2021-2022 Campus Health Protocols

In order to safely and effectively continue in-person learning during the pandemic, Father Ryan, in partnership with the Catholic Schools Office of the Diocese of Nashville and Metro Public Health officials, continually assesses information in order to develop effective guidelines and procedures in service of this community.

Below you will find the complete document entitled "Campus Health Protocols," which lays out the procedures for this school year.

Check this page regularly for updates, links, and FAQs.

2021-2022 School Year Updates

List of 7 items.

  • Message from Superintendent Hammel - December 31

    Dr. Rebecca Hammel, Superintendent of Catholic Schools for the Diocese of Nashville, released this message on December 31, updating the diocese's COVID-19 protocols.
  • Message from Superintendent Hammel - October 27

    Superintendent Rebecca Hammel, Ph.D., released this message on October 27 about the diocese's mask policies in schools.
  • Message from Superintendent Hammel - September 29

    Dr. Rebecca Hammel, Superintendent of Catholic Schools for the Diocese of Nashville, released this message on September 29 regarding COVID-19 protocols at diocesan schools. Click the link to view and read the letter.
  • Message from Superintendent Hammel - August 31

    Superintendent Rebecca Hammel, Ph.D., released this message on August 31 regarding the mask policy in the Diocese of Nashville's school.
  • Message from Superintendent Hammel - August 16

    August 16, 2021

    Dear Families and Friends of Catholic Education,

    Today Governor Bill Lee signed Executive Order 84, granting parents the choice of opting out of face covering requirements established by school systems, on a school bus, or at school functions. Given the Governor’s strong directive intended to balance parental responsibility while addressing public health concerns, the Diocese has chosen to respect Executive Order 84, while carefully monitoring for a safe learning environment. Effective immediately, diocesan schools who held the mask requirement, will return to “mask optional.” Parents will not need to submit any “opt out” form as suggested in Governor Lee’s Order, your decision will be made known by whether your child comes to school in a mask.

    The Diocese of Nashville remains committed to the overall well-being of our children and our employees. To that end, we continue to track our schools’ covid case numbers, attendance rates, and number of individuals quarantined with our parish pastors and school principals. School officials will continue to alert close contacts of potential exposures. We strongly encourage unvaccinated persons to wear masks inside buildings and for parents to determine whether vaccinations are suitable for your children. For parents opting to keep their children masked, please know the school respects your decision and will support the child in wearing it.

    Our goal for each school is to maintain operations, keeping as many children and employees at school as possible. Therefore, as in previous letters, we seek your cooperation with the following protocols:
    • Stay home or keep children at home if covid-like symptoms manifest; consider testing to rule out COVID even if vaccinated.
    • Immediately report known positive cases to the school so we can contact-trace as necessary.
    • Quarantine and/or isolate as indicated by appropriate public health protocols.

    Many of us have experienced the divisiveness created by the various views of wearing masks. It is our greatest hope that we can come together, in support of positive, cohesive school communities, to respect one another and the decision each parent will make for their sons and daughters.

    In Christ our Hope,
    Rebecca Hammel, Ph.D.
    Superintendent of Schools
  • Message from Superintendent Hammel - August 5

    August 5, 2021

    Dear Families and Friends of Catholic Education,

    The Diocese of Nashville has embraced a consistent philosophy that for the overall wellbeing and education of our children, in-person learning should take place as scheduled from the beginning of the
    school year. At the same time, the safety of our students, faculty, and staff must also be of primary concern.

    Unfortunately, a continuous review of the most current data surrounding the prevalence and spread of the new, more aggressive variant of the virus that causes COVID infections, including changes logged since July 24, 2021, has shown:

    • Cases of Covid-19 rose in every one of our seven counties in which we have schools; the range of increase is 178% to 296% in less than two weeks.

    • Infection rates, the number of persons to whom an individual with Covid will likely spread the virus, ranges from 1.21 to 1.44 today. The number health officials would deem indicative of Covid moving toward containment is 0.9 or lower.

    • Test positivity rates have held “high” in all our counties, currently ranging between 11.1% and 18.4%.

    • We now know that even vaccinated persons can contract and spread the virus, perhaps unaware that they even have the virus themselves.

