March 27, 2020

Dear JPII Catholic Schools Community:

“I am in awe at how our Catholic schools have responded.” So said Bishop John Folda earlier this week regarding all our efforts to continue learning for our students and to prevent the spread of Coronavirus.

Gratitude. Support. Compassion. Understanding. Prayers. Solidarity. These are the themes that have emerged as we now end our second week of school closure. Yes, school is closed but learning continues.

We want to thank you one and all for your part in making the best of this new situation.

Here are additional updates for you this time:

  • Our buildings will remain closed until the Governor’s school closure order is rescinded.
  • Our plan for distance learning was submitted to the Department of Public Instruction yesterday, meeting the Governor’s March 27 deadline.
  • Distance learning continues to be modified and enhanced based on feedback and experience. Thanks again for your patience and flexibility in that process.
  • We are still finalizing the survey regarding your experience of distance learning and any additional improvements we could make. We plan to send it early next week.
  • Our weekly school schedules will now be based on four days of lessons and assignments. The fifth day is for make-up, student support, enrichment, and planning.
  • Governor Burgum in explaining his order expected academic progress to occur at all levels through distance learning and encouraged schools to embrace it early rather than running a school calendar through June 30. Thanks to our highly-qualified, licensed, professional teachers who are leading the way on distance learning.
  • We are so very grateful for the technology we had in place prior to COVID-19. We have especially made a smooth transition to distance learning at the secondary level, given that this is year two of the 1:1 iPad initiative. Deepest thanks to all of you who so generously supported that initiative with the 2018 auction special project. We are counting our blessings!
  • We are now providing meals for 160 who otherwise might not get the nutrition they need in this time of school closure. If your family is in need, please contact our school nurse, Dawn Storandt, who is coordinating the food distribution: or (701-205-7082). Special thanks to our cook, Patty Desharnais, and her staff for preparing and distributing food.
  • Each of our schools is now planning a weekly live-streamed school Mass. Your school will have more information on the day and time.
  • Though we do not know when schools will reopen in North Dakota, there will be no lessons or assignments on April 9 (Holy Thursday), April 10 (Good Friday), or April 13 (Easter Monday). Enjoy your Easter break as a family.
  • Phone calls continue to be answered from 8:00 am to 3:00 pm Monday-Friday at 701-893-3200 (please leave a message after hours).
  • We know how difficult it is to be uncertain about all our favorite spring school events, activities, and traditions as we do what needs to be done for the safety and well-being of all members of our JPII Catholic school family. We have already seen some unique and creative ways to celebrate and bond in spite of those challenges. Thank you. We are in this together. #Deaconstrong

For the latest updates, follow us on Facebook and Instagram: JP2schools


March 20, 2020

Dear JPII Catholic Schools Community:

Thank you for your understanding and patience during the test run in delivering distance learning. We realize that this shift in learning will take a great deal of flexibility and adaptability for everyone. The first days are complete and now it is time for adjustment and clarification. The teachers and principals are working to refine the distance learning process.

As we continue into next week, it is important that we exercise the virtues of patience, industriousness, and moderation. And again, remember the Catholic principle of solidarity, “we are in this together.”

Here are a few items as we move into next week:

  • JPII Catholic Schools buildings are now closed. All meetings, events, and activities have been canceled indefinitely.
  • Phone calls will be answered from 8:00 am – 3:00 pm Monday-Friday at 701-893-3200 (please leave a message after hours).
  • If you were unable to pick up school items necessary for distance learning, please email your building principal.
  • If you don’t have internet access or a working device, please contact your building principal.
  • If you are in need of meals for your family, email Dawn Storandt at We have scheduled pick up times.
  • We will continue to make adjustments in the delivery of distance learning to our students.
  • We plan to send a survey out to parents next week for feedback on the distance learning experience.

The response of the JPII Catholic Schools community to the “new normal” of battling COVID-19 has been truly inspirational. We want to make continued progress in learning while preventing the spread of this disease.

We conclude with today’s entrance antiphon for Mass: “Among the gods there is none like you, O Lord, for you are great and do marvelous deeds; you alone are God.” (Psalm 86)

March 19, 2020

Extended School Closure: JPII Catholic Schools will continue the plan for distance learning through March 27. All buildings will be closed. Contact your building principal by email if you have any questions.

March 18, 2020

Dear JPII Catholic Schools Community:

Thank you for the positive outcome today. We had a tremendous response from students, parents, and staff in the distribution and collection of education materials and necessary items from our schools.

