IN RESPONSE TO COVID-19
Messages from Headmaster Rebekah Hagstrom
April 24, 2020
Dear Liberty Classical Academy Families,
As the spring weather returns, and the birds are chirping and the grass is turning greener, I’m praying your families are all getting outside during this unusual time of lock down. It’s truly one of the healthiest things you can do for your family; both emotionally and physically.
As I’m sure you’ve heard, Thursday Governor Walz ordered the public schools to remain closed throughout the end of the school year. While we are not a public school, we have followed the governor’s directives throughout this pandemic due to the widespread concern over massive illness and potential for large scale deaths.
I’m grateful to see the newer models based on more recent data Dr. Fauci and Dr. Birx are now operating from have dramatically decreased the number of potential U.S. deaths to 60,000. This is something to be celebrated nationwide! While the Minnesota models have not reflected that change (they are still predicting 22,000 deaths in MN alone) I do believe we need to be respectful of our governor and continue our remote learning through the end of the school year. I’m incredibly proud of our teaching staff who make this decision easier given the excellence with which they’ve performed their instruction over the remote platforms.
Having said that, I know this is deeply discouraging to our seniors and many of our other families. We seek to provide as normal a finish to the senior year as possible and we are also seeking new ways to honor our seniors during this time of social distancing. I’m grateful that in discussing the senior thesis with St. Pius X, they are open to having the Senior Thesis Night at the school with some obvious accommodations and changes in the number allowed to attend. Let’s support our seniors by marking your calendars for Monday and Tuesday, May 18th and 19thand plan to Zoom into their LIVE presentations all together.
Many of you may be wondering about next year. I want to assure you that we are committed to opening the school as usual in the fall, and it will take a significant change in scientific data for us to move away from that decision. There are many measures we can implement in order to keep our students healthy and help prevent them from bringing a virus home to vulnerable family members. We will outline those precautions this summer as the situation progresses and improves.
Finally, we have been vigilant in praying for each of your families: your health, your emotional well-being, your faith and your finances. We know this situation has impacted some families in one or more of these ways. In order for you to continue the tremendous education your children are receiving, we welcome you, if finances have become a significant issue, to contact either myself or our finance director, Mrs. Marie Whitehead. We commit to doing what we can to provide a bridge of assistance to you during this time.
All of us at Liberty deeply miss seeing you and your children and look forward to reuniting with you as soon as possible.
Mrs. Rebekah Hagstrom
April 4, 2020
Hello Liberty Community,
A tremendous congratulations to everyone: staff, students and parents for a successful first week of Liberty Classical online! While not without a few hiccups, overall everything went extremely well. We’re thankful for your prayers and encouragement. Liberty is truly a very special community and we’re thankful for each one of you.
I want to address the security measures Liberty has taken with the Zoom live classrooms. There have been some concerns shared on the internet regarding their practices with respect to security and privacy. From the beginning, Liberty set up privacy and security measures for ALL our live classrooms.
The following safety features have been implemented by Liberty in order to ensure our classrooms are as safe as possible. Zoom is currently addressing privacy and security concerns by making a number of changes. They have also announced that they are enabling by default the use of passwords and waiting rooms for all Zoom users starting April 5th.
- Passwords on and required for all meetings
- Waiting Room on and required for all meetings
- Use of randomly generated URLs
- Join before Host turned off
- Private chat turned off
- Remote control turned off
- Screen sharing allowed only by teacher/host (host can give control but it must be approved by them prior to anyone sharing)
It’s been such a joy for our teachers and students to reconnect via the live classroom format. So many of you have sent, shared and posted pictures, videos and positive comments of which we treasure each one! God created us for relationships. First and foremost, with Him, but also with one another. The live classrooms mimic as much as possible, the necessary relationships we have come to appreciate so much.
Thank you for all your tremendous effort in working with your students to make this possible.
Mrs. Rebekah Hagstrom
April 1, 2020
Please watch video from Headmaster, Mrs. Rebekah Hagstrom:
March 31, 2020
Dear Liberty Families,
I pray you are well. Here are the important details you will need to prepare for TOMORROW’S practice run and the official launch for online classes on Wednesday.
- Today you will receive an email containing your child’s email address and login information.