    Therefore, after consultation with medical professionals, public health officials, education professionals and business leaders, masks will be required indoors on our campuses and on busses, effective Monday, August 9, 2021, through the Labor Day holiday. Data surrounding the community spread of the virus will be carefully monitored and the mask policy will be re-evaluated and modified as appropriate in response to those factors.

    The updated comprehensive protocols that were distributed recently by the Catholic Schools Office and by individual schools refined for their campuses, included a plan to continuously monitor public health
    data and adapt our protocols to best protect our students, faculty, and staff. This adjustment follows those guidelines.

    In hopes of minimizing the length of time that masks will be necessary as the school year begins, please be vigilant to the following protocols:

    • Stay home or keep children at home if covid-like symptoms manifest; consider testing to rule out COVID even if vaccinated.

    • Immediately report known positive cases to the school so we can contact-trace as necessary.

    • Quarantine and/or isolate as indicated by appropriate public health protocols.

    It is also important to note that a wide range of medical and public health officials indicate that vaccines are the most effective tool to contain the pandemic. We encourage everyone to consult their healthcare providers and seek vaccinations where appropriate.

    As a final note, let us always remember that by working together as a united community, we successfully addressed challenges last year with great results. Our children prospered and grew throughout the year. It is our firm resolve to accomplish no less in the academic year ahead.

    In Christ our Hope,
    Rebecca Hammel, Ph.D.
    Superintendent of Schools
  • Message from Superintendent Hammel - July 29

    July 28, 2021

    Dear Families and Friends of Catholic Education,

    Yesterday the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) modified its guidance for vaccinated persons and offered a recommendation for all persons in the K-12 school environment to wear masks indoors. This has prompted news stories and several questions among parents with children returning to our schools in the coming weeks.

    Along with the churches of the Diocese of Nashville, our schools continue to strongly encourage parents and employees to seek their physician’s guidance and determine whether the vaccination is beneficial for their age-appropriate children and themselves. The Church supports the vaccination, recognizes the benefit to the community, and understands it may not be suitable for all. We rely on parents and employees to make these determinations in consult with their physicians.

    At this time, we will not require masks on school campuses. Rather, we will strongly encourage unvaccinated persons and anyone with autoimmune deficiencies to mask while indoors on our school campuses. We will continue our close monitoring of community and school conditions, as well as any local health department mandates. Our plans are drafted in such a way that we can easily shift to more stringent strategies as warranted by local health conditions.

    I attribute the success we experienced last year to our mutual efforts, and I ask for the same degree of partnership this school year for the well-being of all.

    • Stay home or keep children at home if covid-like symptoms manifest.
    • Immediately report positive cases of children to the school so we can contact-trace as necessary.
    • Quarantine and/or isolate as indicated by appropriate public health protocols.

    In addition to our success last school year, our churches have operated smoothly over the summer months in the absence of a mask mandate. We have hosted weddings, farmers markets, gatherings, and the holy Mass without breakouts. Some parishioners wore masks, many did not. Please let this be our norm for school as well. Let us be careful about what “little ears” hear so we do not foster fear in them or cause unnecessary commotion at school.

    I sincerely thank you for your support of our schools. I commit to you our continued monitoring of community health conditions and adapting protocols when necessary.

    Thank you for partnering with us!

    In Christ,
    Rebecca Hammel, Ph.D.
    Superintendent of Schools

Past Updates from the 2020-2021 School Year

List of 16 items.

  • Message from the President - March 5

    "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair."

    These words that Mr. Charles Dickens wrote in his 1859 novel, A Tale of Two Cities, in many ways describe the last year for our community as we mark the one-year anniversary of the tornadoes that ravaged Middle Tennessee and the closing of our physical campus in response to an emerging global pandemic.

    As we rapidly approach the end of the third academic quarter, I am filled with hope and resolve that the last year has taught us many lessons, big and small, and that few are more important than these: we are stronger when we are together, and our resilience comes from God.

