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The Sonshine Nursery School has permanently closed its doors.

“It was one of the most difficult decisions we’ve ever made,” said Pastor Leslie Bullock of the Tunkhannock Presbyterian Church. “The nursery school had been a mission of the church for 36 years.”

COVID-19 played a role, but Bullock said the joint decision between the church and the school’s Board of Directors was unrelated to the economy.

Prior to the pandemic, she was notified that two of the top three employees of the school were leaving, including its director and co-founder Ruth Slocum.

“I think she was ready for a new chapter,” Bullock said.

Besides the challenge of ensuring safety with COVID-19, bringing on a new director in the pandemic with so many unknowns, including when children would even return to the school, was “just too daunting of a task,” she said.

Over the years, Bullock has enjoyed hearing grandparents talk about how their children attended Sonshine Nursery School, and now their grandchildren are going there too.

“We want to talk about how much we have valued their children and grandchildren over the years, how much we have enjoyed being a resource for them and the community, and how sorry we are that this was simply a step that we had to take,” she said.

In a post on the Sonshine Nursery School Facebook page, Slocum and Sara Lupinski called the school “a labor of love and true passion.”

“We put our hearts and souls into creating a school environment where we could share God’s love in an educational and nurturing way,” they said.