The trial for distance learning will be Thursday-Friday (March 19 and 20). This is an important time for all students to be attentive to messages from teachers and to be completing the lesson plans prepared. We will be monitoring the distance learning process and making necessary changes as needed.  Please reach out to your child’s (children’s) teacher if questions arise about student learning. We are doing this exercise to ensure that all students can participate in distance learning in the event the school closure is extended.

We are blessed to have amazing teachers who have worked to put together the best lessons to continue the education for our students. We are blessed to have amazing kitchen staff who have prepared meals for 90 students from 18 families who need assistance. We are blessed to have amazing custodians who keep JPII Catholic Schools sanitized, cleaned, and orderly. We are blessed to have other staff who support smooth daily operations. We are blessed to have amazing parents who are supportive and willing to work with their children during this time. As Father Slattery, SHS/SMS Chaplain, said: “the Catholic principle of solidarity can be summed up by this phrase, ‘we are all in this together.’” Thank you!

We want to make sure we are meeting the needs of our JPII Community. If you don’t have access to the internet or need meal assistance, please let us know. The phone in our main office will be answered from 8:00 am to 3:00 pm daily. Please leave a message after hours or if the line is busy. If you were not able to pick up your student’s educational items today, please contact your building principal.

The CDC continues to be the best place to find guidance and resources for dealing with the Coronavirus Click on the link for managing stress/anxiety for families and the link for those who have traveled. Please practice the CDC guidelines of social-distancing, isolation, and quarantine as ways to show care for those in our community (especially the most vulnerable).

Please continue to monitor the updates from the building principals and those sent from the JPII President’s office. This information will be posted on our website . Take this time to pray with your family, call loved ones, and most of all stay healthy.


March 16, 2020

Dear JPII Catholic Schools Community:

Thank you for your response to the unique situation we are facing. We will continue to face it together with the goals of preventing the spread of COVID-19 and striving to make progress with essential student learning in a setting other than the school building.

Governor Burgum’s decision and message last night confirmed the importance of our prior decision to close through March 20. We will continue to monitor and assess the situation and make plans for a longer period of school closure if needed or directed.

We plan to give regular updates through email, social media, and our website. Please be attentive to that information.

Teachers and principals have started plans for engaging our students in learning via different formats. They will continue in that task Tuesday and Wednesday. We plan to have some initial test runs of those systems Thursday-Friday, so please follow that closely in order for your student(s) to keep current.

We have scheduled times for students and parents/guardians to pick up materials from each of our schools. The schedule is the following:

  • Holy Spirit School     Wednesday, March 18    All families -10:00 am – 2:00 pm
  • Nativity School     Wednesday, March 18   Last name A-K  7:30 am – 10:00 am.     Last name L-Z  10:30 am – 12:30 pm
  • Trinity School      Wednesday, March 18     Last name A-K 8:00 am – 11:00 am.      Last name L-Z 1:00 pm – 3:30 pm
  • Shanley/Sullivan     Wednesday, March 18     Last name A-K  8:00 am – 11:00 am.     Last name L-Z 12:00 pm – 3:00 pm

*Scrip cards will be available at each location during these times.

The new office hours for JPII Catholic School main office will be 8:00 am – 3:00 pm for calls and limited business transactions. If you have any questions, please feel free to call 701-893-3200 during those hours and someone will be able to assist you.

The changes in routine can be stressful for families and we want to be there to assist families who are in need. If you do not have access to internet in your home or need assistance with meals, please call the JPII Catholic Schools office 701-893-3200. Also, our school counselors, Shanley/Sullivan Chaplain, or parish pastors are available for support and guidance.

We have cancelled JPII Catholic Schools meetings, events, gatherings, practices, etc. for the foreseeable future per guidelines from CDC and NDHSAA. We are working to keep our buildings sanitized and clean; we are also practicing within our community the social distancing so necessary to win this battle against COVID-19.

We encourage that same battle spirit at home: limit exposure through social distancing; avoid crowds; consider deep cleaning; sanitize frequently used surfaces; help your children realize the importance of these steps. Use the time as an opportunity to work on family projects, recreation, hobbies, learning, prayer, etc.

Please consult public health links such as the CDC ( or the North Dakota Department of Health ( for the most current advice and information to stay healthy and prevent the spread of disease. In particular, if you have travelled in the past 14 days, please review the CDC information for the best guidance. Governor Burgum in recent press conferences has especially encouraged the “Travelled in the Past 14 Days?” survey to help you monitor your health.

