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March 18, 2020 11:00a.m. – Message from President J.D. Childs

Dear O’Dowd Community of Parents, Students, Alumni, and Friends,

Peace be with you all. During the last weeks, amid the roller coaster of emotion created by the COVID-19 pandemic, families and communities around the country and across the world have committed to new sacrifices and “social distancing.” Amid the anxiety we all rightly feel, we are also witnessing the power of community and generosity to bring out the best in us–Italians leaning out their windows to sing together, philanthropists combining their resources through gifts to combat the virus, nurses and doctors working heroically in very challenging environments. In the Oakland community, Steph and Ayesha Curry committed to providing more than one million meals for children after the closure of Oakland’s public schools. These large and small acts on behalf of the common good, around the world and in our region, sustain us all.

At O’Dowd, our own heroic community of educators are creating consistency, care, and challenge for students. Remote learning was launched this week, including daily morning prayer shared via email with students by the Campus Ministry Team. Students have remote access to other O’Dowd educators and counselors who provide other vital supports that are part of their lives at O’Dowd: academic support, library support, as well as college and personal counseling. With our students’ and families’ well-being in mind, we are keeping our COVID-19 webpage up to date with information, news and resources as well. This ethic of care extends to O’Dowd employees as well, who will continue to receive their pay and benefits as we go through this challenging time together. We know that our community is our greatest source of strength, defining and sustaining us all.

While learning continues, this virus has cut short valued time together and canceled many activities through which our students, teachers, staff, families, and alumni find joy, kinship, and community beyond the classroom–athletics, debate, clubs, music, drama, cherished alumni traditions, and more. We are incredibly confident that our students’ and families’ resilience, creativity, and focus bodes well for the weeks ahead. As we find new ways to hold our community together, we look to the values and faith we share to uplift our spirits.

As a Catholic school, our faith provides solace that is much-needed during the sudden cessation of normal life and activities. As we often share with students in morning prayers, our charism of “Finding God in All Things” calls us to reflect on how our values show up in our lives and shape our experience of the world around us. In this time of Lenten sacrifice leading to the joyful experience of redemption on Easter, may these values, and the questions that accompany them below, spark reflection and creative action toward a more just, joyful, sustainable future for us all.

As events unfold in the coming weeks, we will continue to do all we can to ensure our students’ academic success, health, and well-being. Thank you to everyone who has reached out with prayers, philanthropic support, and the many other forms of kindness. We know we will emerge from this crisis as a community.

May you and your loved ones be well, J.D. Childs President


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