BATAVIA — The students at St. Paul Lutheran School perform a play each year and the school wasn’t going to let the COVID-19 pandemic stop that from happening.

Starting in November, the students practiced for the play, “The First Leon, Discovering the True Meaning of Christmas,” directed by Jennifer Dunn. St. Paul Principal Jason Clark said the children, in kindergarten through third grade, have been rehearsing in the St. Paul Lutheran Church Sanctuary.

“We have the kindergarten through third-grade students spaced out 12 feet apart ... as the choir with the fourth- and fifth-grade students on the ‘stage’ having memorized the lines,” Clark said.

If things go as planned, the principal said, a crew will record a video of the play next week, though an exact date hasn’t been determined.

“The families and church members will receive the link after the taping has been edited and put together by the taping crew. The students will continue to practice until we tape the program,” he said. “The taping will be done by Rick Dunn and Nick Dunn, husband and son of the director, and Ben Paratore, parent from the school.”

The principal said some staff members weren’t sure whether the play could be performed.

“I really wanted to find a way for our students to still be able to perform a Christmas play somehow. I thought of distancing the choir, having students with lines on stage and not sing and videotaping the performance,” he said. “I measured out the sanctuary and found we had just enough space. I then took the idea to our director, Mrs. Dunn, and the process began. She then looked through the programs that we already had performed in the past, and chose this one based on the message as well as the parts and how they fit with our students.”

Clark said families have been excited to learn that the school is doing a Christmas program, even if it was going to be different this year.

“Our families are always very supportive of all we do, we are so thankful for them,” he said.

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