It’s usually the most chill part of the year – two weeks away from classes just as winter turns to spring. Wesleyan has a generous two-week break, though truth be told many faculty and students work hard during the change of season. Athletes are training or competing right through the time away from classes (how about that Men’s Hockey NESCAC Championship!); thesis writers are intensely moving their projects toward completion; professors often count on this period to make progress on their research. And the staff continues to labor away, planning everything from graduation to how to repair parts of campus strained by the first two-thirds of the academic year.
BUT THIS YEAR! This year we have a world seriously shaken by a pandemic, with repercussions ranging from a reeling global economy to changing how we casually greet one another. We are bombarded continuously with information, some of it very suspect. Authorities in Washington try to reassure, but conflicting (and sometimes nonsensical) pronouncements breed further confusion. State and local officials are scrambling to get current information, but the shortage of tests for Covid-19 has made this very difficult. Some schools are closing, and many organizations have canceled travel. Here at Wesleyan, hundreds of students—many of whom felt unsafe returning home—have stayed on campus for spring break, and we are asking everyone to contribute to a supportive community. We are also asking for social distancing. Oy.
To reiterate what we do know:
Similar to the flu, symptoms of coronavirus are mild to severe respiratory illness including:
- Shortness of breath
At this time, the CDC reports that symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure.
The CDC recommends preventative actions to reduce the risk of developing the flu or other respiratory diseases, including:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- When you are sick, stay home.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
More information can be found here, and we will update this page frequently.
And wash your hands.
We have a good team working on contingency plans for classes and other events. We’ll get through this by relying on what we at Wesleyan call compassionate solidarity. We may be instructed in new forms of “social distancing,” but we’ll also take care of each other. Reach out. Help is nearby.