    As we continue to move forward with what I hope is a return to “normalcy” in the future, I pray we all take stock during this Lenten season to reflect and pray about many of the lessons we learned in our youth.  Love each other,  kindness matters, serving others feeds the soul, grace should be extended whenever possible, patience is a virtue, sometimes the best compassion is self-compassion, we are social beings, we are our neighbors’ keeper, and God is always with us. Undoubtedly, these are not all the lessons from the last year. Life will continue to teach each of us new ones as we remain open to God’s will.

    Please join me in a prayer of intercession to our Blessed Mother, seeking God’s grace and mercy for all of those affected by COVID-19 and natural disasters.

    Jim McIntyre
  • Message from the President - February 4

    At the beginning of this week, I had the honor to present to the 8th graders at Christ the King School as part of their Catholic Schools Week celebration. I thought it might be a great opportunity to have a conversation about heroes.  I asked them, “What are the characteristics of a hero?”  Leadership, role model, bravery, good example, protector, caring, and compassion were all words that students used to describe a hero.  I told them that those are words I would use to describe one of my childhood heroes, Mr. Henry Aaron. 

    A man of deep conviction and exquisite athletic ability, Mr. Aaron was larger than life for me as a young man growing up with other kids in Generation X during a time before the Internet and social media. He was a hero to me because of his baseball ability.  What I have come to appreciate about Henry Aaron today is that he was so much more than a baseball player. He was a person of deep conviction and perseverance who long after his days of playing baseball had ended was still using his celebrity to advocate for civil rights. He was a father, a son, a husband, and a Catholic. As I have grown older, my admiration for Henry  Aaron off the field has become more meaningful.  It is why I consider  him one of my heroes still, and it is why his life and example serve as inspirations.

    As the rest of my Monday continued to unfold here on campus, I found myself reflecting on that discussion with the 8th graders at Christ the King.  The words they used to describe heroes continued to speak to me - “leaders, role models, courageous, protectors, caring, and compassionate.” As I have found in my nearly 30 years in Catholic education, many times young people are simultaneously students and teachers.

    Those 8th graders’ words really describe the work and ministry of our faculty and staff. The commitment and devotion with which they have ministered to our students and families since August have been heroic.  They are heroes in addition to being fathers, husbands, sons, brothers, mothers, wives, daughters, and sisters.  They face the same challenges in life that we all face while also answering the vocational call to serve others. Theirs is a ministry of love and selflessness that truly responds to Christ’s teaching in the Gospel of John,

    “I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another. This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”  (John 13:34-35)

    Remembering how as a child I saw Henry Aaron as a hero only because of his skill as a baseball player, I reminded myself this week to look beyond the obvious with our faculty and staff.  The depth of their heroism is a constant, pandemic or no pandemic.  Our faculty and staff demonstrate all the words used by the 8th graders, and so much more!  Beyond being our children's teachers, they are the people who help shape and mold them, and they are the people who light the path to their futures while guiding them to be men and women of conviction, character, and truth. 

    So as the 2021 Catholic Schools Week draws to a close, I ask that all of us take time to express gratitude to a teacher in our lives, to say thanks for inspiring us through their ministry to most fully become the person God wants each of us to be.

    In addition, we ask for the intercession of Our Blessed Mother for all who are affected by this pandemic.

    Jim McIntyre
  • Message from the President - January 15

    In his 2019 World Day of Peace address, Pope Francis said, “Today more than ever, our societies need ‘artisans of peace’ who can be messengers and authentic witnesses of God the Father, who wills the good and the happiness of the human family.” On January 10th, Pope Francis tweeted, “I am praying for the United States of America, shaken by the recent attack on Congress. I pray for those who lost their life. Violence is always self-destructive. I urge everyone to promote a culture of encounter and of care to construct the common good.” 

    These two messages from the Holy Father call upon all of us to live the message and words of Jesus Christ, “I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another. This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35).

    As our country prepares to celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., we recognize his legacy echoed in the words of the Holy Father from his general audience speech from June of 2020, “nothing is gained by violence and so much is lost.” May our country be healed and may we become “artisans of peace” to each other.

    We continue to be thankful to our dedicated faculty, staff, coaches, students, and Medical Advisory Committee for their commitment to each other for a safe and healthy learning environment.

    As always, we seek the intercession of the Blessed Mother to envelop us in her arms and draw us close to her Son, Jesus Christ, in prayers, peace, and health.

