Dear All University Life Colleagues:
I hope you and your loved ones are well, and you are doing your best to negotiate the daily shifts and changes. It is somewhat inconceivable how much our world has changed over the past few weeks. As changes occur, we are settling into new ways of working in support of and service to our students.
To help with any questions you may have about how the university is receiving updated information and responding to daily changes, here is a sense of our current structure: there are daily meetings occurring with the Emergency Operations Group (several UL members sit on this group), the President’s Executive Council (I am a member of this group), UL Cabinet Response Team, as well as continuous communication between many of us on those teams.
We are kept abreast of campus, local, national and international cases and trends, led by Dr. Park and her colleagues Dr. McCall and Dr. Wintermeyer in Student Health Services. Dr. Park is working in tandem with Julie Zobel and Dave Farris in Emergency Health and Safety, gathering daily information from local health departments, the Commonwealth, and the CDC in order to provide the entire university with updated information. Their expertise, together with the information they continue to gather, thoughtfully informs the decisions the president and senior leaders have made thus far.
But my message to you today isn’t about work. It’s about all of you, individually and collectively, and the way you’ve shown up for our students and each other in this moment. The care you are demonstrating right now, by teleworking, refraining from crowds, and being vigilant about hand washing shows your deep compassion and appreciation for the larger human condition, particularly the most vulnerable in our population. The compassion you are showing by recognizing that some of us need to remain on campus in modifies structures in order to serve students — particularly our colleagues in Student Health Services, Housing and Residential Life, Counseling and Psychological Services, and International Programs and Services is humbling.
I appreciate your offers to help each other in new and different ways. The care you are taking to ensure our students are safe, secure and in the best possible position to succeed, is simply astounding. The creativity I’ve witnessed over the past two weeks in particular is unparalleled.
As we are likely in for more challenging weeks ahead, I urge you to reserve some of the care you give to others for yourself. Whether you rely on physical, social, spiritual or emotional self-care, please remember to take care of you in the days ahead (and you’ll be hearing more from the Center for the Advancement of Well-Being about short, simple well-being and self-care activities). The COVID-19 virus is called novel because we’ve never seen anything like it before — please continue to keep up with the latest fact-based developments here.
And as I said, keep in mind that many of our colleagues and friends, including those in housekeeping, facilities, housing and residence life, student health services, and counseling and psychological services to name a few are still — and will remain — on-site for the foreseeable future. Let’s show our gratitude to them as they continue to care for the hundreds of residential students who cannot return home.
We’re all doing our best in this uncharted territory, and I’m grateful to each of you for the contributions you are making to our students, to each other, and to Mason. Your care and compassion for each other and our students are making these unfathomable circumstances a little more bearable.
Thank you, sincerely.