School president further explains decision to close

Bridges prioritizes health, safety of students and staff


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While he was working from home on March 18, President Dr. Robert Bridges gave a thumbs up to the Cathedral family.

Ava Amos, Co-Editor-In-Chief

There still may be some questions regarding the school’s closing and how and why the decision was made, so President Dr. Rob Bridges provided insight as to how and why this decision came to be, how we can stay positive through it all and how to make the best out of an unfortunate situation.

Bridges said, “Beginning the week of March 2, we began ramping up our discussions about this. It was becoming clear that the situation was growing rapidly worse in China, as well as South Korea and Europe. Principal Mrs. (Julie) Barthel and I wanted to make sure that we would ‘Cathedral-ize’ the (eLearning days) to keep our students sound in their hearts as well as their minds,” he said.

Bridges added he had hoped the school could remain open and the Cathedral family could stay together. However, he said, “The night before (we made the decision to close), the data began to become overwhelming in support of closing immediately.”

He said, “Early on Thursday, March 12, we made the heartbreaking but necessary decision to close. We know a vast majority of students would be sad or even angry about this, especially the seniors, but we knew what we had to do.”

The Centers for Disease Control is now recommending schools close for eight weeks rather than four, which would put any return date well into May, but Bridges said he doesn’t know if the current return date of April 14 will change or not. He said that school officials are hopeful that students and staff can come back on April 14, which is the Tuesday after Easter Monday, but he also said he knows the date could change and most likely not to an earlier one.

Bridges said, “Sure it is heartbreaking, especially for seniors in college and high school, as well as small business owners and of course those affected directly by this disease. There are also spring break plans and spring athletic teams and the mission trip, speech and debate, We the People and many other groups with big plans for this spring.

“I urge us all to look at the bigger picture. We are talking about our health, the health of you and me and our families and the worldwide community. I am confident that we will get through this, and be better for it. I am also sure that we will have a renewed sense of gratitude for all of the things that we have taken for granted.”

Bridges added that teachers are putting in many extra hours to ensure students maintain their connection to Cathedral. He urges students to take advantage of all the videos administration is posting and ways they are trying to stay in touch. He added that students need to be grateful for our teachers as well.

He said, “Finally, I read last night that you can cut your chances of contracting the virus by 50% if you wash your hands regularly and well. Then you will contribute to our society’s efforts to slow this virus down. And don’t forget to get fresh air, exercise and pray. Two of our most well-known saints have Feast Days (during the week of March 16): St. Patrick and St. Joseph.

“Ask them to pray for us and inspire us, to overcome the odds as they did during tough times.”