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Students at the small Christian school began turning to the Internet for help last week

In the face of unprecedented challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic, Veritas School in Newberg has moved all of its classes online for its dozens of students. The private, Christian, K-12 school located on Bell Road is ahead of the curve compared to some of its cohorts in the region and started online learning early last week.

Headmaster Bryan Lynch chalks up the quick switch to an uncanny preparedness from administration and staff and the fact that the school doesn't have as many kids to manage as larger academic institutions.

"We started looking a couple weeks back when it became clear this closure was going to be likely," Lynch said on March 18. "We met with our teachers and came up with a great plan to continue delivering our mission – and doing so in an online forum. All this week we've been doing video conferencing and online learning for K-12."

Veritas students are on spring break now until April 1, but when they return the online classes are expected to continue until Gov. Kate Brown announces that students can go back to school. For now, the governor's COVID-19 order mandates students around the state stay home until April 28. Gatherings of 10 people or more are still discouraged by the federal government along with social distancing of at least six feet from others.

Lynch said the online classes don't have all the elements of in-person courses, but they will include plenty of enrichment for younger students and steady coursework for older ones. There are drawbacks to switching to online learning, he said, but also benefits.

"We're trying to really focus on our mission as a classical Christian school," Lynch said. "For us that is cultivating wisdom, virtue and Godliness and developing the skills and tools in the liberal arts. We are sticking to that mission and doing it in an online form, which presents unique challenges but also has some benefits. The kids are engaged across all grade levels and parents have communicated well and there is a kind of benefit to having the families more directly involved in their child's learning experience."

Lynch said Veritas is in a good position to keep the online classes going for the remainder of the school year if it has to. Students and teachers are corresponding through Google Classroom and Zoom – a video chatting application. Teachers are recording instructional videos for students, chatting with them if they have questions, sending them materials and even excusing them for recess through the programs.

Parents are pleased, Lynch said, and he would encourage other schools around the state to test out programs like this at their schools during this time of quarantines and social distancing.

"Online can't really replace the face-to-face learning or the feeling of being together in a classroom, but if schools provide this opportunity it will benefit students," Lynch said. "We will keep moving forward and continue expanding the curriculum so that we're ready to go when we come back."

School briefs

Farm Bureau scholarships available

The Yamhill County Farm Bureau will award two separate $2,000 scholarships to students this year. The scholarships are being offered to students who have finished at least one year of college pursuing a degree related to agriculture. Those who apply for the scholarships must have a college GPA of 2.5 or better and be graduates of a Yamhill County high school, or their family must have lived in the county during their senior year of high school. Application materials must include an official transcript and two references and more information is available at www.OregonFB.org/scholarships.

PNMC offers scholarships

Providence Newberg Medical Center will award six $1,500 scholarships to area high school students this spring and those students are being invited to apply. Seniors who plan on continuing their education to pursue careers in the healthcare industry can apply by visiting www.providence.org/newberg and filling out an application, with the deadline for mailing it to PNMC set for March 22. Students who live throughout Yamhill and Washington counties are welcome to apply for the scholarships, which have been distributed since 2003.


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