The past two weeks have not lessoned my sense that we should cancel this event. We are in a hotspot with the numbers going the wrong way. I want to believe that our graduates and their guests will be vaccinated, but I'm fairly sure that won't be the case.
Yesterday during a meeting we had some COVID notifications come in as we were meeting; two campuses, neither of them mine, have had significant exposure in the past week, and students have not been the epicenter of the outbreaks. Most people on my campus are still wearing masks, but the two campuses with exposure have moved away from mask wearing, even though they all work in closer proximity with fewer vaccinated colleagues.
By the end of the day, we had decided that it's time to go back to requiring masks in the library. Once our library assistant got fully vaccinated, we had been letting users decide about mask use. No longer.
I don't know if we'll get pushback, but if so, I will stand firm. People can access most of our library resources from a distance, after all.*
As we move into fall, I feel like every campus in the U.S. is engaging in a huge social experiment. My seminary will be requiring everyone to be vaccinated if they're coming on campus, and masks will be required indoors. If there are no outbreaks, perhaps it will feel safer to be a residential student for spring term.
Meanwhile, many other campuses will be letting students make their own choices, and I suspect I know what will happen. I hope I'm wrong.
In other news of our weird times, I did want to note this. Yesterday on my drive to work, I heard a newscaster say that the people who were convicted of attacking the U.S. Capitol would have their concealed weapons permits revoked by the state of Florida. And I thought about the strangenesses of that sentence: an attack on the U.S. Capitol, an attack by citizens, the revoking of concealed weapons permits by this wacky state of Florida.
Half the world is on fire (literally) while the other half drowns (literally). Viruses of both body and mind sweep across the planet. I think this decade will continue to be rough.
*I got to the office yesterday to find an e-mail from Corporate telling us that masks will be required indoors on campus when we can't do social distancing. Hurrah!