School year comes to an end, plans for next year emerge

In this time of a new “normal”, Mater Dei made changes to the 2019-2020 school year to allow students and families to stay safe during the pandemic. Some recent emails that were sent by Ms. Claire have addressed events that will either be postponed, canceled, or made into a social distancing event. 

The spring Walk in Faith, which was originally scheduled to take place in early March, was ultimately cancelled. However, the seniors and possible juniors that were meant to join the event were given their t-shirts and were gifted other materials from Campus Ministry.

Other senior events such as prom and Grad Nite were also cancelled. The senior celebration, on the other hand, was announced as postponed until restrictions are lifted to a degree that would enable the class of 2020 to gather together safely. 

We wanted to give the seniors an opportunity to all be together and felt the Christmas Break would hopefully get us passed the pandemic and give them a chance to celebrate as a collective group,” Assistant Principal Academics & Technology Geri Campeau said.

Despite surrounding schools’ decisions to host virtual or drive-thru graduations, seniors this year will be granted the opportunity to walk the stage in a relatively standard ceremony. This year’s ceremony will be split into six smaller groups and will be held in the school parking lot on May 29 and 30. Students will be required to wear a mask to their graduation. Seniors chose their preferred date and time for graduation on May 5 via a link provided by the school. Please be sure to check your email for a more detailed explanation on how each ceremony will run as well as a checklist that should be reviewed prior to leaving your home for your ceremony.

“In-person graduation was really important to our administration. We wanted to have an event that celebrated the great class of 2020 and virtual just would not be enough,” Campeau said. “Ms. Costa brought this idea to us and then we went to work to make it happen. I am excited for the students to have a moment to hear their name and walk across the stage and receive their well-earned diploma.”

The school has recently sent out an email addressing how students will take their finals this semester. The email stated that they have created different options for seniors and the 9-11th graders. The senior class can either take the final exam on May 21st or the 22nd, or forgo it and choose to take the grade they earned on May 20th as their semester grade. If students choose not to take the final exam and take their grade as of May 20th, they must fill out/submit a form that is given to students by their teachers and to submit via canvas by May 19th and 20th. If a student doesn’t submit the form by the due date, they are required to take the final exam.

For the students in 9th-11th grade, they can either take the final exam on May 26th-29th, or students can choose to take the grade earned as their semester grade as of May 22nd using the same waiver offered to seniors. Even though finals are optional this semester, students in 9th-11th grade must take their math final since completing the final is a part of the placement for math in the following year. The math final is still required if students choose not to take a math class the following year. Students must submit a signed form to canvas to their teachers declining the final by May 19th-20th. Ones who don’t submit these forms are required to take their finals. 

“I am very happy and relieved with the administration’s decision to make finals optional. I think it relieves a lot of stress for all students, especially senior students now that they have to start getting their college decisions finalized and start preparing for their next steps,” senior ASB president Kody Rymer said.

Included in this graphic are dates to keep an eye out for as the 2019-2020 school year comes to a close and the 2020-2021 school year is being prepped. (Mia Hawkins)

To create better success for students, students are able to turn work in up till June 5th. Online learning will end on May 22nd, giving students plenty of time to make up late/missing work. After June 5th, the semester grade is final. June 1st, being the original last day of school, is now a Mater Dei Holiday. Mater Dei’s summer program is still offering several online courses for students to take credit recovery classes, credit advancement courses, or any of the workshops Mater Dei offers. The last day to register for summer classes is June 19th and the summer course runs from June 22nd-July 24th. To learn more about new details for summer school, check out

While the second semester of this school year resulted in a quick change in plans, there are still more adaptations to be made as administrators look toward the 2020-2021 school year. The plan is to allow students on campus in the fall with staggered start times, allowing only a limited number of students to be on school grounds at one time.

“A student’s start-time for school will be determined by when their extracurricular activities take place,” Nathan Underwood, Associate Director of Admissions Marketing, Special Events & Social Media, said. “Some details include that students will be on campus for classes four days a week.”

This will result in class sizes being reduced as well so students can remain an appropriate distance from one another in the classroom. Block schedule will continue in an effort to limit crowding on campus. Fridays will be known as “flex days”, where students will get face-to-face interaction with teachers in their elective classes. However, it’s also been stated that nothing is sent in stone and the plans for next year will remain flexible as the situation can change at any point. 

“I’m really just proud to work at MD, and this year has set that in stone. Right now this just seems like a bummer, but I hope our students appreciate they are living through a monumental event in history,” Underwood said. “As awful as this pandemic is, COVID-19 has forced us to set aside some extraneous parts of our lives and focus on the core of our society: family, community, love. I hope our future leaders don’t forget how powerful humanity can be when we all work together. I am looking forward to seeing all of our students come out from this difficult time even stronger.”