This is not the first time that the Highland schools have been closed for a pandemic and have had to turn to distance learning.
Back in 1957, Highland schools were also closed due to a category-two flu pandemic outbreak of an influenza A (H2N2) virus that emerged from East Asia. It hit the United States by June, but seemed not to infect many people. By November, however, a second pandemic wave of illness spread quickly, resulting in numerous cases of infection, especially in young children, the elderly and pregnant women, forcing Highland to close for at least a week.
At this time, Cathryn “Kitty” Brault Gruner, Class of 1964, was in the sixth grade. Her teacher, Mrs. Langwick, who taught in Highland for over 40 years, wanted to be sure that her students were keeping up with their lessons. Her method of distance learning? A two-cent stamp and a postcard that did not even need a house number or zip code to get delivered.
Brault Gruner recalls being annoyed that her sister, Lynn Brault Weidman, didn’t get homework (an early lesson that sometimes things just aren’t “fair” through a child’s eyes). Their mom, Catherine, served the Highland community as the head cook at Highland Elementary School for many years.