weeks teachers and parents gained their footing with distance-style learning, and eventually Zoom meet-ups became the new normal. Summer school now continues as needed.
Because 40% of the school day consisted of time spent outside, and because of a very small student population, the school anticipates easily opening up in August with a healthy, COVID-19-protective schedule, with much of the day spent outside, daily temperature checks for all students, and pods of no more than nine students per teacher. Visit the school’s website, www.stnicholasacademy.org, for more details if you are looking for a tiny, healthy, brick-and-mortar school for fall.