The Resilience of the ELCJHL Schools Amid the COVID-19 Crisis
"Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him." – John 13:12-16
As we mark the end of the season of Lent we remember that the three days of Holy Week begin not with celebration but with solemnity. At the Last Supper with his disciples, Jesus humbles himself before them. The next day, he is crucified. The hope of humanity is extinguished and the Disciples despair. Indeed, as COVID-19 spreads around the globe, many of us find ourselves in despair like the Disciples on Good Friday. We do not know when the crisis will end. Nor can we simply manufacture hope. Yet, we have faith that at the end of the tunnel there is hope.
Currently, the ELCJHL will likely have to lay off valuable staff members due to the significant financial shortfalls detailed here in Bishop Azar's appeal. With support from its companions—people like you—this can be prevented. In this time of great need for our companions in the Holy Land, we at Opportunity Palestine are renewing our call for donations to support the ELCJHL. Please read on to learn about the grace, humility, and sacrifice with which our companions at the ELCJHL are responding to this pandemic. This Easter, consider contributing to support their faithful witness.
Students Switch to Online Classes as the State of Emergency in Palestine Continues
1st Grade Student Taleen, from the Evangelical Lutheran School of Hope in Ramallah, practices her English dictations from home during the quarantine and school shutdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Like millions of their peers around the world, the students of the ELCJHL shifted to remote learning when their schools shut down. Aware of the surge in both the potential and popularity of remote learning, the leadership of the ELCJHL began studying the possibility of implementing remote learning in the ELCJHL schools several years ago as part of their planning to streamline the information systems of the schools.
Last year, this decision-making process resulted in the recent rollout of K12NET, a student information system that integrates many aspect of the educational experience. Having this system in place allowed administrators to make the transition to learning from home with as little disruption as possible. Using K12Net in conjunction with the Zoom videoconferencing service, teachers have been beaming out their classes to their students, now spread among their various residences in Palestine.
Salwa Abu Al-Rub, a seventh grader at the Evangelical Lutheran School of Hope in Ramallah, demonstrates how to calculate the solubility of salt in water.
Many parents can certainly relate to the challenges that remote learning brings, even as they may be making their own adjustments to working at home or contending with the increased risk of working outside the home as essential workers. In Palestine, many of these challenges are multiplied. Many households do not own more than one computer and/or smartphone, creating scheduling issues.
Some ELCJHL students live in places like Duheisheh Refugee Camp, where, in an inspiring display of solidarity, residents have come together to form mutual aid committees to tackle tasks like delivering food and disinfecting the camp. Still, the cramped confines of the camp make the spread of the virus an ever-present danger. Students in the final grade worry about the Tawjihi, the graduate certificate exam. Due to the school closure, the practice tests cannot be administered in school. It is hoped that the schools will open in time to administer the Tawjihi.
The future is here: a student demonstrates the robot he designed at the robotics exhibition in January.
ELCJHL Teachers, Staff, and Administrators Prove Their Mettle in the Fight Against COVID-19
We pause to honor the hard work and sacrifice displayed by the many employees of the ELCJHL as they confront COVID-19. They have shown grace amid difficult circumstances. The ELCJHL has always prided itself in being able to sustain employee salaries through societal hardships, such as the intifadas, even when other institutions were unable to fulfill such contracts. The severe revenue shortfall means that ELCJHL is only able to make this commitment to their staff with the support of their dedicated companions. Please keep this flame lit and contribute today, knowing that your support is critical to the ELCJHL in this moment.
Above left: The Dar al-Kalima Lutheran School staff pose for a picture.