August Begins with Thoughts of the Fall

For over a decade now at the beginning of August, my thoughts begin to turn to the excitement of Arrival Day and the beginning of fall semester. Of course, this year those thoughts are anxious ones; this year I’ve been thinking about “next semester” for months.

Worried? Of course I am worried. There is a resurgence of the pandemic in many areas across the country. While changing conditions may force us to alter our plans, I believe that our plan for testing, tracing and supportive isolation should keep our community as safe as possible.

Safe enough? I believe so. We know how to break the chain of virus transmission, and if we all work together, we can do this. Alas, in the absence of a coherent national strategy of fighting the war against the pandemic, states and the institutions within them are left to their own devices. Wesleyan is fortunate to be working closely with public health authorities in Connecticut, and we believe that given current conditions, we can practice risk reduction while providing a great education – in-person and remotely. A professor of public health recently wrote me to say that our campus plan would be safer for all concerned than leaving our students on their own.

Still, we monitor the pandemic’s spread with concern. So many lives lost, so much dislocation, so many in distress. For we at Wesleyan to provide an educational oasis in these troubled times, we must cooperate to protect the most vulnerable and break the chains of transmission. We are prepared to do just that!