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The College of St. Scholastica

Dear Colleagues,

We prepare to close out the month with some promising news; while we did experience the predicted surge in COVID-19 cases at the start of the semester, our case counts have decreased and continue to decrease each day. We know this is because of your tremendous efforts of masking, vaxxing and testing. Thank you for doing your part! The quiet period for our Duluth Campus students will end on Jan. 31 but we ask that everyone continue to adhere to the guidance that has kept us in-person all year:

  • Wear a high quality, well-fitted mask when indoors
  • Get vaccinated and boosted when you’re eligible
  • Stay home and get tested if you feel sick

Please don’t forget, our COVID-19 Case and Vaccination Dashboard is available in my.CSS and is updated on a weekly basis.

Finally, there is growing consensus that COVID-19 and its variants are here to stay, and must be managed rather than eradicated, much like the seasonal flu. Although this might not be welcome news, I still see a glimmer of hope. Our community’s ability to manage and mitigate the virus is deeply rooted in our ability to adapt, often quickly. And over the past three years, we have become very adept in adapting! We also know that science and medicine continue to make incredible progress on how we might be protected and be treated for variants. We may not know what lies ahead, but we know that our resilience and care for one another will guide the path forward.

Booster shots

We have received questions about whether or not COVID-19 boosters will be required for our student and employee communities. This remains an ongoing conversation, however, we strongly encourage everyone who is eligible to receive their booster. Earlier this month, we shared the important distinction between “up to date” and “fully vaccinated” but here is a reminder:

  • Up to date means a person has received all recommended COVID-19 vaccines, including any booster dose(s) when eligible
  • Fully vaccinated means a person has received their primary series of COVID-19 vaccines only

If you are not up to date AND you are exposed to a COVID-19 positive person, you must quarantine for five days. In order to stay in school/work/activities/all the things you love to do socially, please get boosted! Students, please check out these instructions on how to upload your booster shot to the myHealth portal.

On Feb. 3, LeadMN  (the Minnesota State community college student organization), will host a COVID19 Vaccine Listening Session, specifically geared towards college students. During the session, participants will have the opportunity to engage with health officials and their peers in conversations about vaccine hesitancy and advocacy. Please consider sharing this with your students and encouraging them to attend this free, virtual event.

Diversity Dish/EDI Conversations across Campus event

Did you know that Wednesday, Feb. 2 is National Girls and Women in Sports Day? In recognition of this important day, you are invited to join us for a panel discussion with head coaches Rilee Dawson, Rachel Gray, Dana Moore, Maria Stuber and Julianne Vasichek. During this event, you’ll hear from our colleagues on topics such as leadership, coaching demands and gender equity. You’ll also hear who inspires them to show up as women in leadership.

The panel begins at noon via Zoom and will be co-facilitated by Laura Johnson and Amy Bergstrom. Zoom link and password are available on the Trumba calendar.

MBA Alumni making an impact!

Three years ago, Essentia Health began a fellowship program to provide qualified graduate students with a paid opportunity to learn and gain experience at the leadership-level of their organization. The first Fellow came from the University of Minnesota’s well-known MHA program. In the second and third years, graduates from our MBA in Leadership & Change program were invited to compete for the honor.  In both years, our students earned the fellowships.

This year, Essentia expanded its program to offer three fellowships. They also increased the number of colleges and universities invited to participate. Over twenty applicants were considered. We are proud to report that two of the three awards were won by graduates of the CSS MBA in Leadership and Change:  Phillisha Cham will be a fellow here in Duluth and Cortney Kostreba will be a fellow based in Brainerd.  Congratulations to both graduates!

Exciting updates from the School of Arts and Letters

A warm welcome to Lee Stuart who joined the St. Scholastica community in July 2021 to serve as the program director for our Master of Arts in Nonprofit Leadership! The program, the first masters in SAL, will launch this fall.


We are also excited to announce the College’s 3+3 Program with Mitchell Hamline School of Law. The “3+3 program” will provide CSS students with the opportunity to earn an undergraduate and law degree in only six years rather than seven (based on full-time enrollment), saving them a year of tuition costs and allowing them to advance more quickly in their education and professional careers. Under the 3+3, participating students will complete their final undergraduate year at MHSL as first-year law students. Students will then transfer their law school courses back to the College according to St. Scholastica requirements. Thank you to Teresa Ipina and SAL faculty members who were integral in making this relationship possible! Any questions about the 3+3 program should be directed to Ashley Comstock.

Accolades from our Physical Therapy department

Adjunct professor Dr. Justin Berry will be receiving the following award next week based upon his scholarly work A National Survey of Student Loan Debt Accrued by Doctor of Physical Therapy Students:

The Feitelberg Journal Founders’ Award was created by Samuel B. Feitelberg, PT, MA, FAPTA in honor of the efforts of the over 100 colleagues whose contributions of time and money created the Journal of Physical Therapy Education, to acknowledge excellence in publication by a first-time author in the Journal of PT Education for the calendar year.

Additionally, professor and program chair Dr. John Borstad and five of his students have earned national acclaim for their platform presentation “Relationship Among Student Mental Health, Student Self Efficacy and PT Education Attributes.” In December, the project was selected to receive the Physical Therapy Learning Institute’s 2021 Education Influencer Award, based on its potential to positively influence excellence in physical therapy education. Congratulations to Dr. Borstad and students Zach Borer, Jacob Carlson, Justin Keller, Anne Spears and Logan Viegut!

State Grant advocacy efforts

Did you know that 27% of our undergraduate students received Minnesota State Grant funds last year? That’s over 700 students! And the money adds up. Last year, the average award at St. Scholastica was $5,422, totaling nearly $3.9 million for our Saints. But these funds aren’t just meaningful to our CSS community, they help students all across the state make their educational dreams a reality, too. Over 70,000 Minnesota students receive a State Grant.

This session, MPCC is asking the Legislature to increase this important investment by decreasing the student share of tuition from 50% to 47%. To help in this advocacy, MPCC has requested our students sign up to connect with their lawmakers and share their testimonials about the impact of State Grant funding. Please encourage your students to register for Student Voices by Feb. 13. Once they’ve signed up, MPCC will offer their support in helping students write emails, record personal videos and even participate in Zoom calls with their elected officials.

Thank you for your advocacy and for everything that you do to make our St. Scholastica community a brighter one! Enjoy your weekend, stay safe and be well.

Blessings to you all,


SaintsRiseUp Safe Return