Welcome home! Thank you so much for doing your part this past week to ensure a safe move in and a strong initial start. It’s been wonderful watching all of you return to your rooms and breathe life back into our campus community all while taking the steps to do your part and keep our community safe from COVID-19. Every time you have worn your mask properly or physically distanced six feet, you have lowered the spread of COVID-19 on our campus, keeping your friends, family, staff, and the whole community safer. Thank you for doing your part.
This past week has been a solid first step, but we have a long way to go to get to May. The Residence Education team wants to ensure you continue to have an in-person experience that several universities have already lost. We can’t let ourselves get comfortable on these safety guidelines. Remember, though we have an aggressive isolation and quarantine strategy, COVID-19 IS on our campus. While these numbers are good right now, we have to improve our efforts to continue to keep those around us safe. Here are some key reminders:
- Keep six feet physical distancing from one another both outside AND inside. Being outside doesn’t change the need to keep a distance from others. If you’re sitting at one of the picnic tables outside, sit corner to corner with no more than two at the table. Mind your distancing when you’re on Walker Lawn and in classroom buildings, waiting in line at the desk or dining hall, common areas, etc. at all times.
- Wear face coverings properly while inside (and outside if six feet distance can’t be maintained) covering both nose and mouth. Covering the mouth is a start but isn’t enough to stay safe. Keep the face coverings up, covering both nose and mouth, and on at all times (except in your room with the door closed) if you’re inside.
- Be extra vigilant when in the dining hall when others aren’t wearing masks to eat. Make sure to put your mask on as soon as you’re done eating and avoid congregating closely together in lines.
- Follow the room capacity limits. The capacity limits on spaces have been determined by professionals to ensure everyone can safely physically distance themselves while sharing a space together. If the room is at its capacity limit, don’t go in. Make sure furniture is set up in a way that maintains the six feet physical distancing and correct it if it doesn’t.
- Meals have to stay in the dining hall, outside, or in your room. Under our current health and safety level, common spaces and kitchenettes cannot be places to eat meals.
- Avoid risky behaviors while off campus. The risks to catch COVID-19 don’t change when you’re off campus. Whether you’re at the store or attending a social gathering, make sure you’re in an environment that keeps you safe and is following the necessary safety guidelines requiring masks and physical distancing. If a gathering is beginning to look unsafe, where physical distancing is impossible or masks aren’t being worn, don’t take unnecessary risks with your health and safety. Leave.
- Speak up! We need the collective voices of everyone to assist the community when it needs reminding. If someone forgets to wear a mask, don’t be afraid to remind them and ask staff if you need help doing it. If a great social gathering is starting to get a little closer than six feet, do a physical distancing check for everyone. Everyone needs reminding, so let’s work together in helping the community stay on track.
- You don’t need to be face to face to build a friendship, attend events online! We know some may not feel comfortable engaging with others in person. To help with this, we’ve put together a calendar allowing you to connect with others virtually. Jump into our Zoom events and get to know the people in the community including a virtual dinner tonight at 5:15pm.
- COVID-19 policies are part of the living guide and are an expectation of everyone living on campus. This is about keeping the community safe and ensuring we all can continue to have an in-person experience. We respect those who have different opinions and embrace your right to disagree, but you have to abide by the policies while living in the halls. The Residence Education staff is committed to keeping the community safe and will report and refer students to the Academic and Community Conduct office for not following these guidelines. Remember, it’s not just about risk to self, but to your friends, families, staff, professors, and the community as a whole. We take it seriously and will report behaviors that endanger others, which includes not complying with these policies.
We have shown we have the tenacity to do this. But, like the rest of the universities in the country, we only have one shot to make this work. As I said in my previous letter, a mask and six feet of physical distancing can be inconvenient, but these practices aren’t going to keep you from making friends and having some great in-person experiences. An outbreak on campus, however, will. We need the community working together to keep our Husky home safe and protect all those around us.
Director of Housing Auxiliary Operations and Residence Education