- Watch this simple (and cute) instructional video by Chris and Lily Fahey:
- Parent/Student Training Video and follow the steps laid out to bring the invitations to your child’s classes onto their Google Calendar. Though this video includes a lower school student the instructions are the same for all grades.
- Contact TKlarr@LibertyClasscicalacademy.org or CFahey@Libertyclassicalacademy.org if you don’t see your student’s classes on the Google Calendar after following the instructions in #2 above.
- Practice using the Zoom and Google Classroom platforms with your student.
- Tuesday, March 31: Practice Day: Required for All Staff and Students:
- Click on the invitations to your student’s classes from their Google Calendar and you will be connected to your child’s teachers through the live classroom.
- The teachers will review some details with you and or your student. Lower and Middle School parents it is best if you or another adult can be present to help your student through this process.
- Please alert your teachers with any problems you may be having navigating the Google Classroom or Zoom.
6. Wednesday, April 1: Online Classes begin
- Click on the invitations to your student’s classes on April 1st and follow the schedule throughout the day. Follow the same procedure from this day forward
- As a reminder: Live Classroom time will be recorded and available for up to 48 hours following the scheduled class time.
- Schedules were linked in a previous email, but you may find them here again. Click on the link below to find your student’s grade schedule.
- Please alert your teacher if you have any trouble.
- Remember these friendly: Tips for Successful Learning at Home
Please watch the helpful training videos below for both the Zoom meetings for live classrooms and the Google Classroom for the assignments, communicating with the teachers, etc. If you have trouble with any of these platforms, please contact one of our support staff below.
Having trouble with your technology and/or the platforms?
Support Staff emails:
CFahey@Libertyclassicalacademy.org (Lower School Parent expert on Zoom)
Helpful Training Videos:
March 27, 2020
Dear Liberty Families,
As we near the end of our rapid transition into an online learning format, the staff and I want to thank you for demonstrating Liberty’s Body of Values through your positive attitudes and grace. The sign-up genius has worked very well to provide a safe opportunity for our families to pick up their items in preparation for next week. It has been wonderful to see all of you coming in with smiles on your faces; lots of virtual hugging going on these last several days at six feet apart!
Here is the updated timeline: Please read completely and carefully
Today through Sunday:
Teachers are setting up their Google classrooms. You won’t be receiving your login until Monday because teachers need the time to set up their classrooms.
Monday Morning, March 30
Parents will be sent an email with their student’s assigned Google login. This gives your student access to Google Calendar, Google Email, and Google Classroom. Invitations to Zoom “live classrooms” will be found within the Google Calendar. An instructional video for accessing the classroom through your child’s login will be sent on Monday, as well.
Parents and students will use the day to familiarize themselves with both Zoom and Google Classroom using the links provided with the email Monday.
We will also provide emails for people to contact with questions at that time.
Tuesday, March 31: Practice Day: Required for all Staff and Students
Lower School Students:
Join in your regularly scheduled classroom meetings to identify problems and troubleshoot with your teacher and our support staff.
Middle/Upper School Students:
Join in your M,W,F core classes (you will receive a special classroom invite for this that will appear in your Google Calendar) to identify problems and troubleshoot with your teacher and our support staff.
Wednesday, April 1: Online Learning Begins
Inform teachers of any remaining problems and contact support
*Please note: All “live classroom” time will be recorded and available for up to 48 hours afterwards.
We recognize this is a new format for BOTH our staff and our parents/students. We expect some difficulty in the early days of this transition. We hope this will be temporary and we’ll be able to return to our classrooms in May. Please reach out if you are experiencing trouble.
Our staff has demonstrated courageous leadership and undaunted perseverance through their herculean efforts to quickly learn the new educational delivery platforms. Furthermore, they’re working tirelessly to find the best way to apply it to a classical model of education in less than a week. Please be sure to thank your teachers for all they’re doing to continue your child’s education through these uncertain and challenging times.
We look forward to continuing our partnership with you in the education of your children!
Mrs. Rebekah Hagstrom
March 23, 2020
Dear Liberty Parents,
This letter will provide many details that are of critical importance. Please read the letter in its entirety. Also, please be checking your email at least once a day for up to date changes that may occur due to the evolving situation. We will use our Emergency TEXT system in the event we need to get a message to you asap.
