Freeport School District is committed to staying connected with our staff, students/families and community during the COVID-19 crises. In this second of a series of columns entitled "Pretzel Perspective" we hear from FSD 145 Board of Education President Janice Crutchfield.


"Remember that life’s greatest lessons are usually learned at the worst of times." (Unknown).


No one could have predicted that this pandemic would come and spread so quickly. The board's immediate concern, beyond that of the safety and well being of our students and staff, was that every student would have the same equitable opportunity for learning whether it would be via electronic learning, or physical learning packets.


We wanted to ensure that our students although not physically in our buildings, still had tools and resources available to utilize during this time. Our next concern was that our students would have access to healthy meals, just as they would if they were in our buildings.


It’s fair to say that when the shut-down of all Illinois schools was announced, we were caught off guard for what we and the rest of the state and even the nation would have to face.


Fortunately, our superintendent, Dr. Anna Alverado, and her staff had already been looking at ways to develop remote learning for reasons such as "Act of God," and other weather-related emergency days. So while we were not fully prepared when the COVID-19 Pandemic reached a level that called for the closing of schools and shelter in place, it was the conversations that were already being held and the steps that were being put into place that allowed us to move quickly in the transition to remote learning for all students.


As board president, I would like to take this opportunity to thank my fellow members of the Freeport School Board for stepping up and being flexible to changes and decisions that had to be made in a swift manner. Thanks to Dr. Alverado for her exceptional leadership during this unprecedented time.


A huge thanks goes to our phenomenal staff members that have gone above and beyond in a short amount of time to do extraordinary work, to insure that our students are still afforded opportunities of learning, nutrition, safety and a sense of connection.


Finally, thanks to our parents, families and community members that have stepped up during this challenging time, and gone the extra mile for our students. I know that this is a difficult time and we are faced with many daily challenges and disappointments, but I want you to know that we are all in this together, and we will come through it even stronger as a people, as a district and as a community.


To our seniors, and parents of seniors, we know that this is not how you envisioned your final year as Pretzels. We want you to know that we will do whatever is within our power to still make this a great senior year.


We are so proud of you, and we are not insensitive to the disappointment you must feel. Just know that our hearts are with you, and we will come through this with PRETZEL PRIDE!


You will soon become alumni of Freeport High School but remember, "Once a Pretzel, Always a Pretzel."


Janice Crutchfield is president of the Freeport School District Board of Education.