As we start our sixth week of in-person instruction, I want to express my gratitude for everyone’s efforts so far. However, it is also time to issue a serious caution.
Continued adherence to our public health guidelines is not only expected, but it is required of all members of the campus community.
It is easy to get complacent, but our success hinges on your vigilance. It is vital that we do the right thing and encourage our classmates, co-workers, and friends to do the same. While the majority of our campus community has been diligent and mindful of the Bengal Pledge, we are seeing a troubling trend of non-compliance from a small, but growing, number of people on campus. Our ability to maintain an open, in-person environment could easily tip either way based on the actions of a few.
In short, we are at a critical juncture. We cannot lessen or decrease our compliance with face coverings, social distancing, hand washing, and symptom reporting. If we become lax or casual about those now, all of our efforts over the last six months to hold in-person instruction could be rendered moot.
Additionally, off-campus activity is having an impact on our campus operations. The majority of the cases we are tracking in our campus community are traced to interactions from outside the University. The actual campus spread has been minimal. What you do when you are not on campus, including not wearing a mask and maintaining physical distancing, is impacting our mission of education.
We have nine more weeks to go in the semester, and I truly believe we can maintain our current course of instruction. However, that reality will only happen if all of us––every single member of our community––follows our established guidelines.