Teaching During COVID-19
An Interview with Ruth Temme
Calvary Lutheran High School in Jefferson City
One question that many are asking is exactly how are students returning to schools while COVID-19 is still in society? Lutheran schools across the Missouri District have worked tirelessly over the summer to prepare for the 2020-2021 school year. While schools have slightly different policies and procedures, they all share the same goals: safety and education of their students. We had the opportunity to interview Ruth Temme who serves as a science teacher for Calvary Lutheran High School in Jefferson City.
Currently, Calvary has taken many steps so that in-person classes can be held. Ms. Temme notes that one of the first things one would see is the physical appearance of the school is quite different. “We have clear plexiglass sheets dividing desks, and partitions in the cafeteria. That way if a kid tests positive, the barriers allow for decreased contact tracing.” Temme continues, “Kids are encouraged to wear masks if they can’t be six feet away for more than five minutes. For example, if we’re having assemblies, if they’re working together in a group project, like in my classrooms working with labs, they are supposed to wear masks.”
One thing that most people wouldn’t see is Calvary’s high-tech thermometer. As students walk into the building, there is a thermal camera that instantly scans the students’ temperatures. If anyone registers over 100°F, the machine beeps.
Temme teaching a science class at Calvary.
Like many schools, Calvary is ready in case students and faculty need to switch to all-digital learning. “This year, every student has a laptop, either they have their personal laptop, or through generous donors, [Calvary has] enough Chromebooks for each student to have a laptop,” explains Temme. This is even a blessing for students who don’t have COVID-19, but are too unwell to come to class. “They can still remote in and watch and interact with teachers during a lecture,” notes Temme, “This allows students to be marked as ‘virtual attending’ and also not fall behind with the material.” The virtual classes have many safety features, such as using “invite only” links, and requiring passwords for users.
Temme says that despite everything 2020 has brought, students at Calvary are able to receive a Lutheran perspective about living in a time like this. For devotions, she frequently leads students in Responsive Prayer, the Creed, the Lord’s Prayer, and Morning Prayer. “Just last Thursday [a student commented], ‘it’s nice to be reminded that God’s will, will be done,’” notes Temme, “It’s reassuring for me to see the kids are also very confident that they’re safe and God is watching over them in all spiritual aspects.”
Ruth Temme is originally from Evansville, IN; she was homeschooled before attending Concordia University: Wisconsin. She says that her love of learning is what inspires her to teach.