Statement Regarding Gov. Walz’s School Closure Announcement

From Bishop Andrew H. Cozzens, Vicar for Catholic Education:

Governor Tim Walz announced today that Minnesota public and charter school buildings will remain closed through the end of the school year. This new executive order brings with it new challenges for the entire community, especially for our Catholic schools. Following the recommendation of Public Health officials, we are recommending that Catholic school buildings remain closed for students and that Catholic schools continue with their distance learning plans.

Catholic schools have the privilege of partnering with parents to educate and safeguard the whole child—soul, mind, and body. The COVID-19 crisis has brought into focus for Catholic schools the foundational relationship between health and safety in the pursuit of academic excellence. Teachers and school leaders spend their lives and every effort ensuring that students and families are safe from all threats. As educators, we all know that the academic learning environment works best when students are safe and well cared-for.

COVID-19 remains a threat that has substantially impacted K-12 education. As we learn more about this threat every day, the Archdiocese continues to carefully assess and provide guidance to our Catholic schools. Along with our commitment to the mission of Catholic education, the guidance of Public Health officials has been essential to inform how our Catholic schools might best serve our students during these uncertain times. Admittedly, for all of us, the learning curve is high. The challenges are many, and time has not always been on our side, but your trust in the help of God and the remarkable leadership you show in Catholic schools shines through all these obstacles.

The current educational landscape reminds us that there are no easy decisions, and there is no perfect approach. Nevertheless, what we hear most frequently is that we are all in this together. Leaders want to act in solidarity. They want to act as a united Archdiocesan system of Catholic schools. Cognizant of the unique leadership role and responsibility of the Archdiocese, we will continue to offer guidance and recommendations to our Catholic schools as we work together for the good of all our Catholic school students and families.

Please continue to pray for all those who are sick, those who have died and those who care for them.