    Jim McIntyre
  • Message from Superintendent Hammel - December 30

    Father Ryan Returns to School In-Person on Monday, as Scheduled
    Following a virtual meeting of the Catholic school principals this morning led by Superintendent of Catholic Schools Rebecca Hammel, it was confirmed that the Catholic schools of the diocese, including Father Ryan, will return to campus on Monday for the start of the second semester of the school year, as scheduled and in-person.
    Superintendent Hammel has provided a letter regarding the decision. Click the link below to read the letter. Parents are encouraged to review the campus protocols for Returning to Campus Safely in preparation for Monday.
    We hope everyone enjoyed a restful, joyous, and healthy Christmas Break. As we celebrate the Solemnity of Our Blessed Mother on Friday, January 1, we ask once again for Her intercession for all who have been affected by this pandemic.   
    We look forward to seeing the students, faculty, and staff on Monday morning.
  • Message from the President - December 18

    The last exam has been taken, the semester has come to a close, and a much-anticipated break has begun. For all of us, the celebration of Christmas Day this year is especially welcome. 

    At a time when the world appears, feels, and is often out of order and scary, the message of hope and renewal sent to us by God with the birth of His Son is and remains a constant. As we join with Christians all over the world next Friday, December 25th, to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world, may we all be strengthened by His message of hope and renewal. 

    Along with our prayers for the intercession of our Blessed Mother for all affected by this pandemic, we send our prayers and wishes to each of you. May you enjoy a restful and Merry Christmas, one filled with joy and love.

    Jim McIntyre
  • Message from the President - November 20

    Dear Father Ryan Community,

    With the myriad of challenges facing our city, state, country, and world no one could be blamed for walking into this extended Thanksgiving holiday week with a sense of relief and exhaustion rather than gratitude and hope.  However, this time of year provides us incredible opportunities to reflect on just those two things - gratitude and hope.

    Many of us would agree that when we began this “new normal” in August there was no certainty that any of us would be on campus in November to see our students depart for the Thanksgiving break. And yet, here we are. This is, in and of itself, a reason to be thankful.
    Each day that we have together is precious. Words cannot express the debt of gratitude that we owe to our faculty and staff, who have developed, taught, coached, mentored, guided, loved, and supported our students and their colleagues through these first fifteen weeks of the school year. They have responded to the call to teach as Jesus did, and for that they deserve our gratitude, respect, and love.
    • Our students have been engaged, day after day, in an educational environment unlike any in their lives: masks, hand cleaning, cleaning of desks, social distancing, digital learning, single seats during lunch, not being able to see their teams or band perform on a regular basis. Yet, they have persevered.  We are so thankful for their willingness to care for each other and us. They, too, are worthy of our respect and gratitude, as are so many others in this exceptional community.
    • Our parents, especially the Parent School Network, have provided breakfasts, lunches, snacks, and cards of encouragement for all of us. They have been present at all lunches, each day, ensuring that our students and faculty have a safe and clean place to rest while having lunch.
    • Our Purple Masque Players performed an incredible fall production, presented online.
    • Our Marching Band labored, as they usually do, under the summer and fall sun (in masks and with covered instruments) to “light up” the darkness with their beautiful music and showmanship.
    • Our coaches and athletes have competed with an Irish Pride that is awe-inspiring and energizing.
    • Our students and faculty were able to raise more than $160,000 for the American Cancer Society during an abbreviated Relay for Life, at a time when the need for their service has never been greater.
    • Our Campus Ministry team and Fr. Simpson have adapted and found ways to bring Holy Mass and the Eucharist to our campus daily.
    All of these expressions of love are rooted in the hope and belief that we have in Christ and each other to persevere. We have cared for each other in simple and complex ways. All of these achievements are the result of “WE”, a community.

    I am struck by the idea that our challenges and our gifts are often the same right now. Those things which we used to take for granted are seen anew, as gifts. And while the challenge of how to spend Thanksgiving may be new this year, our desire to care for each other, to express our love for one another, and to be thankful for the smallest personal contact takes on a deeper meaning.

