The Academy would like to remind everyone to check their spam/junk/promotions folders to avoid missing important updates. If our emails are found in any of those locations, you can mark them as important to have them show up in your inbox instead. All important updates will be posted to this page and we encourage you to check it frequently.
Please be aware that SJN broadcast voicemails come from the number 262-646-3311. That number should be added to your phone contacts list.
On March 24, 2020, the Governor of Wisconsin directed the Wisconsin Department of Health Services to issue a “safer at home order” beginning at 8 a.m. today through April 24 at 8 a.m., or until a superseding order is issued. Please find the full order here: WI Safer at Home Order.
Due to this directive, the Academy’s previously anticipated on-campus return date of April 14 is no longer possible. Therefore, currently the following timeline is in effect:
- The online learning period of March 19 through April 2 will remain in place as previously outlined.
- The spring break period of April 3 through April 13 will remain in place, as previously announced.
- Virtual Learning will resume on Tuesday, April 14 through April 24. If a superseding order is issued, this timeline may change. Please do not make any permanent travel arrangements to return to campus until further notice. Information concerning international students, at home and abroad, is forthcoming.
- Spring Families Weekend, scheduled for the weekend of April 24, is canceled. As Parent/Teacher conferences are an important piece of Families Weekend, the Academic Office will offer phone or video conferences with teachers. We will communicate more information soon.
- The Excalibur social event and auction, initially scheduled for April 25, is postponed. We will communicate a new date shortly.
- As of this writing, there are no changes to Commencement and Reunion exercises scheduled for the weekend of May 22. This date may be subject to change as events warrant.
Although this presents a significant degree of uncertainty, we must remain flexible in this rapidly evolving situation. We ask for your patience and support as we all navigate these challenges. We are making every effort to provide meaningful solutions for cadets, families, and our institution. Your cooperation and understanding are sincerely appreciated.
Most importantly, please remain safe and healthy during this time. We encourage everyone to follow the advice and guidelines provided by the CDC, WHO, and your local authorities. Please continue to visit www.sjnma.org/covid-19 for future updates. There will be an “after” to all of this, and we will get through this together.
Eric Wozniak, Headmaster
Tom Stocks, President
Stephanie Ihler, Academic Dean
Steve Schweiss, Commandant of Cadets
Dear Friends of St. John’s Northwestern,
We hope this message finds you healthy as COVID-19 impacts our country and our way of life.
We are in the middle of the most significant public health crisis most of us have experienced. It is a challenging time for all of us, including our beloved Academy.
In response to the Governor of Wisconsin’s direction to close all schools, our Academy staff and faculty took decisive action to return our cadets safely home. Working with the Parents Club, homestay options were secured for the international cadets where returning home was not feasible. The infirmary acted quickly to package medications for students in time for their departures. The Academic department took immediate steps to convert our in-person classrooms to virtual learning formats. These swift actions, and countless more, showed the resiliency of this Academy staff, and I am profoundly grateful for their efforts.
However, more decisive action is needed in order for St. John’s Northwestern to weather these challenging times, and thrive when we reopen. In light of today’s circumstances, my senior staff and I have carefully examined the Academy’s processes and how best to operate in today’s “new normal.” As a result, we made the difficult decision to lay off some employees in Resident Life, Campus Services, Professional Development, and Marketing. When we reopen, we plan to bring some of these employees back as needed.
Taking action now allows our institution to be agile and resilient, regardless of the circumstances we face now and in the future. Life in the face of COVID-19 is challenging. St. John’s Northwestern will prevail. Change is hard and difficult to accept sometimes, but it is also constant. We want to assure you that the Academy is willing and able to bring its cadets back on campus when it is safe to do so, and we look forward to that day. Until then, I thank you for your support and understanding. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to me, Headmaster Eric Wozniak, or any member of our senior administration team.
Together, we will persevere.
