Dear Brother Martin Community,
Every day brings some new challenges but also some new hope. And while it may be tough to find the hope in these troubled times, our founder Father Andre Coindre has set an example of knowing and communicating the presence of courage and hope amidst struggles and tribulations. As we see many patients successfully recover from this illness, we are filled with hope that all the measures the state and city have asked us to take--staying at home, wearing masks, social distancing--have had their desired results. Soon we will see the relaxing of these measures and a return to enjoying life in community again.
Until and when that time arrives, Brother Martin is committed to following the national, state, and civic mandates regarding this virus and will continue to do so as the weeks and months go by. We are truly in a “changing world,” as our mission statement attests, and we are learning--quickly--how to adapt for the greater good. While our school leadership, faculty, and staff are eager to return “home” to Brother Martin, we want to make sure the safety of our students is secure. To this end, we will unroll our phased return to campus to coincide with the phased return of the state and the city of New Orleans, using the same terminology of Phases 1, 2, and 3.
When the city informs us that we can begin Phase 1, there will be a thoroughly and professionally disinfected campus as well as a plan in place to disinfect our campus on a regular basis. We will also have a returned presence to major school offices--Reception, Admissions, Finance, President/Principal, and Student Activities. Our teachers will be invited, not mandated, to come back to work to prepare for summer programs and for the next school year, and the above-mentioned offices will be staffed to respond to questions and continue the daily operation of our school. Hopefully, students will be able to return to drop off and pick up any necessary items to help them bring closure to the school year. Student meetings, work-outs, etc. will only be possible if civic guidelines allow.
Phase 2 will hopefully see the resumption of student programs, following guidelines set by the state and city in terms of population and social distancing. Our highest summer priority is Credit Recovery, during which students who have not successfully completed an academic credit during the school year will have a chance to do so in the summer so that they can return to Brother Martin in the fall on schedule with their curriculum sequences. Our second priority is Summer Enrichment, the program that invites newly accepted students to campus for academic preparation and activities, all to get them ready for a successful transition to our school in the fall. And finally, Summer Camp and Specialty Camp programs will be our third priority. Note that the advertised start and end dates of all of these programs, as well as their daily schedules, are subject to modification once we know the strictures placed on schools by the state and city. Also, the student population in these programs--how many students we can have on campus and in what kinds of spaces--will be determined by these same state and civic mandates. Please know that our administration is currently planning these dates and will communicate all of this information once our local civic leadership announces a clear timeline.
During Phase 3, we hope to resume all school schedules and events as published in our 2020-2021 school year calendar and return to regular extracurricular and athletic events. Of course, Brother Martin will adjust school dates, daily schedules, and event dates and configurations to meet all government guidelines.
During all three phases, we will expect regular student and adult protective face mask-wearing. Flexibility in terms of scheduling/hosting large group activities and identifying places on campus that will require social distancing will become the norm. Some of these changes may be temporary; some may be permanent.
The purpose of this letter is not to state definitively what will happen this summer and this fall but to prepare you for the many possibilities. What IS definite is our commitment to our students, our families, as well as our faculty and staff, for a safe campus, a loving school, and a place of student formation built on religious values, academic excellence, personal attention, and friendly discipline. In other words, we will continue to find constructive ways to “meet the needs of our changing world.”
Before closing, we want to give an incredible “shout out” to our seniors and their teachers and families. If we needed another example of resilience and confidence, we see it in them, the class of 2020. We certainly thank you for the work this last quarter and the sacrifices you have made for what was supposed to be a tremendous end to your school year on our campus, and we also thank you for the 4, 5, or 6 years of commitment to Brother Martin. You have made our school better because of your dedication, your involvement, and your spirit. Our hope is to celebrate with you at our Graduation, Friday, July 31st at the UNO Lakefront Arena, and the Leadership Celebration and Graduation Mass to be held earlier that same week. It will be a time of gratitude and joy!
As we come to the close of the school year, I also want to thank our parents for the role you have played in creating a safe and loving home for your son, for your work helping him navigate his remote learning responsibilities, and for your continued support of Brother Martin High School and our mission. Please know that our Guidance Office is available to you and your sons should you have difficulties stemming from this pandemic stay-at-home order or from the challenges of remote learning. And our Finance Office is always ready to help you should these times have impacted your family finances.
Father Coindre knew there would be many challenges when he started the Brothers of the Sacred Heart in the 1820s, but he never let the challenges--whether they were financial ones, personnel ones, or motivational ones--stop him from forging onward. He knew the “prize” was worth the struggle, and he--like the Brothers and their lay partners over the years--came armed with “courage and trust” that there would be a better day. Here’s to our better day in 2020!
Please know that we will continue to pray for you and your family and for our world to heal during this unprecedented time.
Ametur Cor Jesu...Ametur Cor Mariae!
Greg Rando '77