A most unusual new school year has just begun. It will be quite challenging for everyone, given the variety of plans put in place and options chosen before school even opened. Above all, for students and their parents, teachers and administrators, and all school support staff, it will be important to recognize that when it comes to keeping the coronavirus at bay, we are all partners. This includes not only the schoolwide community, but all the citizens of our town at large. There is so much strength when we all come together to face a challenge and whether we like it or not, COVID-19 is a tremendous challenge.

Specifically, to you, the students: whether physically attending school or remaining at home to attend remotely, the school year will require attention to the directives of your teachers. You have experienced struggles, albeit in different ways, just as your parents and teachers have during the months of the pandemic. Obviously, at school you will be required to follow the continued cautions of mask wearing, social distancing, and frequent hand washing in order to be as safe as possible. It will be hard. It will be annoying. Please do it anyway.

Specifically, to you, the administrators and teachers: there will be a need for flexibility in dealing with students as they navigate their lessons and may have concerns about what is before them. The approach to lessons, both in school and via computer, will require all your creativity, expertise and patience. Teachers are strong, resilient and resourceful. There will probably be more than a few moments of evaluation and re-evaluation, when you will have to reflect on what realistically can be accomplished, given the as-yet-uncharted territory of this unfamiliar delivery system.

Specifically, to you, the parents: as the bridge between your children and their schools, you have a mighty and difficult role, both as the guardians of your child’s education and the guardians of their physical, social and mental health. Your need to work and juggle your child’s school experiences is hard in the best of times, magnified exponentially during this time of COVID-19. You have the unenviable job of supporting your children and teachers in this unique situation. Please remember that an important key to success lies in communicating with school administrative and educator staff. Conferencing can alleviate so much anxiety and can be done remotely. Support is essential in the best of circumstances, but crucial this year! It should come from every angle of the school/parent/student triangle.

And specifically, to you, all the school support staff without whom our students and teachers cannot function or feel safe (secretaries, bus drivers, paras, custodians, lunchroom workers and monitors): know that you all are crucial to the success and health of our students. We cannot provide quality education without you and your own optimal health.

It will take active community responsibility to keep everyone safe and ensure that our students have the best possible education experience this year, given how we must adapt to the limitations this pandemic has forced upon us. Helen Keller once noted, “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” Truer words were never spoken.

Lloyd and Stacy Stableford live in Trumbull.