Greetings College Community, and happy Friday, our Saints Spirit Day!
I trust the semester is off to a good start, noting that we are still dealing with the challenges of the pandemic. I want to sincerely thank you all for welcoming our students back in the many formats in which they are learning. We are hopeful for continued progress in dealing with the COVID situation - including the eventual distribution vaccines, and pray for the continued lowering of the COVID case numbers.
I encourage you to adhere to our Community Pledge by following COVID protocols diligently. Some of our students and employees within the high priority areas have received the vaccination, which is good news! But a reminder that even as vaccines get administered, we must continue to practice safety measures until that time when we are certain it's safe to step away from them.
A big thank you to Mike Turner, the SHS staff and the Saints Rise Up Steering Committee for their continued work to revise and update our plans. Mike and the SHS staff are working closely with the Minnesota Department of Health to ensure strong coordination and our presence "at the table" as decisions are being made.
College's COVID-19 Travel Policy and revised quarantine protocols:
Given the continued uncertainty regarding the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, the College has extended its travel restriction for all College sponsored international and domestic business travel until further notice. In some exceptional cases, employees may be given permission to travel for critical purposes. To request business travel, the travel request form must be completed and sent to your Vice President or Dean for approval prior to booking or commencing travel. Maintaining the health and safety of our community is the College's highest priority, and continued understanding and compliance with this updated policy remains essential in our effort to minimize risks related to the spread of COVID-19. Please check out the policy under the employee reopen to learn about the revised CDC and MDH testing and quarantine guidelines as they relate to travel.
Reconvening a planning task force:
In February, we will be reconvening a task force, much like we did last spring (Rapid Response Team, in that case) to assist us in planning and providing recommendations regarding summer and fall 2021. We have learned a lot over the past 12 months and have implemented many new practices and methodologies which will hopefully inform operations as the pandemic environment improves and recovers. Our goal is to be proactive and prepared for our students and employees. We look forward to all being together again in community. Stay tuned for updates.
Equity, diversity and inclusion news:
February is Black History Month. Please see this document for resources and opportunities sponsored by the Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. Finalization of pending speakers and other events will be updated. Please contact Dr Amy Bergstrom if you have any questions firstname.lastname@example.org.
St. Scholastica's free tutoring partnership with ISD 709:
Kudos to the many folks who came together to make this program a reality, and Beth LaVigne, who is helping to coordinate efforts. They have worked diligently with our ISD 709 colleagues to offer a free grant supported program, with St. Scholastica students tutoring ISD 709 students in the challenge of virtual learning.
The team has been able to hire and train almost 50 tutors and have conducted almost 400 sessions so far, and have capacity (and funds) for much more. Our tutors are ready! Please spread the word that ISD 709 families can book appointments with trained St. Scholastica tutors in any grade and subject areas on various days and times by going to https://css709tutor.setmore.com. All sessions are online and free. In addition to the online support, the program has also "embedded" tutors on-site at Neighborhood Youth Services (NYS) which serves students in the Central Hillside and surrounding areas.
St. Scholastica joins JED Campus to support mental health:
The College of St. Scholastica is pleased to announce that it has joined JED Campus in support of student well-being and mental health. Kudos to Steve Lyons, Teresa Guerrero, Sarah Wells and many others who have made this possible. We also note that the SGA and our Board of Trustees committed funds to support joining JED Campus. The Program is a nationwide initiative of The Jed Foundation designed to help schools evaluate and strengthen their mental health, substance misuse, suicide prevention programs and systems to ensure that schools have the strongest possible mental health safety nets.
By joining JED Campus, The College of St. Scholastica demonstrates a commitment to the emotional well-being of its students. The College will embark on a multi-year strategic collaboration with JED Campus that not only assesses and enhances the work that is already being done but also helps create positive, lasting, systemic change in the campus community. The Program will provide St. Scholastica with a framework for supporting student mental health, as well as assessment tools, feedback reports, a strategic plan and ongoing support from the JED Campus team. For more information about The College of St. Scholastica's partnership with JED Campus, visit http://www.css.edu/JED. Questions about JED Campus can be directed to Teresa Guerrero email@example.com or Sarah Wells firstname.lastname@example.org.
Great news from The School of Education!
US News and World Report released their 2021 rankings for the Best Online Programs in Education this week. The College of St. Scholastica's Master of Education in Teaching and Learning program was ranked 35th in the country. This is the 8th year the MEd program has been recognized as a top-ranking online program. Congratulations to the faculty and staff for your amazing achievements and this recognition!
Honoring healthcare workers:
This past week St. Louis County has honored our frontline workers through the Blue Light Project. As we announced last week, we put a spin on this and lit up Tower Hall with green colors representing the colors of the healthcare professions specifically. As we honor our alumni and present students in these fields, we would like to share this video of our nursing students and graduates, and thank them for the amazing contributions they have made on the frontlines during this pandemic.
Have a wonderful weekend, enjoy the outdoors and stay safe and warm!