The safety and well-being of the DeLaSalle community remains our highest priority and continues to guide our planning and response to the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. The following are key actions taken by DeLaSalle:
- We transitioned to Online School and online synchronous learning began March 18.
- The school campus is closed to all non-essential personnel until further notice. This aligns with public health recommendations for social distancing to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
- The DeLaSale Support Fund (COVID-19) wil help support those students and families who are experiencing a financial hardship because of the coronavirus pandemic.
- Thank you for supporting those businesses which are owned and operated by DeLaSalle alumni and friends.
You may learn more about the school’s response to the pandemic below.
Dear DeLaSalle Community,
We hope the arrival of this communication finds you and your loved ones healthy. On March 11th, we welcomed many of you to Parent/Student/Teacher Conferences, one of our greatest lived examples of our partnership in the interest of providing the best education for your student. Two days later we informed students we would be going to Online School until spring break. Little did we know that day would be our last day of school as a full community. The recent announcement last week that all Minnesota schools will finish this year with distance learning certainly saddened us. We originally hoped as May drew close that we could return to Nicollet Island, but the realities of the pandemic and our collective responsibility to help contain its spread make it clear that we cannot safely do so. We are disappointed, but we know this is the right decision to help safeguard public health—especially the health of the most vulnerable among us.
We are grateful for the many ways you have supported DeLaSalle Online School over the past several weeks. The way our students and faculty have responded to this shift is simply remarkable and we deeply appreciate the support you have provided both your student and the faculty. Each Friday teachers have used the time to connect with students one on one, while meeting as departments to strengthen their online practices. It has not been easy and has taken much more time than creating typical lesson plans when we are in school. Yet our experience with technology over the years has put us in a position of strength and we have the utmost confidence we can finish the year strong. Students are learning new concepts and developing their skills so they are prepared for the new challenges the next school year will bring.
Please see our schedule for the final weeks of the school year. The school year will end on Friday, May 29. Students will continue to have classes online four days a week; the fifth day is an opportunity for students to meet with their teachers and finish assignments. In keeping with public health recommendations to avoid large gatherings, we have canceled the junior/senior prom and neither summer service trips nor student activities will take place.
We also wish to address the question on everyone’s mind “When will graduation happen?” School leaders have had many thoughtful discussions about this and we believe, as we have for our 120-year existence, that it is important to honor each individual student in person. Because of COVID-19, we will modify for this year how we recognize each graduate. The option we share below is the Scenario C that we communicated in our April 14 letter.
We will offer a virtual graduation program on Thursday, May 21, the original graduation date. This program will incorporate many pieces of the traditional commencement exercises, as well as a recognition of senior awards. While graduates will not walk across the stage at the Basilica of St. Mary on that evening, we have reserved the Basilica for Thursday, June 18 and Thursday, July 23 for an actual graduation ceremony, in the event that social distancing requirements are softened and large groups are permitted to gather in the summer.
Then, starting on Tuesday, May 26, and continuing over the course of several days, Mr. Lieske and Mr. Benson will begin a DeLaSalle Diploma Tour to present the diploma in person to the student. We will schedule this in a way that will allow for the student to be recognized with family. There are many more details about this event that we will share with you later next week.
As we close out the school year, we know that students would like to retrieve their belongings from their lockers and return their materials. We have created a process that will follow guidelines for safely exchanging materials. You will soon receive a detailed schedule that outlines how we will stagger students so they may collect their locker belongings and return materials.
If schools are permitted to reopen in July, DeLaSalle is making plans to announce a Summer Academy for incoming ninth graders that will provide an opportunity for the students to attend sessions that will help them sharpen their reading, math, and science skills. We are also planning for a variety of scenarios for what school will look like this fall, including preparing for the return of the entire student body. Our plan, as of now, is to begin the 2020-21 school year in August, while continuing to follow public health recommendations.
DeLaSalle has endured many tremendous challenges in its 120-year history. The school has stood firm through each period of difficulty, as we will during this period of time. We are grateful for your continued support and partnership. We cannot say enough how much we miss seeing students and parents in the classrooms, hallways, and co-curricular events. We have faith we will be together soon and more unified than ever.
Live Jesus in our Hearts…
Barry Lieske, AFSC
On April 21, DeLaSalle delivered more than 200 cards to Catholic Eldercare. The project through the Lasallian MInistry and Theology departments encouraged DeLaSalle students, families, alumni and friends to write a thoughtful card and mail it to the school. With more than 200 cards, we can guarantee that each resident, including several retired Christian Brothers who live at Catholic Eldercare, will receive some Islander cheer.