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The College of St. Scholastica
SaintsRiseUp Safe Return

Greetings, College Community!
There’s lots of exciting activity as we gear up to launch fall semester. We are reaching out to students and employees with additional information on our Safe Return. Thank you to Ryan Sandefer and Steve Lyons along with the Communication Team for pushing out a significant amount of detail on what students can expect, and how faculty are approaching the term in the hybrid format.

Facilities and Safety

Duluth campus buildings will be open beginning this Monday, Aug. 10, from 6:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, with the exception of Burns Wellness Commons and the Health Science Center. HSC faculty and staff will be able to utilize their card access to enter as needed. Faculty and staff whose offices are in BWC can utilize their keys to access the building as needed. The BWC plans to reopen the week of Aug. 24 with some changes designed to keep us all healthy and fit (movement is a great medicine!). All users must:

  • Enter via front door A
  • Carry in a pair of clean, non-marking shoes
  • Check in at front desk with your Saints card (CSS ID)
  • Wear face covering at all times

The BWC will be open summer hours, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, though that schedule as well as programming and facility use may vary from previous years. Campus Rec is adding new intramural and fitness programs that can be done safely outdoors. For more information call 218-723-7022 The St. Cloud campus can be accessed by faculty and staff utilizing their key as needed. Others may access the building by appointment only until the start of fall semester, at which time doors will be unlocked. If you need Anti-COVID-19 supplies such as disinfectant bottles or face shields for your department, please contact Tanya Lowney in Facilities.A reminder: all employees must self-monitor on a daily basis. You can learn about resources and tools available for self-monitoring your symptoms at the Employee Reopening Plan.

SRU Planning Update

As you can tell from the item above, our Saints Rise Up Steering Committee and numerous subcommittees continue to diligently fill in details of our Safe Return plan. Much of the work at this stage is scenario-based, making sure we are prepared “in the event of…” For example, this week discussion centered around safe medical transport, handling requests for internal and external events on campus, quarantine procedures for international students, protocols for when a student tests positive for COVID, the development of reporting forms, and more. We will continue to provide updates on these and the many other issues we face. We approach this responsibility with humility, fully aware that we cannot know every possible turn of the road ahead. At the same time, we are called to give our earnest best, and that is what I see happening from our colleagues. Saints do indeed Rise Up!

Communication Update

The Safe Return Advocates campaign is now running on our main FacebookTwitter and Instagram pages. If you’re not on social media, you can see the content here. Thanks to the students, staff and faculty members who have served as Advocates so far! If you’d like to share your Safe Return selfie or video message, please contact College Communications at We appreciate your participation in this important effort to build a safe campus culture.

Our COVID-19 Saints Succeed discount initiative, which helps students whose employment has been affected by the pandemic, has earned a lot of positive media coverage, including from WDIO-TV Channel 10, FOX-TV Channel 21Business NorthMIX-108 FM Radio and the Duluth News Tribune. The attention drew some negative reaction on social media, from people who felt traditional undergrad students were being overlooked. In fact, we also have financial assistance for currently enrolled students whose financial circumstances have changed due to COVID. Financial Aid and OneStop Director Trish Johnson stands ready to help them through the professional judgment process or to apply for one of our emergency funding options.

Matt Ridenour, chair of our undergraduate education program, gave an in-depth interview about the state’s plan for K-12 schools on public television’s “Almanac North.”

There’s an interesting blog being written by three siblings at different life stages, including a recent St. Scholastica grad and a soon-to-be-freshman who offers an interesting perspective on starting at the College in the midst of the pandemic.

Student Survey Completed

The Student Survey gauging students’ thoughts on their return to St. Scholastica closed Wednesday. Results are being tabulated and will be shared next week Over 1,000 responses were captured. We thank the students for sharing their feedback, which will help inform our COVID-19 plans moving forward.

Joint Facilities Planning Committee Update and Student Center Planning

The Joint Facilities Planning Steering Committee has completed a six-month study with the architectural firm HGA, in partnership with our sponsors, the Duluth Benedictine Sisters of St. Scholastica Monastery, as well as the leadership of the Benedictine Living Community of Duluth. The steering committee, chaired by Sister Beverly Raway, Prioress, was charged with addressing the future use of the Monastery property and with guiding the shared planning process in visioning the future living needs of the Duluth Benedictine Sisters. For the College, this was also an opportunity to examine the facilities priorities that emerged from our survey earlier this year, and to focus forward on one of those, a Student Center/Union. We are now poised to begin work on a conceptual design of the student center thanks to a generous gift from the Manitou Foundation. Later this month a cross-functional planning committee will convene to begin this next step. Stay tuned for future updates as we move the process forward.

Stay well and have a great weekend!


Barbara McDonald, Ed.D