September 10, 2021
Sept. 10 Safe Return update
Happy Friday and Happy CSS Spirit Day! This year we celebrated a more normal return as we welcomed our students into academic settings and our athletic teams took to the fields in the new MIAC Conference. I hate to say this, but fall is on the way! There’s a chill in the air that is both refreshing and a sign of what is to come. I hope this finds you, wherever you are, invigorated by our fall start. Granted, we are still going through a lot as we return, nevertheless, our students bring us much hope. Convocation was a true testament to the anticipation of new beginnings for our entering learners, they are excited to be back in community. I thank you all for embracing a spirit of hospitality as well as love of learning as we start the academic year.
We are now running weekly MIIC reports that show our levels of vaccination at our Duluth Kenwood, Health Science and St. Cloud campuses for all students and employees. I am very pleased to say that we continue to see rates increase.
Proof of Vaccination/Exemptions/Testing
With the addition of the COVID-19 vaccine to the list of required immunizations for students who are face-to-face in curricular and co-curricular activities at the Duluth and St. Cloud campuses, we have our process for uploading proof of vaccination as well as the process for exemptions underway. Students have been informed that they must have proof of vaccination by Oct. 22. They are also aware that if they are seeking an exemption, they must submit the exemption by Sept. 15 to Megan Perry-Spears, Dean of Students. A committee has been appointed to review and then provide recommendations on “approval or denial” to Steve Lyons, VP of Student Affairs. Regardless of whether the exemptions are approved or denied, all students who submit an exemption will be required to self-test and report results weekly.
Vaccination Clinics at the Duluth Kenwood Campus
We continue to make great strides in our vaccination coverage! Today, we hosted our fourth on-campus vaccination clinic and we have three more on the calendar:
- Sept. 17, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. in the Mitchell Kitchenette
- Oct. 8, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. in Somers Main Lounge
Look for details about how to pre-register for these vaccination clinics next week; walk-ins are also accepted! As a reminder, the vaccination is free, safe and one of the best measures we can take to prevent getting and spreading COVID-19.
Commemorating the 20th Anniversary of 9/11
For the Duluth community, there will be an event on Saturday at 11 a.m. in the entryway to Amsoil Arena at the DECC. There will be speakers, prayers and music; all are invited to join. You can learn more here: 9/11 Remembrance Ceremony open to the public.
For the St. Scholastica community, there will be a special intention included in the prayers of the people at both the 11 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. Masses. The 6:30 p.m. Mass will be said in honor of all those who died on September 11 and in the last twenty years of war.
Spirit Fridays are back!
Join me in re-invigorating a beloved tradition of wearing Saints gear on the last day of the work week! Showing our colors builds our community and strengthens our identity as Saints, especially with our students. Be sure to stop by the Saints Shop to stock up on your CSS-branded apparel. Check out the attached pictures to see what’s in store!
CSS in the News
We had an especially joyous Opening Convocation and Saints Heritage Club luncheon on Tuesday to kick off our 110th academic year together. Our first day of school festivities were also picked up by Fox 21 earlier this week: College of St. Scholastica Kicks off First Day of Classes.
News from the EDI Office
Shout out to our Pride Volunteers! I would like to thank the 25 faculty and staff who volunteered at the Duluth Superior Pride event on Saturday, Sept. 4. CSS and the EDI office were well represented!
The St. Scholastica athletics department made some position announcements this week. Alum and assistant coach Brandon Swartz will assume the position of Interim Head Baseball Coach. Swartz has been full-time assistant the last six seasons on the baseball staff and is a 2018 CSS Baseball Hall of Fame inductee.
The Women’s Basketball program also has a new head coach for the first time since 1994 as Jason Schmitz was announced as the program’s next head coach. Schmitz comes to CSS after spending the last three seasons as the head women’s basketball coach at NCAA Division III Centenary College (LA). Schmitz also was an assistant on the women’s staff at his alma mater the University of Mary (ND) for four seasons.
The cross-country programs kicked off the weekend of activity on Thursday competing in Superior with Calvin Boone winning the men’s race and Maj-Lis Helmer recording a top-five finish in the women’s race. Your CSS Men’s Soccer team is home on Friday and Saturday against the University of Dallas and Coe College (Iowa). Start time both days is 4 p.m. at Saints Field.
In closing, I offer some wisdom and reflections from Sr. Beverly Raway, Prioress of the St. Scholastica Monastery, which she shared with me from a recent presentation she gave:
As we move into the month of September and struggle with the complications brought on by the surge of the covid Delta variant, I try to put myself in your place, imagining the challenges you have faced that are coming around your way again. I suspect you are long past the hope that the pandemic would be over soon. I listened to a podcast by Dr. Michael Osterholm on Monday and know as you do, that we are likely to have multiple waves of variants coming round for quite a long time until a sufficient percentage of the population have been vaccinated or some other act of God results in a downturn through mutation.
I heard said by analogy that we are facing a second wave like the hurricanes recently experienced. In a broadcast on NPR this last week an expert in Louisiana who faced the devastation from Katrina and is now dealing with Irma said… we are “tired of being resilient” I’m sure you can say the same. So, my concern for you is your level of energy and resilience and for those who work with you. I know that you know what to do now, operationally, that supplies, and protocols are in place… but what place are you in?
I hope that you are taking care of yourselves and getting the respite you need away from work. And while at work, taking time for quiet pauses, minutes or even seconds, so that grace can pour in and refresh you so you can keep a level head and grateful heart. I’m going to say that again… allow grace in. In my own experience while walking down the hall or from one building to another I often say to myself… “I’m on vacation” … and relax into a mindless state that refreshes and I hope lowers my blood pressure as I move from one challenge to the next. I hope that I’m also letting grace in. And as you work together, I remind you in the words of Benedict to listen with the ear of your heart. This is a time like no other when deep listening and loving-kindness are essential.
Thank you Sr. Beverly!
I hope you find time for moments for reflection and grace, and as my mother-in-law would often say, “time to stop and smell the roses”. Self-care, patience, reflection and grace – time to center yourself and know that you are part of a Saints community who loves, cares for and prays for you. Stay well, enjoy the weekend!