Headmaster’s Message Regarding COVID-19

March 13, 2020

St. John’s Northwestern in cooperation with the SJN Infirmary (ProHealth Care) continues to monitor updates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), local government agencies, and the Waukesha County Health Department regarding coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

As of this writing, there is no evidence of COVID-19 on campus. We believe that the relatively isolated nature of the campus allows for a considerable amount of control to insulate cadets from potential exposure to the virus. The Academy’s focus for the next three weeks prior to spring break is to minimize the risk of exposure for the welfare of our cadets, faculty, and staff. To that end, we are taking the following steps.

  1. Vetting every cadet event, on and off-campus, eliminating exposure to large groups. We have canceled a number of off-campus events and suspended any large groups from coming on campus.
  2. Reinforcing good hygiene habits with cadets and staff, reminding them of the importance of handwashing, the use of hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available, practicing good hygiene habits, covering one’s cough or sneeze into a tissue or one’s own elbow, and to avoid touching one’s eyes, nose, and mouth.
  3. Increasing the frequency of cleaning cadet rooms, classrooms, common areas, and the dining hall. In this last regard, our food service provider has increased their already high safety standards for the handling and serving of food.
  4. During Eucharistic services, communion will be administered in “one-kind” only (bread) and will not offer the “common cup” (wine) until further notice.
  5. Evaluating all travel, both domestic and abroad, to eliminate all non-essential travel outside of the immediate area. All business air travel for staff has been suspended until further notice.
  6. Working within our current crisis plan and adapting strategies to address potential health emergencies, including the screening of cadets, quarantine measures, and transporting cadets for proper medical care. We are working closely with our local and regional health professionals in this regard.
  7. Developing contingency plans for alternative modes of instruction in the case of the remote possibility that teaching and learning would need to continue online.

As always, our paramount concern is the well-being of our cadets, faculty, and staff. At this time, we are moving forward with classes and the Academy schedule as normal. We are not closing the school. We are considering a variety of contingency plans regarding the possible need to extend the spring break period or adjust the timing and nature of events beyond the spring break period. This is an unprecedented event and the situation is fluid. The Academy’s senior administration is following COVID-19 closely, assessing the progress of the situation on a daily basis, and adjusting our responses accordingly. We will continue to communicate updates as new information becomes available.

We are working diligently to maintain the SJN campus as a safe and secure environment. We believe that, for most of our cadets, the campus is the safest place to be right now. Therefore, we ask that you reconsider any plans to request off-campus travel for your residential cadet between now and spring break. This will help us limit potential exposure. We respect your right to make decisions for your family and want to partner with you in those decisions. Please reach out to your cadet’s RFO to communicate any travel requests.

We recommend that families follow the advice and guidelines presented by the CDC and the World Health Organization when considering and planning travel:

For more information on COVID-19, below are some other helpful resources:

Thank you so much for your continued support and partnership in these challenging times. We will all get through this together.

Eric Wozniak, Ph.D.