Message from President Book on the start of Winter Term 2021

New COVID management strategies are being adopted as students, faculty and staff return to campus.

As the Elon community comes back together on campus for the start of Winter Term ’21, President Connie Ledoux Book asks students to focus on three priorities to better manage the risks of COVID-19:

Hello Elon.

I hope the holiday season was restful and that you are preparing your return to campus and the start of Winter Term classes. Based on the lessons learned last semester, we’ve made some key changes that I want to talk with you about. But before I do that, I want to share an observation.

Last fall Dr. Ben Evans, professor of physics, said he was ready for the beginning of the end. In other words, can we begin the downward slope of this journey? It’s been hard and I know you are ready for it to be over. News of the vaccine’s effectiveness and the deployment schedule over the next several months, has us all more hopeful that we are here – the beginning of the end. The downward slope is usually easier, faster, as we near the finish line. Unfortunately, COVID’s downward slope doesn’t look like that. These next few months will be challenging. Here are the commitments we need from you as you return to campus:

First, we have significantly increased our testing. You will have an assigned testing day and time each week and you must keep your appointments. Our goal is to find positive cases early, then move quickly on quarantine, isolation and contact tracing so we can avoid the clusters of cases we experienced last fall. Frequent testing works. It’s currently the best way we have to protect you and everyone else.

Second, keep your mask on. That one action keeps you healthy and out of quarantine. Wear your mask anytime you’re outside your room or private space or office. Your personal bubble is only your roommate or immediate family. That’s it. If you’re around anyone else, even close friends, keep the mask on. And if you’re eating or drinking, stay at least six feet away from others. Most people have been following these rules. But when a few get careless, it puts our entire community at risk.

Third, you can have a great campus experience when you take the right precautions. Go to all of your in-person classes. That’s why we’re here. Attend the planned events because that’s where they are taking precautions. Spend time with friends, make new ones and have fun – just do it responsibly here on campus and keep your mask on.

We can have an even better semester if we do these three things:

  • Keep your testing appointments
  • Wear your mask outside your personal bubble, and
  • Get involved on campus in the right ways so you can have that great Elon experience.

We are near the beginning of the end – just a few more months. Let’s be good to ourselves and each other and experience the power of working together.

Connie Ledoux Book