    When we return from the break we will be in the season of Advent. The example of faith and surrender to God’s will by our Blessed Mother Mary and her spouse, Joseph, serves as an example to all of us. It leads us to the hope provided to the world with the birth of Christ. This is a beautiful guide for each of us as we walk through our challenges, whether alone or together. In the end, it is this hope of renewal that will sustain us in the days leading to Christmas and every day thereafter.

    As always, I ask all of us to seek the intercession of our Blessed Mother for all of those affected by COVID-19, seeking God’s grace and mercy.

    We all wish you and your family the safest, healthiest, and most joyful of Thanksgivings.

    Jim McIntyre
  • Message from the Dean of Students - October 30

    It has been 81 days since Father Ryan returned to school in August, and as the administrator charged with implementing and enforcing our new safety protocols, I am pleased to tell you that the return has gone well. 

    Our Returning to Campus Safely Plan with its specific protocols was provided to all families before the start of school.  Since then, we have continued to respond to this evolving pandemic.  As a result, we have adapted, updating the Returning to Campus Safely Plan as needed to reflect new knowledge and changing protocols.  We continue to consult with the Catholic Schools Office and our Medical Advisory Committee on all of our planning and will adapt again, if necessary.

    With the unpredictability of this coronavirus and the continued rise in the number of cases reported here and across the world, we expected to have cases on our campus.  We have been reporting our COVID cases weekly, both when active and when the individuals are cleared to return to campus. That information is shared in Ryan Connections and is resident on our Coronavirus Updates webpage. 

    In the first weeks following our return to campus, we had very few cases reported.  The number has increased in the last few weeks, reflective of the increases experienced throughout the area.  However, we have not had an outbreak on campus within any group, club, sports team, or organization. 

    To date, we have had 16 confirmed positive COVID-19 cases in students, and 11 of those are active. There is no way to be 100% positive, but through our contact tracing, we believe that we have eight family transmissions (a parent or sibling), six as the result of off-campus gatherings, and two unknown transmissions. In all of these cases, we have followed our protocols for testing, close contact notification, and an individual’s return to campus, as outlined in our Returning to Campus Safely Plan.  
    You may have heard from your student that additional students have been sent home recently.  This does not mean that these students are positive for COVID-19.  It simply means we are following our protocols regarding individuals who are in close proximity to a positive case.  In doing so and sending specific students home, we are making sure that we minimize the chances of the virus being spread. To help us with that effort on the campus, we encourage everyone in our community to continue wearing your masks, social distancing, and washing your hands when away from campus.

    We feel that what we are doing is keeping our students safe.  Based on the number of cases reported, we are not expecting to return to digital learning for everyone. However, we continue to monitor the situation every day so we can respond in a responsible way to this ever-changing pandemic.

    Thank you to all the faculty and staff for their work in making our return work.  And thank you to all Irish families for your patience and understanding and for trusting your students to us.
    Joe Crumby ‘95
    Dean of Students
  • Message from the President - October 23

    Every morning since returning to campus in August, Father Ryan’s students, faculty, and staff have completed the health screening app to determine if they should come onto campus.

    This morning in completing the screening, and since I had a new mild cough yesterday that I had attributed to seasonal congestion, I was unable to answer “NO” to all the questions on the Ascension Health app. Out of an abundance of caution, I remained at home, contacted my physician, and proceeded to get a COVID test. While we maintain the policy of not disclosing the names of members of our community who have tested positive, I made the decision to let all of you know that I received a positive test for COVID-19 this afternoon.

    This test result does not have any impact on the daily operation of Father Ryan High School or on the students at the school.  School will be open on Monday as usual, and we will continue to monitor the presence of COVID cases on the campus. I have reported the test result to the school leadership, all of my close contacts have been informed, and my family and I are quarantining at home, according to the protocols detailed in our plan.

    My family agreed that our transparency might serve others. We hope this will remind everyone that contracting the virus is possible, even when you are hyper-vigilant. It confirms that completing the health screening app every morning is vital to protecting others.

    This afternoon as I planned to inform our community, I did a Google search of “principal had tested positive for COVID.”  I was really surprised at how many articles and news stories I found regarding school leaders who have contracted the virus. I was trying to see if any of my colleagues had found a way to communicate and reassure their community following their own results. What I found typically was just that, a report, usually followed by information that included that he/she was self-quarantining at home, close contacts had been made aware, reports had been made to the health department, and that all the protocols were being followed.