Tom Stocks, S69
On Thursday, March 19, St. John’s Northwestern will transition its classroom learning to a virtual format. We are proud of the individualized learning and support systems we have in place for our students. However, this unprecedented and highly fluid situation calls on us to temporarily alter many aspects of our daily lives, including education.
For now, our virtual learning focus is on the two weeks of March 19 – April 2, followed by spring break. The scheduled date to resume in-person classes is Tuesday, April 14. As a faculty, we have discussed the most effective and meaningful ways to deliver educational content while maintaining contact with our students for instruction, explanation, and additional support. Many teachers will use Google Classroom, and many will use video explanations, video chats, or online conferencing. We will hold working sessions on how to utilize these tools, as well as to provide a variety of different resources available to teachers and students.
Communication and shared expectations between teachers, students, and parents will be of the utmost importance during this time. Even though virtual learning begins on Thursday, it is also a teacher in-service day for the preparation of virtual materials and activities. You and your cadet(s) should expect to receive instruction from all of your teachers explaining how they will conduct their courses virtually, their expectations, tips for being successful, and how they will communicate with their students.
We ask for your support in reiterating to your sons and daughters that these next two weeks is not a vacation or extended free time. Begin with a sit-down discussion about the importance of continuing classwork. Create a designated workspace giving them adequate room for books, supplies, and a computer. Set the firm expectation that they are to be meaningfully engaged in learning during the hours of 8:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. CST. The class day will proceed as follows:
- Period 1: 8:00 – 8:40
- Period 2: 8:50 – 9:30
- Period 3: 9:40 – 10:20
- Period 4: 10:30- 11:10
- Period 5: 11:20 – 12:00
- BREAK 12:00 – 1:00
- Period 6: 1:00 – 1:40
- Period 7: 1:50 – 2:30
Students will need to check their email several times a day or at the beginning of the “period,” ask for help, clarification, or questions, and turn in all assignments on-time to avoid being penalized for late work. Teachers will update their grade books daily to keep track. Our TLC staff will reach out in a separate communication with helpful study tips and ways they can support cadets who need extra help during this time.
This is an unprecedented and highly fluid situation, where updates and changes seem to come by the hour. The best way to get through this is to stay positive, healthy, and engaged with a common goal: our cadets.
I will be available during these next two weeks by phone and email, as will all teachers, so please do not hesitate to reach out to us with any questions or concerns that you may have. Please take care and we look forward to seeing your children back on campus soon.
St. John’s Northwestern Leadership Academies
March 16, 2020
Dear Parents and Guardians,
We are writing today with more information on how course instruction will proceed in light of the decision made by the Governor of Wisconsin to close schools at the end of the day this Wednesday, March 18.
- On-site classes will continue as usual through the end of the academic day (3:00 PM) on Wednesday, March 18. Cadets should bring home all class materials and supplies (textbooks, computers, protractors, calculators, etc.) so they may complete assignments from home. Cadets should check out with their RFO’s as usual. If you need medications from the Infirmary during this time, please email them as soon as possible at email@example.com. Please remember that only a parent or adult 18 years of age or older can pick up medications. If you would like them mailed to your home, please include your mailing address in the email requesting medication.
- From Thursday, March 19 through Thursday, April 2, remote instruction of classes will begin. Teachers will communicate instructions on how to access the instruction plan for their particular courses. Teachers will make every effort to convert as many courses as possible to an online format. In cases where this is not possible, teachers will send specifics on how that course will proceed.
- The spring break period will remain intact between April 3 and April 13. This time can be used as a buffer if the state does not reopen schools as anticipated on April 6. It can also serve as a buffer for students who have gotten behind or have had difficulty with online learning over the preceding weeks. (No new work will be assigned during the spring break period, but students who need that time to catch up may submit work during the spring break period without penalty. All online work is due before the end of spring break, April 13.)