First of all, we want you to know how much we care for all of our families and are lifting you and your children up in prayer on a daily basis. We especially pray for our families who are working on the front lines in healthcare and other essential services. Thankfully, we serve a mighty God and we pray His protection over all of you.
Secondly, we ask for grace as we rapidly transition into a new education delivery system which includes new technology. What would normally take at least a year to implement, we are having to implement in less than two weeks for an entire PreK-12 program. Additionally, it’s important to note that the beautiful elements of a classical education are very difficult to mimic in an online format. Therefore, while we seek to make this as excellent as possible for your child, we know the experience can’t possibly reproduce what they gain in the classroom setting.
Finally, in an effort to make learning at home more manageable, especially for many of our families who have multiple children in the program, we will be condensing courses down and relying on limited live classroom time. This is especially true in the lower school where some of the noncore subjects will be available to some degree but not required for grading purposes. Please see attached LIVE CLASSROOM schedules for the following grades (this does not include assignments and homework which will require additional time at the students’ convenience.
PreK: Live classrooms will meet from 9:00 a.m. to 9:45 a.m. on M,W,F or T, Th per your regularly scheduled days.
9-12: Upper School Schedule
Some important Details:
- The delivery system we will be using is Zoom Conferencing for the live classroom time and Google Classroom for sharing of documents, videos, assignments, etc. You will be receiving instructions on how to join and navigate the live classrooms along with instructions on how to use Google Classrooms at the end of this week. Many of the upper school students are already familiar with Google Docs so that will help immensely.
- While we hope to resume meeting in our classrooms before the year ends, we are not certain that will be possible. Therefore, we are asking parents to come to the school to retrieve the contents of your children’s desks and lockers. In the event we resume school on-site, you can bring the items back. Please sign up for a time rather than simply coming in to better limit the number of people in the building at one time. Upon entrance to the school, please follow the strict 6 feet apart social distancing guidelines and use the hand sanitizer provided in each classroom and the main office and hallways.
Middle/Upper School Pick-up: Wednesday, March 25 https://www.signupgenius.
Lower School Pick-up: Thursday and Friday March 26-27 https://www.signupgenius.com/
- Live Classrooms will begin Wednesday, April 1st. There will be introductory Zoom meetings for the parents/students on Tuesday, March 31. More details on time for these meetings to follow by email.
- Students will continue to receive grades for their work and grades will be entered into RenWeb, as usual. You will be able to view grades in the same manner as before. Grades, K-2: we will be adding access for parents to view grades since that will be the only option for viewing grades at this time.
- Lower School students WILL NOT be graded for non core classes such as physical education, art, music, etc. You will receive more details about this from your classroom teacher after online schooling begins.
- Middle and Upper school students will be graded for all classes, but assignments, tests, and other graded items will be reduced given the reduction in live class time. There will be more emphasis on grading discussion time and participation.
- All K-12 Students: Attendance for live classrooms remains in effect and will be taken by the classroom teachers, as usual. However, attendance policy will not be enforced for the remainder of this year due to the circumstances around the COVID-19 virus. We will work with families on a case by case basis if their child gets behind.
- Core teachers will be working their regular hours and are available for questions by email throughout the day from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- If your child works with one of our Learning Specialists, we will continue to provide support to the extent possible during the regular school hours of 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. via the Zoom platform. You will be receiving an email from either Mrs. Marsh or Mrs. Horn to set up plans for your child.
- Please have your student wear their uniform tops during the live classroom time to maintain a sense of community, comradery and excellence for learning.
- School calendar will remain the way it’s currently listed on the school website. It is no longer necessary to add extra days at the end of the year since we’re getting started before April 6.
- All events scheduled between now and the end of the school year will be evaluated for online potential. Communication for each will happen as the year progresses.
- As always, students are responsible to pay for any damaged curriculum including textbooks, literature books and equipment (if borrowed from the school). We will have a drop off time for books/materials at the end of the year (unless we are back on site by then).
Finally, we realize this is a steep learning curve for all of us: staff, parents and students! I trust that the Liberty Body of Values will remain strong and highly visible in our community as we navigate this uncharted territory together! This situation truly is an opportunity for us to shine in terms of our unity of purpose and sharing the love of Christ with one another and our neighbors.