    It was interesting to see that so many schools and leaders had chosen to communicate this information about their own positive test in an impersonal way. None of the articles sounded like me or reflected the deep love and care I have for our community and those in it.

    I want everyone to know that I feel fine. The only symptoms I have are the cough and a headache. My senses of smell and taste remain. I am working from home and will continue to do so when possible throughout my quarantine. In addition, my family is following the protocols related to a positive case, as outlined in the Returning to Campus Safely Plan.

    I have spoken with Superintendent Rebecca Hammel, Board of Trustees Chair Julie Norfleet,  and Principal Paul Davis since learning the news. We are blessed with an outstanding leadership team focused on the safety and health of our faculty, students, and community. As parents, Amy and I continue to have confidence in our safety protocols, trust in our leadership team, and faith in each other to place our faculty’s and students’ health first.

    I hope my personal experience and my willingness to share it with you serve as a reminder of how critical it is to follow the protocols. This will enhance the health and safety of everyone here.

    You may wonder how I contracted the virus, and I can tell you confidently that I don’t know. I have been following the protocols that have guided us throughout this pandemic and informed our return to campus. I wear my mask, I wash my hands regularly, and I practice social distancing on and off the campus. However, we are all reading about the increase in cases in Davidson County, throughout this region, and throughout the nation.

    I am asking, once again, that all of us double our efforts to combat the virus by following the protocols diligently, on and off campus. By doing so, we can continue to advance the mission of the school by keeping the campus open and enjoying the uniqueness of the Father Ryan community.

    As always, we seek the intersession of our Blessed Mother, asking for God’s grace and protection over you, your family, and our community. 

    Jim McIntyre
  • Message from the President - October 2

    As we stand on the cusp of Fall Break, we all are filled with a sense of gratitude and relief that our school community has had a minimal number of positive COVID-19 cases and has avoided any traceable transmission of COVID-19 on our campus over the last nine weeks. We all appreciate the vigilance and patience shown by our community as we navigate unchartered waters.  This is an opportunity to express gratitude to our students, families, and especially our faculty as they have carried a significant load in leading us to this benchmark. Benchmarks serve two purposes, one to show how far one has gone, the other to show how far one must still go.

    Fall Break represents the longest amount of time that we will have been apart from our campus since we were forced to close at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Even with significant protocols, mitigation strategies, and expense to create a safe environment for our faculty, staff, and students, the ability for us to remain open for the second quarter of this school year and beyond rests not with the school but with each of us in the community.

    Given our arrival at this benchmark of success, who could blame anyone of us for surrendering to the temptation to relax while simultaneously trying to shed the exhaustion from all the additional considerations that we have had to endure since before our return to campus. We are all tired of wearing masks 8-10 hours a day. We are all tired of having to maintain social distancing and make responsible choices when socializing away from campus. We are all just tired. 

    At the same time, we have been blessed in returning to campus and, in some capacities, to our athletic and extra-curricular programs. To date, this return has not resulted in a spread of COVID-19 on our campus.  However, other schools and communities have not been so lucky. I say that in all sincerity. The reality is that any school community engaged in person-to-person instruction could have an outbreak, whether a result of circumstances beyond their control or because of a poor decision by one person or group.  I mention these other school communities as a cautionary tale for all of us in the Father Ryan community.  We are all responsible not just to each other, but to each other’s extended families, workplaces, and friends. In the Gospel of John, chapter 13, verse 34, we read this truth that is at the heart of Christ’s teachings. “I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another.” This is one of the lessons we want our students to learn. We are all connected. Vigilance is not always convenient or easy, but when done with love, it is one of the most beautiful expressions.

    I am not suggesting that we should lock ourselves in our houses and spend the entirety of Fall Break looking out the windows to prevent the potential spread of the virus on our campus when we return. The first nine weeks serve as an example of what we can accomplish together. With that said, we should also turn our eyes towards the next nine weeks between October 12, 2020 and Christmas Break.  As the parent of a senior, I have seen the life and light return to my daughter from being back on our campus.  As I have interacted with students over the past several weeks, I have seen the comfort, love, and peace that they experience from being together on campus in a place where they are known and loved.

