To the Class of 2020 and their Families: Our switch to distance learning began on March 23, and the vast majority of reports/updates from faculty members and students have been largely positive thus far. Such accounts are the direct result of our incredible teacher preparation, student participation, and IT/school leadership. Kudos to all for your continued collaboration and tireless efforts to help meet the needs of our community.
The transition to distance learning has been challenging for all involved, and this sentiment may hold an even greater truth for seniors who have been coming to terms with the prospect of missing out on many significant spring experiences together. It was our greatest hope that we would be able to celebrate such meaningful milestones along with our seniors, knowing that their achievements are important and indeed worthy of celebration. However, much like everyone across the State and Nation, we are subject to the evolving course of the COVID-19 pandemic as relates to directives set forth by the government and the Rhode Island Department of Health. It has become clear that many of what would typically be considered our end-of-year activities will be affected by these directives.
Unfortunately, in compliance with these directives, the following Senior Class activities must be cancelled:
Saturday, May 16-Arts Brunch/Band & Choral Concert Sunday, May 17 - Athletic Banquet Thursday, May 28 - Yearbook Signing Party Friday, May 29 - Senior Prom Tuesday, June 2 - Senior Convocation AND Graduation Liturgy & Graduation Banquet
Further, as the Governor stated in her press conference yesterday, speaking directly to the Class of 2020, "Proms and in-person graduations aren't going to be possible this spring".
Please note that we have not yet made the decision to postpone Graduation, which is scheduled for June 4. We are beginning to discuss alternative celebrations for our graduates at the same time.
We know there may be disappointment with this news, particularly for graduating seniors who were looking forward to their final days on campus as students, taking part in many academic activities, clubs, performing & fine arts events, and athletic competitions. We are sure that La Salle Academy will navigate this crisis as well as humanly possible, and we will do it as a strong community. Fortunately, what we have been struck by most forcefully to that end over the past few weeks has not been related to the progress of the virus, but the courage, creativity, energy, and compassion with which our staff, faculty, students, and parents, have all responded. The adaptation(s) have been truly inspiring to witness.
A hallmark of every Lasallian community is the way in which we rally together during times of crisis, with a booming spirit of generosity and solidarity. We know that there are still many questions that require answers, particularly for our parents and student body. Before addressing those, however, allow us to offer three thoughts to consider how we might best proceed as a collective over the next two months:
Solidarity. As a community, we need to care for each other; as educators, we must ensure that our students are healthy and safe, and that they finish their coursework this semester with the best possible instruction; as an employer, we must attend to the personal and economic well-being of our faculty and staff members, along with their families. By working together, we can find solutions to any problems that may arise.
Flexibility. In working to resolve the many issues that need to be addressed, we will do our best to thrive in a virtual environment that enables us to continue to educate students at a high level of competence and rigor. We encourage everyone - faculty, staff, and students alike - to be creative and flexible in working with the distance learning technologies available to us. There may be new calls upon our creativity to that end, and we must collaborate and remain flexible enough to meet any potential barriers to our collective success head-on.
Opportunity. This crisis, like many others, will eventually come to an end. We need to think about what comes next. Let's remain vigilant for opportunities to learn new skills and put them to use. Instead of focusing on what might be missing and/or lacking, let's turn our attention to the work of innovation.
La Salle Academy has a long tradition of hosting memorable Senior Class events, and we will certainly do so again when it is safe. Every so often, a society undergoes a time of shift... a crisis, war, or disaster of such epic proportions that life is disrupted, and traditions are put on-hold. This is such a time. We are truly sorry for these disruptions and understand the potential for disappointment in having to readjust visions you may have had for May/June of 2020. We have every intention of celebrating you, La Salle Academy's Class of 2020, and hope that we can count on your understanding, support, and positive spirit in the weeks ahead.
Sincerely, Donald J. Kavanagh, AFSC Br. Dennis Malloy, FSC