Liberty’s vision and purpose will remain unchanged throughout all of this uncertainty: We are classically educating moral leaders who impact the culture for Christ! That purpose is solid in spite of the delivery method and we will continue to advance the goals and vision of Liberty Classical Academy throughout this time with vigor and enthusiasm!
May the peace of Christ be with you all.
Mrs. Rebekah Hagstrom
March 22, 2020
March 19, 2020
Dear Liberty Families,
As the situation continues to worsen since I wrote you on Monday, I want to provide a dose of faith and encouragement A parent sent me the words of Psalm 91 on Tuesday morning and it was so encouraging to me. The words are tremendously beautiful and bring peace to the soul. I want to share them with you here: Psalm 91
It is easy to let fear prevail over faith. But that is not what we’re called to do as Christians. We’re called to be wise and discerning but to walk in confidence knowing that Christ is on the boat with us. Remember when Jesus calmed the storm when the disciples were fearing for their lives? He said to them, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” He wants us to believe him when he tells us to cast all our cares on him because he loves us.
With everyone spending so much more time at home over the course of the next several weeks, I encourage you to use the time to draw yourselves and your children closer to God. Since becoming a Christian in college, I have spent 45 minutes to an hour and half almost every day reading my Bible and praying. That time has served as my lifeblood throughout many a trying and stressful situation. So often we say we don’t have time to spend time with God each day. Yet, now we do have time. If you aren’t already, I encourage you to reap the beautiful fruit of spending that time alone with God and helping your children do the same.
Here’s a few quick suggestions:
- Start with the Psalms and the book of Philippians
- Pray before you begin, praising and thanking God for who He is and what He has done for you. And, ask God to guide your thoughts as you read His Word
- Read the Bible and then pray again asking God for specific things He wants you to learn, remember or apply
- Take the time to write in a journal what you hear the Lord telling you and thank Him again for the lessons He’s teaching you
I pray for all of you every day, that the Lord will protect you from this virus and help you use this gift of time to grow closer to Him. Turn off the phone, television and Netflix long enough to build your faith to find the peace to face each day with strength and grace. I know many of you are already doing this and are reaching out to help others in need. We can be a blessing to our families and friends during these times of trouble.
Blessings in Christ,
Mrs. Rebekah Hagstrom
P.S. Our administrative team put together a list of things to do while you’re stuck at home. See the list below.
P.S.S. Watch for encouraging blogs posted periodically for Liberty by Mr. Brent Fisher our Spiritual Formation Coordinator!
Here’s some activities our administrative team is doing with their families:
- Listen to worship music together and keep it playing in the background
- The Ultimate Guide to Virtual Museum Resources: edu
- Conversations about life, goal setting, colleges, aspirations
- Logging drive hours
- Cooking together with kids
- Playing board games and CREATING board games
- Deciphering codes
- Creating a journal with imaginary languages and creatures
- Chores like cleaning out closets and basements and stacking wood
- Plan dream trips
- Art projects
- Virtual tours national parks: https://www.travelandleisure.com/trip-ideas/national-parks/virtual-national-parks-tours
Please share your ideas with us so we can share them with others
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
March 16, 2020
Yesterday, Governor Walz announced his decision to temporarily close MN public schools through March 27, 2020.
We appreciate your patience given this dynamic circumstance. Our leadership team has been in communication regarding next steps for our school, and we are working quickly to make decisions in a very fluid and fast-moving situation. Our top priority is to safeguard the health and wellness of our students, staff, and community. In addition, we are working to determine the best course of action to sustain the needs of a preK-12, classical program during this period of time.
Beginning March 23, 2020, Liberty Classical Academy will operate as follows:
- School will be closed through April 3, 2020. The additional week will allow for a two-week period following spring break travel, enabling families to self-quarantine and provide peace of mind should we resume school on April 6th, 2020.
- If we are not able to return to school on April 6, 2020, we will turn to the online plans we’re developing now. If this becomes a reality, we will provide a day for students to pick up their textbooks and materials, as well as provide training for parents/students.
- We will postpone the Fine Arts Concert currently scheduled for March 26, 2020 to a later (not yet determined) date.
- Updates regarding Spring sports will be communicated to families by Mr. St. Martin. MSHSL competitions have been suspended through April 6, 2020.