    Last spring, all of us learned the difficult lesson that being on campus is a privilege, and we all experienced a sense of loss when that was not possible.  I am asking for all of us to reaffirm our vigilance to making the best decisions socially, to wash our hands frequently, not to attend large gatherings, and to wear our masks when social distancing is not possible. I am asking for all of us to think of others over our own fleeting desires for temporary “normalcy.”  We are committed to being in school for the long haul. We need everyone in the boat as we sail towards second quarter, exams, and semester grades.

    In closing, I ask you to join me in seeking the intercession of our Blessed Mother in caring for those who are suffering as a result of the pandemic. May we seek her healing touch as Mother of us all, for our city, state, nation, and world.

    Have a great Fall Break!


    Jim McIntyre
  • Letter from Superintendent Hammel - October 1

    Rebecca Hammel, Superintendent of Catholic Schools for the Diocese of Nashville, has released today a letter to all families with an update on the Cognia accreditation process and other Catholic Schools Office news.
  • Message from the President - September 4

    As we conclude the fourth week of the 2020-2021 school year, we are so deeply thankful to our students, faculty, and staff for their commitment and diligence, which have made it possible for us to be together at this moment in our school’s history. The school is once again alive, with students and teachers developing relationships that will lay the foundation for faith, intellect, and adulthood.

    Even with this milestone, we are reminded of how far we must still go. As we roll into the Labor Day weekend, it would be easy for us to relax and use less caution as it relates to good practices in social distancing.  We are deeply thankful for everyone’s compliance and focus on keeping our campus safe and healthy to this point, and I want to challenge all of us to remain vigilant, even in times away from the campus.

    We all have learned over the last several months that being on campus with our students and faculty is a privilege.  This privilege offers all of us the opportunity to be physically present in the lives of our friends, colleagues, and community. With that privilege comes a responsibility, a “social contract” if you will, that challenges us to think beyond ourselves and to care for each other. That is why we ask our parent community to speak with their students about making healthy and safe choices for socializing away from our campus so that we can continue to be together on our campus.

    Finally, we ask that you take a few minutes today, our “Faculty and Staff Appreciation Day,” to say a prayer of thanks for our faculty and staff.  These are extraordinary men and women who know and love our sons and daughters, and they are committed, every day, to help these students reach their full potential and to be followers of Christ.
    As always, please join me in seeking the intercession of our Blessed Mother in whose example of love we are called to care and support each other.  Have a great Labor Day weekend!  

    Jim McIntyre
  • Update on Reporting Cases/Monitoring Contacts - August 27

    On August 24, 2020 the Centers for Disease Control issued new guidance: “Diagnostic testing categories have been edited to focus on testing considerations and actions to be taken by individuals undergoing testing.”  The new guidance from the CDC specifically states
    If you have been in close contact (within 6 feet) of a person witha COVID-19 infectionfor at least 15 minutes but do not have symptoms:
    • You do not necessarily need a test unless you are a vulnerable individual or your health care provider or State or local public health officials recommend you take one.
      • A negative test does not mean you will not develop an infection from the close contact or contract an infection at a later time.
    • You should monitor yourself for symptoms. If you develop symptoms, you should evaluate yourself under the considerations set forth above.
    • You should strictly adhere to CDC mitigation protocols, especially if you are interacting with avulnerable individual. You should adhere to CDC guidelines to protect vulnerable individuals with whom youlive.  
    As a result of this updated guidance from the CDC and in consultation with members of our Medical Advisory Committee, we are making the following change to the Returning to Campus Safely Plan on page 7, Responding to Positive Tests, Bullet 2
    Families notified by Father Ryan that their students were in close proximity to someone in their classrooms, mentor groups, or on a team who has tested positive will not be required to have a physician’s note to return to campus as long as: 
    • The student is able to answer NO to all the electronic health screening survey questions (Ascension Health) required to be completed before arrival each day.
    • The student is not experiencing symptoms.
    • The student has reviewed the chart entitled “When to Stay Home” on page 6 of the Returning to Campus Safely Plan and is NOT required to stay home under this flowchart. 
    As already stated in the plan on page 7, parents whose students have been in close proximity to someone who tests positive for COVID-19, in their classrooms, mentor groups, or on a team, will to be notified both by phone and via myFatherRyan. 
    Thank you for your cooperation and assistance in keeping our students, faculty, and staff safe.  
  • Message from the President - August 14

    Coming onto campus on Monday morning and seeing our students back at Father Ryan was both emotional and energizing for me and all the faculty and staff.  Even with their masks in place and practicing social distancing, the students had smiles that were visible in their eyes, letting us all know how much it means to them to be back on campus.

