2020-21 School Year Updates


June 30, 2020

Today, Governor Tim Walz announced Minnesota’s Safe Learning Plan, guidance for schools in our state which essentially gives local control to schools to implement the best plan for their community while establishing data-driven measures to prevent an outbreak.

Cretin-Derham Hall plans to implement the hybrid model to begin the school year allowing us to provide in-person learning. Details of the CDH’s hybrid model will be shared with our families on Wednesday, August 5, via email. This plan will also outline important health and safety measures and procedures. We are working at this time to understand the Safe Learning Plan and the current virus data to best inform our plan.

We strongly believe that the hybrid approach balances the health and safety of our community members, including students, faculty and staff, and their families while providing the critical environmental modifications needed to provide in-person learning. 

We are ready for this. This decision is the result of months of planning. More than 30 teachers were involved in the creation of this plan. In addition, more than 750 parents responded to our recent survey about possible scenarios. The input from our parents was strongly in favor of in-person learning, with 85% of parents indicating that they would return students to school under a hybrid model. This model allows for in-person learning with proper precautions in place to address the critical community health considerations resulting from COVID-19.

With the safety and health of our students, teachers, and their families as our top concern, it is clear that the hybrid model offers the most effective scenario for better social distancing which is the best defense against the spread of the virus. For now, as the largest Catholic high school in the state, we simply cannot put the entire student body and faculty into our buildings at one time.

In broad terms, a hybrid model will reduce the number of people on campus at any one time by splitting the student body (roughly in half) by their last name. Our first priority is to connect students and teachers right away to establish a foundation for year-long learning.  

In order to do this, we will begin the school year with the first stage of our hybrid learning model. During this initial stage, students will come to campus every other day where they will attend each class. This will enable teachers to build the relationships and the learning environment necessary for success. Under this model, students will be provided with independent learning on their at-home learning day with opportunities to check in with their teachers.  

The second stage will implement more synchronous learning (in which students are engaged in learning along with the teacher and class rather than independently). This will require technology CDH has purchased but is currently on backorder. It is scheduled to arrive in mid-September before the implementation of our second stage.  

There are obviously many more details to come, so please be patient while we compare our protocols and procedures with the guidelines just released by Governor Walz and the state’s health officials. We will share a more detailed plan next Wednesday. Of course, CDH remains prepared to adjust our model to reflect the health needs of our students, faculty, and staff. We recognize there may be a need to switch to Online School at some point - and we are hopeful that a return to a more normal scenario with all students and faculty/staff on campus will be possible sometime in the near future.

We have said it before many times, but we must again take this opportunity to acknowledge the tremendous dedication of our teachers. They have been tenacious in planning a structure that will enable Cretin-Derham Hall to fulfill our mission of educating our young men and women with continued academic excellence within a uniquely supportive and caring community. We are so very blessed to have these teachers leading our effort. We are also very grateful for the patience, support, and engagement of our families as we create the best scenario for our students to navigate learning during these very unusual and historic times. Thank you!

Together, let us look forward to a wonderful, albeit unique, start to the 2020-2021 school year.

One final note, we are also celebrating the Class of 2020 this weekend with Commencement at the Cathedral, so please keep our graduates in your prayers as they celebrate their four years at CDH, capped off by quite a memorable senior year. We congratulate the seniors and their families as they venture beyond Cretin-Derham Hall. Great things are in store for these impressive graduates!

Live Jesus in our hearts. Forever.

Frank Miley, President

Mona Passman, Principal