- At this time, the anticipated date for on-campus classes to resume is Tuesday, April 14. All boarding cadets should plan to return to campus by 7:00 PM on Monday, April 13. All day-cadets should expect to be on campus for classes on the morning of Tuesday, April 14. At this time, all online courses will cease. No distance learning will be supported after the Academy resumes on-campus classes.
- During the time of closure and over spring break, the situation will be under continuous assessment. Regular updates will be provided on the Academy website, though the parent portal, and via email. As new information becomes available and as the situation unfolds, the Academy will communicate any changes to the above plan with as much advance notice as possible, given the conditions at the time.
**A special message to our international cadets and families:
SJNMA acknowledges that the decision to have your cadet come home during this extended period is a difficult one. We are working with our home-stay volunteers to secure extended housing for cadets from March 18-April 13, so they may be able to return to class as planned on April 14.
While we respect your right to make the decision that you feel is best for your child, please consider the following:
- Cadets attempting to return to campus from a Level 3 Travel Health Notice country will not be allowed to do so until it is deemed safe by the World Health Organization (WHO).
- When we reopen campus for in-person class instruction, there is no guarantee that we will be able to accommodate online learning for cadets who are unable to return to school.
SJNMA understands this is a challenging time for all families, and we will continue to update you as this situation progresses. If you have any questions regarding your cadet’s academic classes, please contact the Academic office. If you have any questions regarding your cadet’s departure from campus, please contact your RFO.
As always, thank you for your support and your patience as we navigate through this difficult time.
Eric Wozniak – Headmaster
Tom Stocks – President
Stephanie Ihler – Academic Dean
Steve Schweiss – Commandant of Cadets
*Regarding international cadets and families – We will work with international to make specific arrangements to best support and accommodate each family’s situation. We will seek extended home-stay options as well as the ability for the Academy to continue to board international students during this period. More information will be communicated with these families in the coming hours and days. For now it is important to focus on using the time we have been given to work out the best solutions for each of our families and allow the people we have in place to coordinate these efforts, gather necessary information, and make appropriate arrangements.
Late Friday afternoon, Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers directed the Department of Health Services to order the closure of all public and private schools beginning at 5:00 PM Central Time on Wednesday, March 18, 2020. A copy of the official notice is here: School Closure Order
This is an unprecedented event for the Academy as an independent boarding school. According to the official press release, “The mandated closure will begin on Wednesday, March 18th, in order to give school districts ample time to make plans for kids, families, educators, and staff.” This is especially important for schools like SJN so we can efficiently plan for the closure and help get students safely home. Although we generally do not agree that this is the best course of action at this time for schools like SJN, we are compelled to follow the directive.
Due to this extreme declaration, the following steps are being enacted:
Classes will continue on campus through the end of the regular class day on Wednesday, March 18. This time will be vital for teachers to prepare and instruct students in how their classes will continue remotely. Teachers will develop contingency plans to deliver content online via Google Classroom and/or Academy email and explain this to students.
Families should make arrangements for their cadets to travel home beginning at the end of the school day Wednesday, March 18. We will provide further information on Monday regarding travel planning and academic arrangements.
Further information about how this event will affect the timing of our spring break period and the remainder of the school calendar will be provided as we make those decisions based on the conditions and progress of the situation.
Today, we are asking families to approach these events calmly and prudently. Although this is an extreme time for all of us, we must remain in control of the situation and not allow panic or hysteria to set in. Right now, everyone in our SJN community is safe and healthy and we need to work carefully to keep it that way. I ask for your cooperation and support as we work to comply with the governor’s mandate in ways that make sense for our cadets and our Academy—our family. As always, we will weather this storm together as long as we stay united in thought and action.
Thank you so much,
Eric Wozniak – Headmaster
Tom Stocks – President
Stephanie Ihler – Academic Dean
Steve Schweiss – Commandant of Cadets
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- During Eucharistic services, communion will be administered in “one-kind” only (bread) and will not offer the “common cup” (wine) until further notice.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.