    This first week has gone well, which is a tribute to the dedication, planning, and tireless efforts of the Leadership Team, particularly Academic Dean Jennifer Anton and Dean of Students Joe Crumby '95. They, working with so many of our staff, led our Returning to Campus Safely planning, and I am proud of their work in preparing us to return. In addition, it's clear that our parents and students embraced the process and prepared appropriately to be at Father Ryan again. A friendly reminder to our students, please remain socially distant while away from campus to minimize the potential spread of the virus.

    To remain transparent with our community, we are adding a COVID tracking chart to our coronavirus webpage to keep everyone informed of any positive cases reported to Father Ryan.  The first installment includes a summary of cases reported to Father Ryan from the summer and prior to the start of school. This chart will be updated and posted each Friday. 

    As always, we are grateful to parents for entrusting their students to us. We call upon St. Maximilian Kolbe, the patron saint of Elliston House and whose feast day is today, for his intercession for all the families who are dealing with this virus.

    With gratitude,

    Jim McIntyre
  • Message from Pedestal Foods - July 28

    Pedestal Foods has implemented many new and enhanced safety features to ensure the health and safety of all students and staff. 

    Please click here to learn more.
  • Message from the President - July 23

    Dear Father Ryan Community,
    Just after closing our campus in the spring, many of our administrators sent video messages of favorite places on campus. All of us in the Ryan community have a place on campus that brings us rest, peace, or a special memory. Even so, it is the people, the faculty, staff, and students who truly make Father Ryan. We find ourselves in times of enormous complexity readying for a return to school days on Norwood together. As we move towards the opening of school, each day brings with it new opportunities and challenges.
    The basis of the Returning to Campus Safely plan (below) that we are providing you today is our fundamental priority to provide a safe and healthy educational environment for everyone involved in our endeavor to form lives of excellence in the Catholic tradition. Even with the hope that this plan brings, the unpredictability of the circumstance demands of all of us a flexibility and a trust that we are in this together to serve our students, faculty, and each other.
    What follows in the Returning to Campus Safely plan is our best sense of the way forward built around the basic principles below. We recognize the complexity of the pandemic as well as its varying effects on our families’ personal circumstances. Additionally, this plan includes a REQUIRED SURVEY of all our families to choose which delivery of instructional environment will best serve their needs and circumstances.
    The following are the principles we have used in developing the plan for returning to campus:
    • Protect the health and safety of students, faculty, and staff
    • Comply with diocesan, public health, and government orders
    • Utilize guidelines from the Catholic Schools Office of the Diocese of Nashville, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Metro Public Health officials
    • Establish effective use of spaces and places to support physical distancing
    • Provide students with some familiarity of school routines for learning
    • Set clear expectations for everyone. 
    We anticipate and must be prepared for a return to remote learning for some interval(s) in the coming school year, and we will remain attentive to any Metro Public Health directives. The reality is that we earnestly want to be back together. That commitment is written into the plans described and detailed in the pages that follow. Of course, with emerging science, empirical data, and government directives, this is the first of our campus plans. Future updates/changes in protocols will be sent to all our families and placed on our coronavirus updates page on the Father Ryan website.
    We call upon the entire Father Ryan community to join in prayer, seeking the intercession of our Blessed Mother for all within our world who are experiencing loss, illness, fear, and anxiety as a result of this pandemic. We invite everyone to join in an active, working partnership that will provide a means to our students’ success in this historic season, benefiting everyone within our family.
    Jim McIntyre
  • Letter from Superintendent Hammel - July 8

    Superintendent Rebecca Hammel has issued a letter pertaining to the beginning of the 2020-2021 school year. Click here to read the letter.