News from Kim Doyle, Principal
March 15, 2020, 1 PM
March 15, 2020
It is a privilege to partner with you in the education of your sons and daughters. As a Catholic school community, we are not confined only to the pursuit of academic excellence. We take seriously our responsibility care for the physical and spiritual needs of every child in our school. This commitment has caused us to consider very carefully how we might best serve our families during this time of state and national emergency related to the coronavirus (COVID-19).
Following guidance from the Center for Disease Control and other health educational experts across the state and country, the Archdiocese has strongly recommended that all Catholic schools pause this week to make plans for the likelihood of broader school closure. We are announcing that St. Wenceslaus Catholic School will close on Tuesday, March 17th and Wednesday, March 18th for teachers and school leadership to plan together how to best meet the academic, physical, and spiritual needs of the student body. This closure impacts all school-related activities, including extracurricular and sporting practices and events. We will communicate will all families via email on Wednesday afternoon to announce our plan for the upcoming weeks. Please plan on checking your email by 3 p.m. on Wednesday for this announcement.
We know this is hard news. We are working on gathering resources for those of you who may need additional support during this time. We are actively learning from the many states in the region, along with almost half of the Catholic dioceses in the United States, who have decided to close their schools for varying duration in an effort to respond prudentially and reasonably to the changing circumstances of the national emergency.
Catholic schools in the Archdiocese serve over 29,000 preschool-12th grade students across 12 counties and even more school districts. When placed next to public school districts of comparable size, the Archdiocese has more students than the fourth largest public school district. While Catholic schools are not under the legal authority of the State of Minnesota, as neighbors and friends with public and other nonpublic schools alike, we want to act in unison, respecting the recommendations of the Minnesota Department of Health.
Please be assured of my continued prayers and pledge of support for each of my students and families. I am joined by Archbishop Hebda and Bishop Cozzens in praying for all of us in this time of uncertainty. Let us continue to pray for each other and all those affected by COVID-19.
March 13, 2020
The health and safety of everyone in our school community is our top priority. We are monitoring the situation with the Coronavirus (COVID-19) very carefully. I am in contact with the Archdiocese, the local school superintendent, the MN Department of Education and, and the MN Department of Health. The situation is changing very quickly, and it is challenging to keep up with all of the latest developments; however, this has been my top priority for the past few weeks.
Governor Walz gave a press statement at 1:00 pm this afternoon. Although there is no declaration for schools to close at this time, there are a few other changes that are taking place, and they do affect our school community.
The Starry Night Event
Events that are over 250 people are recommended by the Governor to cancel. Out of an abundance of caution, the in-person gathering and dinner portion of the St. Wenceslaus Catholic School Starry Night Auction scheduled for March 28, 2020, is canceled. The online auction WILL continue as planned. Please continue to watch your email or our website for updates and bidding instructions. We will also set up additional plans for involving the community because this event is critical to our school’s financial health and our future. We appreciate your patience as we work to develop the best path for our school.
Back-up plan for the students
Our teachers have an instructional strategy in place should the school need to close for an extended period. We will pass this plan on to you in the next few days.
Your child and their teacher will work together so that learning can continue. Technology will be used on school-issued devices for the students in grades 6-8, and family owned computers will be needed for students in grades K-5. Preschool students will not have an instructional requirement.
I strongly suggest that you have a plan for child care in place for your family. If we were to close the school, all programs would be closed included preschool, K-8 classes, and any childcare / extended care.
Weekend Mass Dispensation
Archbishop Hebda has issued a dispensation for all Catholics from the Sunday obligation of attended Mass. This is meant to protect our parish family by lowering the attendance to decrease the risk of exposure. Masses will continue to be held, and you will have the option to attend. We encourage you to continue with your prayers by watching Mass on TV, praying as a family, and doing another sort of spiritual devotion.
Minnesota Department of Health Recommendations
These are the most important steps we can take to preserve public health:
- Wash hands frequently with soap and water for a minute each time
- Cover a cough by coughing into an elbow or use a tissue and place immediately in the trash
- Stay home when sick with cold/flu-like symptoms (fever, cough, shortness of breath)
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
- Hand-shakes and touching of each other should be discouraged
Social distancing is essential, and it is recommended that you stay home and away from large crowds. Please try to spend more time at home and encourage your children to do the same. Most events within the community are in the process of being canceled.
We have instituted significant health practices with our students. Students are washing hands and sanitizing hands often. We have installed hand sanitizers in each classroom. Desks, chairs, tables, counters, handrails, and more are being sanitized regularly. We are keeping things here as clean as possible, and we are trying to keep everyone healthy.
Please keep your child home if they are ill. If there is any sign of a fever, cough, or cold in which students will be sneezing or noses running – Keep them home. We will be sending students home immediately if there is a fever and if other symptoms are concerning the health of the class. We do suggest that children stay home if they have any of these symptoms with or without a fever.
We will also be limiting visitors to the building to keep the outside contact to a minimum. We ask that you come to the school only to drop off your child and pick them up. Please do not come for lunch or other programs until further notice. Volunteers in the school will be limited and on an approval basis only. We are canceling some of our upcoming programs and outings until we know more about health issues.
Please be assured that if any person, child or adult, is tested and it is discovered that they test positive for the COVID-19 Virus, we will be notified by the MN Health Department and the CDC with instructions about our next steps.
You can learn more about this virus at CDC.gov. You can also call a Coronavirus helpline in Minnesota at 651-201-3920.