Kindness in Quarantine

Just because we are all learning and working from home does not mean that the kindness that binds our community breaks down. In fact, Rams around the area are coming up with even more creative ways to share joy and reaffirm their commitment to each other and our community.

The JK-12 Science Department kicked things off over spring break. After seeing reports of hospitals running low on personal protective equipment (PPE), JK-12 Science Department Chair Bob Shaw swung into action. Once the St. Louis County Stay-at-Home order went into effect and he knew students wouldn’t be returning to campus for awhile, the Science Department collected all the spare gloves and eye goggles from science labs across campus. The team gathered 76 pieces of eye protection, 11,700 gloves and four boxes of cleaning wipes for donation to local medical professionals via MICDS parent Dr. Vijai Chauhan.

Meanwhile, Upper School Maker Coordinator Brian Purlee is working with his wife, Dr. Suzanne L’Ecuyer, and her clinic at Washington University to get a 3D printed face shield approved for possible production, while Coordinator of Instructional Technology Mr. Pat Woessner has 3D-printed ventilator splitter prototypes—designed to double the capacity of ventilators in short supply—for testing at two local hospitals. If the designs are approved, he’ll print more for their use as needed. Woessner is also researching 3D printing of face shield bands.

Our food service partners, FLIK Hospitality Group, were also actively looking for ways to help. With the Stay-at-Home order in effect, Director of Food Service Ross Lough knew that there was only so much of our food that could be saved for our eventual return to campus. Lough and his team saved everything possible and then donated perishable foods to those in need through Operation Food Search. In addition, MICDS and FLIK are providing lunch pick-up service for all interested MICDS students. Each week a delicious menu is emailed to all families, who can then place orders for which meals they want. Due to popular demand by our generous families, students can also choose to donate their meal to someone in need. Thank you for your partnership, FLIK!

We’d be remiss if we didn’t call out the incredible efforts of our MICDS parents, who have been working incredibly hard to make hundreds of masks to help protect our healthcare providers around St. Louis. Senior mother Michelle Icaza has led an effort that includes volunteer sewers (both adults and kids!) and generous donors of fabric and money to purchase fabric. Icaza recently reported on the MICDS Parent Association Facebook page: “Today, our driver spent 12 hours, 300 miles, delivering fabric and picking up masks. Today, We collected 1,350 masks from our dedicated sewers who are willing to contribute their talent with our medical community. We delivered 500 masks to Missouri Baptist Medical Center, 350 masks to Christian Northeast Hospital, 250 masks to Memorial Hospital and 250 masks to Lutheran Senior Services. Your support allowed The Forai organization to donate 400 masks to our effort. They have promised us an additional 200 masks already being made for next week. Please join me in giving appreciation to the talented volunteers that have put in long hours and working hands to help flatten the curve by giving our medical community masks. I want to give a heartfelt thank you to the Saint Louis Indian Community Helping Hands who made over 400 masks this week and supported our effort. I would also like to give a shout out of appreciation to (MICDS parent and alumni parent) Rachel Oliver with The Women’s Exchange for her generous donation of fabric to support our effort. I would like to thank The Rep Theatre, Webster University, and (MICDS parent) Stacey Lohr Graves for their incredible donation of fabric.”

Our students are even jumping into the spirit of stay-at-home kindness. Each day, Head of the Middle School Jen Schuckman sends out a good morning message. She created a google form for students and teachers to share what they’ve been doing to not just survive but thrive during the COVID-19 pandemic. One of her questions asked how we are upholding our Middle School Community of Kindness. The responses have been heartfelt and inspiring. Here are a few of the submissions:

  • Getting along with siblings
  • Helping my mom clean the house
  • Being kind
  • Helping my friends with assignments, and doing what my teachers ask of me, even if their wifi goes haywire, or if someone loses connection. I stay calm, and keep working to the best of my ability
  • Being kind to everyone
  • Being kind to my siblings
  • Being kind to others
  • I try to check in regularly with my family to see how they are really doing during this time of stress, usually in quiet moments of snuggles
  • Checking on our retired neighbors next door
  • Helping my parents and being responsible for my classes
  • Respecting the fact that the world doesn’t revolve around me and that everyone else is going through exactly what I’m going through
  • Encouraging others to stay positive
  • Helping out my parents
  • Being kind to my family members and helping my parents around the house
  • Checking on my elderly neighbors (delivering their mail, newspapers, groceries), making masks for the effort
  • Being kind and patient and positive and finding ways to be thankful
  • Being kind to my family

Way to go, Ram Nation!