*All school Spring events will be evaluated according to the recommendations given and the best interest of our community.
Liberty Classical’s current plan to make-up the weeks missed is as follows:
- We will forgo standardized testing, which will account for one week missed.
- We will hold school on Friday, April 17, 2020 (the Friday after Spring Conferences) along with 4 additional days at the end of the year to make up the second week missed. This will extend our school year to Thursday, June 4, 2020.
- We will extend our pre-school program by 2 additional weeks, culminating on Friday, May 29, 2020.
We want you to know we understand the hardship this may cause many families. If childcare is a significant issue, please contact us and we will try to work with you to find solutions. Please note it is strongly recommended by the MDH and CDC that grandparents NOT be the solution as they are the population most susceptible to the serious effects of the coronavirus.
Finally, while COVID-19 may dramatically affect our lives, businesses, and schools, it emphasizes our need to be dependent upon God for all things. We can be comforted by the fact that God calls us to cast all our anxiety on him; for He cares for us (1 Peter 5:7). This is also an opportunity for us to be a blessing to others as we are a conduit of his love.
We will continue to monitor this situation closely, and we are committed to providing updates via email. We are praying for your family, and your health!
March 13, 2020
Given the concern over the Coronavirus which has swirled since the beginning of our spring break, I want to provide an update. Please reread the letter we sent in last week’s e-news here: https://libertyclassicalacademy.org/letter-from-nurse/ It provides sound advice for keeping families free of the virus and has links to the White Bear Lake School District information as well as links to the MDH and CDC websites (which I have also included at the end of this letter). You may also learn more about COVID-19 virus by clicking on the links at the end of this letter.
We continue to monitor the situation with both the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) along with the private school associations of which we are members. Our nurse is participating in the weekly calls for schools with the MDH in order to keep up to date on their recommendations.
The MDH states that they, not schools, are responsible for determining who should be quarantined after travel and make the recommendations regarding school closing. If we are to close, that determination will be made based upon their recommendation. It’s encouraging to note that the MDH website states:
“Remember that schools are not expected to screen students or staff to identify cases of COVID-19. The majority of respiratory illnesses are not COVID-19. If a community (or more specially, a school) has cases of COVID-19, local health officials will help identify those individuals and will follow up on next steps.”
In light of the evolving situation, sporting events, the Fine Arts Concert, Grandparents Day, etc. will all be reviewed prior to moving forward. Mr. St. Martin has cancelled practices for spring baseball next week because several of the other team members are from another school which has cancelled all after school activities next week. Please watch for emails from Mr. St. Martin to remain updated on spring sports/practices.
In the meantime, here are several plans we have in place for the week we return to school:
- Hand sanitizer in every classroom and all common areas.
- Frequent sanitizing of regularly used surfaces.
- We are asking all families (and especially those who travelled) to be vigilant in watching for symptoms and alert the school immediately if symptoms occur and if any family members test positive for the coronavirus. In the event that your child or a family member has been tested for the coronavirus, please do not return to school until the results are definitive (this can take up to 5 days).
- If your family has travelled over spring break and any family member is experiencing a fever, persistent cough or any other respiratory symptoms, please remain at home and contact our nurse, Mr. Paul Miehlke nurse@Libertyclassicalacademy.org
- We request that all families take seriously the call to keep their children home from school at the first sign of any sickness and for at least 24 hours following the completion of any flu like symptoms including fever, vomiting, diarrhea, etc.
- We will not be enforcing the absence policy in order to provide parents the freedom to keep their children home if they so desire. However, it is still expected that the students will complete their required work.
In the event the school closes for any length of time, we will institute on-line learning to some degree for all grades K-12. We will also consider the possibility of lengthening the school year into June in order to make up for lost class time.
Thank you for working with us to keep our community informed and safe. I will send another letter next week with updated plans for the week of March 23rd. Let’s be praying as a whole community for the safety of our school and families.
Mrs. Rebekah Hagstrom
- Minnesota Department of Health Coronavirus (COVID-19) Website:
- CDC Coronavirus (COVID-19) Website:
- The National Association of School Nurses and School Psychologists released talking points for communicating with children about COVID-19 and helping them cope with anxiety related to risk of infection: