AN OPEN LETTER TO FRIENDS AND SUPPORTERS
February 2, 2021
The Presentation of the Lord
I hope this message finds you and your family in good health.
I now share our sixth ‘Open Letter to Friends and Supporters’ at what many believe is the height of COVID-19 pressure. Christmas travel and the January cold have ushered in our most challenging weeks yet. As of this writing, there have been nineteen cases (total) of COVID-positive infection amongst immediate school community members (Grades 5-12). While there has been no known in-school transmission, these instances and associated “close contact” tracing have placed a strain on students, staff members, and families.
And yet, I declare these past five months to be a big success. We opened on time in September and teachers delivered sixteen weeks of in-person learning up to Christmas. Following a one-week remote period after vacation, school re-commenced with a wary eye on community infection rates. Students and staff members have maintained well mask-wearing and other measures, which has enabled our success. We plan to remain “open” in-person all year. With God’s grace and the cooperation of students and staff, we’ll make it.
School has been shown to be an anchor for students and families. When in school students are active, they interact non-digitally, shake off isolation, and feel normal. The teenage fantasy of “school’s out” has been proven to be not at all what students crave. It is healthy — and right — to be in school.
I write to you on Tuesday of Catholic Schools Week, when students and staff have fun and celebrate all that is special about Catholic schools. Importantly, students will attend Holy Mass this week at St. Francis Xavier Church, because it is right and just always and everywhere to give Him praise.
Like many institutions, the school faces challenging financial realities this year, especially due to COVID-related expenses and families’ need for emergency financial aid. For these reasons especially I am pleased to tell you that the school has received a major gift for student scholarships from the Flatley Foundation (Braintree, Mass.). This generous gift from the Flatley Foundation helps students stay in their Catholic school, despite economic uncertainty. We are very grateful to the Flatley Foundation and other generous donors that are making sure no one has to leave school due to financial hardship.
It appears that this entire school year will remain COVID-restricted. While no one wishes for this, we will extend, adjust, and continue our current approach that values structure, connections, and the maximization of school life, despite constraints. Through faith, we know that “all will be well.” I hope that you are, too.
Please contact me with your comments or questions. If there is anything we can do for you or yours, let me know directly.
Christopher W. Keavy