Let us continue to pray and work together in this effort to stymie the advance of COVID-19 and keep our JPII Catholic Schools community healthy and whole.

March 15, 2020

Dear JPII Catholic School Community:

Thank you for your cooperation as we navigate through this constantly changing response to COVID-19 and the impact to our community. The health, safety, and well-being of our students, families, and staff is our top priority.

JPII Catholic Schools has a unique situation due to our scheduled five-day spring break through tomorrow, March 16.  Many students, families, and staff are returning from various destinations—regional, national, and international—including travel through airports and customs. Given that reality, we have consulted with public health experts, church officials, and other community partners and have decided that students will not report to school for classes (Little Deacons through 12th Grade) through Friday, March 20th. During this time administrators, teachers, and support staff will be working on plans for alternative education, identifying families in need of extra services, and planning for school closure for an extended time if necessary.

We realize that this could cause undue stress to your family; however, we are exercising the virtue of prudence, and planning and preparation are key to stopping community spread of COVID-19. The CDC recommends the following if you have traveled to any destination during the past 14 days:

  • Monitor your health and practice social distancing. Social distancing means staying out of crowded places, avoiding group gatherings, and maintaining distance from people (6 feet).
  • If you get sick with fever (100.4 degrees F or higher), cough, or have trouble breathing:
    • Seek medical advice. Call ahead before to a doctor’s office, walk-in clinic, or emergency room.
    • Tell your doctor about your recent travel and symptoms.
    • Avoid contact with others.
  • Do not travel while sick.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available use hand sanitizer with an alcohol content of at least 60%.

This is a rapidly evolving situation and we are trying to get the best information available.

We are taking a proactive approach that will ensure the safety of our school community. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact your school principal or the President’s office. We will continue to monitor, reassess, and then update you throughout the week.

Again, students (Little Deacons-12th Grade) will not be reporting to school sites this week. Also, the NDHSAA suspension of all school activities, practices, and meetings will continue until further notice from the association.

Please continue to pray for the medical personnel in our community as well as for those around the world battling this pandemic.  Finally, remember to check out the CDC website for further information regarding how to protect yourself and family.

March 9, 2020

Dear JPII Catholic Schools Parents/Guardians:

Cases of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) have begun to hit K-12 schools across the nation, and it is likely more will appear in the coming weeks as evidence mounts of the disease’s spread beyond people who have recently traveled abroad. There is still a lot that is unknown about the disease. Children have largely not been severely affected thus far, but scientists have yet to determine to what extent they contribute to the spreading to more vulnerable populations.

JPII Catholic Schools is working with the state and local health departments to be ready if  COVID-19 becomes a reality in our community. The following steps have been identified as best practices for school preparation.

  1. Collaborate with the state and local health department.

The local health department will be conducting COVID-19 briefings as needed for K-12 and Childcare Providers. Updates regarding COVID-19 cases in North Dakota and Minnesota will be provided by state and local health departments. JPII Catholic Schools will be working with the state and local health departments to make decisions regarding school dismissal or canceling events.

  1. JPII Plan for COVID-19 Prior to detection in our community.
  • Review, update, and implement emergency operations plan.
  • Review information-sharing with partners (local health officials, other schools).
  • Encourage staff and students to practice every day preventative actions.
  • Monitor and plan for absenteeism.
  • Establish procedures for student and staff who are sick at school or school-related events.
  • Perform routine environmental cleaning.
  • Review communication plans for the school community.
  • Share resources with students, staff, and families.
  • Promote messages that encourage staff and students who are sick to stay home.
  • Update and distribute timely and accurate prevention information.
  • Provide additional hand hygiene supplies and tissues.
  • Maintain masks onsite in case someone becomes ill.
  • Identify a space that can be used to isolate staff or student who become ill.
  1. JPII Plan for COVID-19 Once detected in the community (low to high severity)

Once COVID-19 is detected in our community, the health department and local officials will address any change in normal operations.  There will be one point person that will stay in contact with the state and local health officials. Communication protocols will be crucial and will be handled through the main system office.

  1. JPII Plan for after the COVID-19 event in the community.

Once the concern for COVID-19 has subsided, JPII Catholic Schools will work with local officials to help scale back efforts specific to COVID-19.

Resources for parents and families: