This Past Weekend and Reminder of Expectations
Dear Faculty and Staff,
I write to share with you a letter I sent to students today about several gatherings that took place over the weekend, which resulted in students leaving campus to continue their courses remotely for the semester. Through this message, I reiterate our expectations and also reinforce that, while it is important for students to socialize with their peers, they need to do so in ways that are consistent with the guidelines we’ve provided.
If you have the opportunity to reinforce these messages via formal or informal conversations with students, in class or workshops, or any other setting where you connect with students, I would appreciate it. Sharing your own thoughts on the importance of being able to be together this fall and helping them to think about ways to safely engage with peers on campus during a pandemic would also be helpful.
Thank you for your support and collaboration across campus to help ensure a successful fall semester.
Dean of Students
This past weekend, there were several gatherings in residence halls where people came together and were not following the expectations we set forth at the start of the year related to COVID-19. In order to bring you all back to campus, we put in place multiple layers of protections to help lower the risk of spreading the virus. These include, but are not limited to, expectations related to mask wearing, social distancing, building entry restrictions, group size limitations and visitor policies. The hosts of the recent gatherings created conditions in their rooms where many of these expectations were not followed. As a result, these hosts were sent home to continue their coursework remotely.
I regularly receive emails from students who want and need to be here in order to continue their education. I am also in regular conversation with staff and faculty who are coming in to work each day to teach, clean your halls, cook your food, and offer you support and assistance. These individuals are coming to work with the expectation that everyone is going to do their part to keep the campus safe.
Because of COVID-19, we offered in-person and virtual learning options. Many of you chose to be on campus and being here is a privilege. If you cannot commit to doing your part in keeping campus safe, then you will lose the privilege of remaining on campus this semester and will be required to complete your coursework remotely.
To reiterate, you may not have more people in your room than can be socially distanced in that space (at least six feet apart). If you are in a room with someone else other than a roommate or apartmentmate, then everyone needs to wear a mask. You may only enter your assigned residence hall, and no guests or visitors may enter any residence hall. In addition, a social gathering cannot be more than 10 people, meaning the only places available to gather are outside or by reserving a large room where people can be socially distanced. These expectations are in place for the semester regardless of the College’s alert level.
Having more people in your room than can be socially distanced is an egregious violation of our COVID-19 expectations. College spaces all across campus have been adjusted, programs have been redesigned, and protocols have been put in place to maintain social distance. To disregard that in one’s own room undermines all the precautions that we have put in place across campus and promotes the spread of the virus, which is why it is considered egregious. If you host such a gathering you will, at a minimum, be required to complete your semester remotely. Beyond that, depending on the circumstances of the situation, you will also have student conduct implications that can be a disciplinary warning, disciplinary probation level 1, disciplinary probation level 2, suspension or expulsion.
This semester is unlike any other we have had before. We all need to make adjustments in how we live our lives. This includes how you socialize and connect with peers. Our expectations do not preclude you from being with friends and taking time to socialize. But the expectations do require you to think differently about how you gather, where you gather and the number of people you get together with. My sense is that most students who are here recognize the changes that need to be in place and have made adjustments to support the safety of the campus. Some are not yet on board. On behalf of the faculty, staff and students who are eager to remain together on campus this year, I ask those who have not fully adjusted to the changes in expectations to make that shift now. This will ensure that we can continue to be together as a campus this fall and that additional students do not need to go home to complete their semesters remotely due to not complying with our expectations.
Thank you for your attention to this important message and for doing your part to keep our community healthy.
Dean of Students