SaintsRiseUp Safe Return | Campus Reopening Updates

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) information

Courses on the College’s Duluth and extended campuses are being taught using a mixture of in-person and virtual methods for the fall semester. Students in our fully online programs are not experiencing any change to the delivery of their courses.

This plan remains flexible and could change if pandemic circumstances require it. The safety of our students, faculty and staff will remain our top priority. We will continue to monitor guidance provided by Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

For more information, visit the frequently asked questions (FAQ) page.

Important resources

Community updates

Greetings Colleagues,

Well, fall is behind us now and we enter into the season of winter. It came a bit early this year in Minnesota, but nonetheless, the winter landscape brings much beauty in God’s creation.

Thank you all for your hard work this week. Today, the College leadership team is meeting with our Board of Trustees to conduct business and provide updates on the strategic direction of the College. With an eye towards the unpredictability of typical scheduling due to COVID, I am pleased to announce a few updates within this letter.

MDH/CDC Updates

The guidance from MDH and CDC continues to evolve, and with that we are re-examining some of our guidelines, particularly with regard to shields and face coverings. A reminder that face coverings are required in all indoor areas. Face shields alone are not sufficient and should be used together with face coverings. Students needing accommodations should contact the Center for Equal Access and employees should contact Human Resources to seek an exception. Gaiters should be doubled layered to provide the best protection.

We have made the decision to maintain the start and end dates on our academic calendar with a shift to our break dates. Spring semester will begin on January 19, Spring II will begin on March 22 and the last day of the semester will be May 13.

We will not be holding community day or spring break as currently scheduled. Rather, we will be having six days throughout the semester where we will not be holding classes, including Feb. 24 which was scheduled as community day. The additional dates will be shared with the community in the coming weeks after discussion with the Academic Council. Graduate and professional programs may have slightly different calendars based upon their specific requirements and needs. These programs will communicate modifications as necessary to faculty and students.

These dates are meant to provide the much needed respite that spring break typically offers students and faculty, while also working to minimize the impact travel would have on the spread of COVID. The College will be open for business on the days no classes are being held, similar to spring break in non-COVID years.

Virtual Commencement

The College is excited to announce that we will hold our 2020 Fall Commencement on December 19 in a virtual format. All students who graduated in May 2020 and those who will graduate this December will be invited to participate in this ceremony. Due to the continuing rise in COVID cases in many states, we know the safest way to celebrate your accomplishments is through a virtual ceremony. Any student who participates virtually is also welcome to attend and walk in an in-person ceremony as soon as we are able to offer one.

Our past May graduates and current graduating seniors will receive the first of a series of commencement newsletters next week which will contain information about signing up for the ceremony along with other important communications. If you have questions not covered in the newsletter please email We hope to see you at the ceremony!

Winter Holiday Closure

As per our annual holiday calendar, the College will be closed on the following days:

  • December 24, 25, 31 (½ day)
  • January 1

I am pleased to announce that we will again provide additional bonus days this year for employees: December 28, 29, 30 and 31 (½ day)

In other words, the College will close on Thursday, December 24 and reopen on Monday January 4. I hope that these bonus days will provide you with the opportunity for well-deserved rest and renewal given the tremendous work everyone has taken on in our new environment. If you work in a role that requires you to be present at some point during that holiday week, please work with your supervisor to arrange for equitable time off before the end of January.

Upcoming Election

In the last presidential election more than half of college students did not vote. An estimated 48 percent of students voted compared to more than 70 percent of senior citizens - a serious imbalance that ultimately means less attention to the needs of students and their colleges. Had more students voted, they might have changed the outcomes in some of our key swing states. Your vote matters!

The College is hosting showings of the movie “The Social Dilemma” with conversations to follow regarding how it relates to politics on the following dates.

Social Dilemma Showings with talkback sessions to follow:

Thursday Oct 22, 6pm - Undergraduate students
Thursday Oct 29, 6pm - All Students welcome

St. Cloud Campus

The College’s St. Cloud campus newly expanded learning spaces officially opened for students this fall.

The construction project enhanced technology in existing classrooms and added a nursing simulation center with multiple acute care and ambulatory care rooms, break-out rooms for student pre-briefing and post-briefing sessions and a common room for faculty. A new 36-seat classroom is being used for nursing classes as well as our education program and other offerings.

The new space also includes additional nursing skills labs and simulation labs. The flexible high-tech spaces can simulate a variety of care settings, from a home care scenario to a hospital room or clinic, providing rich hands-on learning experiences for students.

We had hoped to hold a grand opening celebration for the new campus space this fall, but have postponed it to a time where we can gather safely. In the meantime we have been able to offer socially distanced tours for our key partners in the St. Cloud area and media such as KNSI.

Please watch for a summary of our Board of Trustees meeting coming early next week.

I hope everyone enjoys their weekend. Stay warm, be well and stay safe!


