March 11, 2020

Dear Bishop Blanchet Community,
We have spent the past few weeks researching and tracking the rapidly evolving novel coronavirus and COVID-19 situation. Our Leadership Team has been meeting daily to review the facts from experts, analyze local and global trends on the spread of coronavirus and process on-going discussions with community members and administrators at other local schools. 
Today, we closely monitored the directives from our Governor and other civic and public health officials. We take these directives very seriously, acknowledging our responsibility for the safety, health and well being of all those in our community.
While Bishop Blanchet does not have any confirmed cases of coronavirus or the illness COVID-19 at this time, we are taking the proactive measure of closing our campus starting tomorrow, March 12, 2020.
This is a significant decision that has been made with the utmost deliberation. This decision aligns with other peer high schools and local universities. It is a decision grounded in our social responsibility to initiate creative and aggressive measures to allow for the social distancing directed by our Governor this morning. We are prepared and confident in our Digital Distance Learning Plan and believe this decision is in the best interest of the health and wellness of our employees, students and families.
Closure Details
  • The closure will begin tomorrow, Thursday, March 12 and we minimally plan for the closure to span through Tuesday, March 31, 2020. We will continue to evaluate and update you accordingly throughout the closure.
  • Today's after school sports and activities will take place as scheduled.
  • There will be no academic expectation for students Thursday, March 12 or Friday, March 13, other than preparing their home space and technology for digital distance learning, getting their materials organized and taking time to rest and prepare.
  • Students have been instructed today to take home all materials needed for the duration of the closure.
  • Starting tomorrow, Thursday, March 12, all BBHS organized athletics (practices and games), arts (rehearsals and performances), clubs, campus ministry and leadership activities are suspended. We remain in communication with the WIAA, Metro League and other governing bodies and will update you on the status of these programs should we receive further directives. We acknowledge how deeply disappointing this suspension is for students and families, and share the sadness and let down for all those who have prepared so much for their extracurricular endeavors.
  • All BBHS campus facilities will be closed to students and parents/guardians, including buildings and athletic spaces, effective Thursday, March 12, 2020.
  • Our Facilities Team will continue to deep clean our building during the closure.
  • Our entire faculty and staff will be available via email to assist you during the school closure. Please click here to access the online directory.
  • Students should email with tech concerns. Our Technology Department will support Distance Learning for the duration of the closure.
Digital Distance Learning Plan

From Monday, March 16 through Tuesday, March 31, 2020 we will be utilizing our Digital Distance Learning Plan protocol.
  • Beginning Monday, March 16, we will be in the short term implementation of that plan, which dictates that teachers post assignments via email and/or Google classroom by 10:00 a.m. Students are to complete all assigned work that day.
  • We will alternate Green and Gold day schedules, beginning with a Green Day on Monday, March 16. Therefore, students will have work to complete for half their classes each day. At a minimum, the school will operate classes in this fashion through Friday, March 27.
  • We will communicate if a shift is made to the prolonged Digital Distance Learning Plan, which would involve conducting class through Google Meet (video conferencing) during school hours.
How can you help?
  • With the closure of our school building, it is essential for students to take responsibility not only for a commitment to their academics in this new setting, but also to ensure their part in reducing the spread of the virus by practicing social distancing strategies. This is a challenge as we are social by nature and deeply value community. However, without student and family support on this point, we could potentially increase risk of the virus spreading and it makes our closure less effective.
  • We recommend checking in with your student daily on their academic work and also brainstorming with them on strategies for social-emotional well-being including physical exercise and staying in touch with friends.
  • Please reach out to your student's counselor and/or teachers if you have any concerns about your student. We will continue to communicate frequently and provide links to resources to help support students and families during this unprecedented time. All updates will also be posted to the COVID-19 page of our website.
We will remain in communication over these next days to ensure effective transition to the learning plan.

In closing, let us remember in these extraordinary times the importance of turning to God in prayer. Please keep in your prayers all those currently affected with this illness, all those most vulnerable, all those worried and anxious for loved ones, and also keep in your hearts all first responders and medical workers who deliver care and healing on a daily basis. May we rise up and see the best of humanity in working together to keep ourselves and each other safe.

Tony DeSapio

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