Prominent Jesuit-run high school in FSM cancels remaining school year due to coronavirus concerns


Drought and the unpredictable coronavirus global situation forced the Xavier High School in Chuuk, Federated States of Micronesia to cancel the remainder of the school year.

“Today is the end of the third marking period and our last day of classes for 2019-2020,” posted Rev. Dennis M. Baker, S.J., school president, on Friday, March 13.

Xavier is a college preparatory school for students from the FSM, Palau, and the Marshall Islands. 

While school dorms will remain open until noon on Sat, March 21, Baker is asking the families of the students to book flights out from Weno, Chuuk as soon as possible. He also asked the parents to find housing for those students who are not able to leave Weno immediately.

“As those of us on Weno know, we are suffering with a serious and dangerous drought here. Under normal circumstances, we estimate that we have already caught enough water to last us through the remainder of the school year. But these are not normal circumstances. Xavier’s supply may be needed for others throughout the island who, right now, have no water at all,” he said. 

Additionally, Baker sad the COVID-19 situation continues to affect the world, producing an unpredictable situation in their area. 

“We cannot be certain that ships will continue to arrive in the port with all the goods necessary to sustain the students, faculty, and staff. Combine this with uncertain access to the basic human right to water, and I feel we now have no choice but to truncate the school year and empty the campus.”

Baker said this is for the well-being of the Xavier community as well as its neighbors.

According to Baker, the graduating class of 2020 will still be considered graduates and will receive diplomas despite the cancellation of classes. 

“All other academic particulars will be assessed once we have the campus completely cleared out. I cannot think of a time that I have struggled so mightily with a judgment about how to proceed. But this decision is, I believe, the correct one with all the information on hand at the present moment. I will keep everyone informed as the situation unfolds,” Baker said.

The high school was established in 1952 and follows closely the academic programs at Jesuit institutions in the U.S. 

Xavier has produced several presidents, governors, senators from the Micronesian region. Its list of notable alumni includes Oxford scholar and Yapese Master Navigator Larry Raigetal and former FSM presidents Manny Mori, Peter Christian, and Joseph Urusemal.