Thank you for your continued efforts to follow safety guidelines and keep our community healthy after last week’s Level 2 - Medium Alert COVID announcement. By working together, we will be able to keep each other safe.

Health Department tour and recommendations

On Oct. 7 the College hosted two representatives from the St. Louis County Public Health Department. The team’s goal was to tour campus in light of our recent move to Level 2 on the alert scale and to make recommendations for improvements to health and safety protocols based on their observations. Safety and Security Manager Mike Turner and members of our Saints Rise Up Steering Committee led the team on a tour of major campus facilities including the Burns Wellness Commons cardio area and athletic facilities, Student Health Service clinic, dining service areas, the Science Center and Tower Hall.

They made a few recommendations for improvements, but overall the team was pleased with our adherence to our Safe Return plan guidelines. One problem area they noted, which I would like to emphasize again, is a lapse on following guidelines in our dining areas. Please remember that there should be no more than four people sitting together at any one table, and face coverings are required unless you are actually eating or drinking. Thank you for your continued efforts to follow our safety rules - your hard work is paying off!

Virtual Homecoming: a great success!

The College’s Homecoming Weekend represents a time to celebrate what it means to be a St. Scholastica Saint, even if that celebration is held virtually! This year, we transitioned our traditional festivities to intimate, community-building Zoom conversations with our alumni, faculty, staff, students and Sisters. We had a lot of participants from Duluth, the Twin Cities and even as far as Arizona. Thank you to the Alumni Engagement team for their work in developing a well-planned and organized event.

Higher Learning Commission reaffirmation

It’s that time again! Every 10 years, St. Scholastica undergoes reaffirmation of accreditation with the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Along with a written assurance argument, the reaffirmation includes a visit to our campuses. Our next reaffirmation is slated for the academic year 2022-2023 (exact dates yet to be determined). Therefore, we are beginning to prepare the community for this event.

The structure will consist of a steering committee co-chaired by Diane Vertin, Chief Operating Officer, and Anne Kruchten, Director of Assessment; a federal compliance committee, chaired by Kris Church, Institutional Research; and criterion committees that will be co-chaired by members of the President’s Cabinet. The purpose of the steering committee is to oversee the overall process and criterion committees, while the criterion teams will be responsible for evaluating the criteria and providing evidence to address the criteria. The federal compliance committee will provide evidence that we are in full compliance with federal regulations. The steering committee is scheduled to meet in November to kick off the process.

Accreditation by HLC is very important because it assures the public that our College meets the standards based on five criteria:

  • Mission
  • Integrity: Ethical and Responsible Conduct
  • Teaching and Learning: Quality, Resources and Support
  • Teaching and Learning: Evaluation and Improvement
  • Institutional Effectiveness, Resources and Planning.

This is a comprehensive assessment of the institution. The accreditation assures that St. Scholastica is eligible for federal funds (such as Title IV) and assists in the transfer of credits to other institutions. Stay tuned for more on this to come!

Benedictine Hospitality on display

Thank you to all the staff, faculty and students who made our MEA Break visitors feel welcomed to campus this week. While we weren't able to hold our usual large-scale Open Houses, more than 50 students and their families were shown outstanding Benedictine Hospitality in a COVID-friendly way.

Faculty Colloquium – absence and authorship

During an upcoming School of Arts and Letters Faculty Colloquium Dr. Nathan Carroll will present his investigative findings on absence and authorship in relation to Martin Scorsese’s “Street Scenes 1970.” The long-lost film showed the anti-Vietnam student strikes that took place in New York City and Washington D.C. in May of 1970. The event will be held via Zoom from 3:30 – 4:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 23. Visit to register.

Data and health policy

The LaTour Eichenwald Forum on HIIM Leadership and Innovation will be hosting retired Ambassador Jimmy Kolker as guest speaker at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 19 via Zoom. Kolker will be speaking on the topic: “How Diplomats and Policy Creators use (or fail to use) data and evidence when making decisions about public health interventions.” To register, visit

2020 holiday festivities

The College is finalizing plans for this year’s holiday festivities. Currently, plans are for our annual Lighting a Tradition event to be held a little early, prior to the Thanksgiving Break. It will take place at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 18. This year’s Advent Vespers service and the President’s Holiday Dinner will be held virtually on Tuesday, Dec. 1. Please stay tuned as plans continue to develop.

With snow in the forecast, I hope everyone stays warm and safe this weekend! Stay well, be safe!


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If you have questions, please email or call us.
(218) 723-6252

If you're not feeling well, please call Student Health Services or your health provider instead of going in-person.

Student Health Service
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Phone: (218) 723-6282
Fax: (218) 723-5953

Emergency and After-Hours Contacts

Essentia Health Urgent Care
400 East Third Street
Duluth, MN
(218) 786-8364

Essentia Health Nurse Care Line
(218) 725-3110

St. Luke's Lakeview Building
915 East First Street
Duluth, MN
(218) 249-5555