A transcript from the video above is located below:

Hello, Providence Academy. 

Some weeks ago, I shared with you our commitment to being open for in-school classes the week of August 31.  We are so pleased that yesterday Bishop Cozzens, the Vicar for Education in the Archdiocese, made the following announcement:  “Consistent with our love and care for families, we are committed to working with pastors, principals and administrators to re-open Catholic school buildings in late August or early September, consistent with each school’s published calendar.”  With this exciting partnership, our bold plan will move forward apace.

You have noticed that I’m not behind my desk, but in a wonderful Lower School classroom.  I am here to share with you today what I promised last week.  Witness a new technology that will be instrumental to our plan to be open in the fall, welcoming students to classrooms daily.  I call it “SimulClassroom.”  Here’s how it will work.  If and when your children are sick, or if there are temporary COVID-19 vulnerabilities in a household, we want to give students the ability to attend live classroom sessions remotely.  Our plan is to outfit each classroom Pre-K through 12 with video and audio technologies to make this possible. You are seeing a beta version operating right now.

Much careful planning will be going into implementing this advance, and other adaptations we may need to make to deliver on our commitment.  We have the summer for this.  I will ask for patience as details of preparations develop–and we will tell you whatever we can, whenever we can.  It is all tremendously exciting.  We need your children back here with the teachers who love them, and with all the resources dedicated to serving them.

We will of course attend to all necessary health considerations.  Safety is a top priority.  But as I’ve said, wherever possible, we must dedicate ourselves to multiple top priorities.  We cannot sacrifice the developmental needs of our children, as though these are somehow secondary concerns. 

Let me offer a thought, in closing, about the current situation in the Twin Cities.  Our children know of the great unrest.  In age appropriate ways, we need to engage them.  We need to pray for justice and peace.  Our morning Mass today was dedicated to that prayer.  In my announcements to Lower School children, I encouraged special prayers.  And in addressing older students, I reflected further that criminality does not, in this land, justify criminality.  The death of George Floyd Monday at the hands of police was shocking and horrible.  The subsequent and widespread criminal destruction is horrible.  And it undermines proper responses to the original horror.  I remain inspired by these words of Martin Luther King Jr:  “Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that. The beauty of nonviolence is that in its own way and in its own time it seeks to break the chain reaction of evil”   At Providence Academy, you can be sure that your children are taught and re-taught an understanding.   We confirm it every day when we pledge ourselves to be one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. 

And may God bless you.  We’ll see you next week.

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