Dear Parents/Guardians and Students,
This Friday will mark the beginning of our regularly scheduled spring and Easter break. I can’t remember a break that felt more well deserved – for students, faculty and staff, and parents alike. Before I share some important information about break and plans for April, I want to say how very proud I have been of our Gonzaga community during these past two weeks since we moved to distance learning. It has not been easy, but together, teachers and students have risen to the challenge with resilience, grit, and a true sense of shared mission that is emblematic of the very best of Gonzaga. For that, I am both inspired and grateful.
Many of you continue to ask about Father Planning’s health. He is blessed to be receiving wonderful remote care, both from his doctor and his Jesuit brothers in the community on Eye Street. While he remains in total quarantine at Gonzaga, he is trending in a very hopeful way, so continue to keep him in your prayers.
Two important areas for all students and their parents/guardians:
Continuation of Distance Learning: First, while spring break will proceed as scheduled, when we return from break, Gonzaga will necessarily extend our distance learning protocols through April 24, in compliance with guidance from local officials. While it’s obviously disappointing not to be back on Eye Street as soon as we had hoped, we have learned much over the past few weeks. After spring break, new protocols and scheduling will be put in place that take into account recommendations from teachers, the administration, and especially from students.
Please follow this link to Gonzaga’s Spring 2020 Virtual Learning Resources page
for detailed information on how we plan to operate during this extended distance learning period, including information on schedules, grading, final exams, AP classes, and more. For the moment, wherever possible, we are not making unilateral decisions about classes and activities beyond April 24. Given the unpredictable nature of this crisis, we will remain responsive to public health recommendations but also hopeful for a return to a new normal. And so we intend to announce longer-term plans as things continue to unfold.
Spring Break Expectations: Second, a message to students. I know you boys are cooped up and anxious to see your friends. I feel the same way, and so too do your parents and teachers. But spring break cannot be a time to relax the Gonzaga community’s shared responsibility to fight this crisis by practicing social distancing. All of us, including young people, are susceptible to contracting and spreading this virus—and it is each of our responsibility to minimize transmission. Doing so is doing the work of social justice that we so often talk about at Gonzaga. Doing so is being a Man for Others.
So, my expectation for Gonzaga men over break is that you stay physically distant from one another, but remain connected in all the ways you already know so well. In addition, I ask that you either find a way to connect with someone in your neighborhood who may be feeling particularly isolated and lonely, or find a way to make a positive contribution to your local community. Check in with an elderly neighbor to see if they need anything, or drop off a care package of essentials. Give all your old Legos to a little kid in your neighborhood who hasn’t had a playdate in weeks, and whose parents are running out of games and ideas. Mow the lawn of someone who looks like they could use a hand. Grab a trash bag and gloves and clean up your neighborhood or a local park. You can do all of these things while maintaining physical distance—but you can play a major role in helping to ease the sense of isolation that everyone in our community is feeling right now.
We’ve asked the Campus Ministry department to share ways you can continue to serve in this regard over spring break. If you would like, please visit this link
to share examples of how you are caring for others in your neighborhood during this time, which we’ll then share with others. You can find the list here
and we’ll add ideas as we get more from you! I am confident that you guys can step up to this challenge and demonstrate the best of what it means to be a Man for Others when it matters most.
I hope and pray that all families are safe and healthy. And despite what we find ourselves facing, please enjoy your well-deserved spring break, and have a happy Easter! I leave you with this quote from Cardinal Basil Hume:
“The great gift of Easter is hope – Christian hope which makes us have that confidence in God, in his ultimate triumph, and in his goodness and love, which nothing can shake.”
Peace and Blessings,
Thomas K. Every II