THE VIRTUAL SPRING
AT JESUIT Jesuit High School responds
14 JESUIT PERSPECTIVES • SPRING 2020
to the coronavirus pandemic
with an abundance of faith and
service, while staying on track
academically via an adept pivot
to virtual learning
statue in the Student Commons on Friday, March 6.
Spring Break the juniors at Jesuit High School storm into the commons,
remove their ties and place them atop the statue, smothering it in a gesture
as a “senior privilege,” the Class of 2021 would only need ties for Mass days
and special occasions.
The ritual of burying Saint Ignatius beneath a couple hundred ties would
“normal” act on Jesuit High School’s campus of the 2019-20 school year.
For a few days at the beginning of Spring Break, things were seemingly still
normal. On Saturday, March 7, four Jesuit wrestlers won individual State
titles (p. 19), tying a school record. While classmates scattered for break,
But the spread and fear of coronavirus – COVID-19 – initiated sweeping
nationwide restrictions on activity that week. Suddenly, by Thursday,
March 12, some events were being cancelled on the spot (see p. 8 about
Just one week later, everything had changed in an unprecedented way.
On the morning of Friday, March 13, school president Fr. Richard C.
Hermes, S.J. and principal Barry Neuburger called together school leadership,
and they formulated a dramatic plan which was emailed to all Jesuit
families that afternoon: School would resume on Wednesday, March 18 in a
100% virtual capacity.
“We are well prepared to implement virtual learning for an extended
period. For several years, Jesuit has utilized the Canvas learning management
system and a 1:1 iPad program, as well as the Arrupe (Jesuit) Virtual
Learning Institute (AVLI). These resources, as well as the skills and experience
of our faculty, will allow us to continue providing high level instruction
that may arise.”
The campus was disinfected, and the faculty returned on Monday, March
16 to review plans with assistant principal for academics Debbie Pacheco
and prepare for going all-virtual. Teachers and staff then worked almost
exclusively from home.
The campus was virtually empty two days later, but virtual school was
very much in session on March 18 as some 800 students hunkered down
such as the Zoom video conferencing app suddenly became an essential
The campus was quiet on March 16, what would have been
the first day back from Spring Break