The Covenant Bubble - COVID-19 Edition
First, thank you. Thanks for getting those test results to us as you have been moving into your rooms. I know that was a big ask and not convenient, but it has already yielded fruit in identifying a number of positives that will unfortunately need to start the semester remotely. We look forward to those students joining us soon (as well as those in quarantine), but this is an example of how observing these measures faithfully will help us stay ahead of a larger outbreak. Please keep distancing and wearing your masks and screening daily. Things that are not convenient are working and helping us move forward.
Second, the Covenant Bubble. For years students have joked about being in a bubble on top of the mountain. This year, I hope that can be a helpful picture for us. In the same way the NBA bubble has been a model process for successfully restarting a sports season and limiting transmission, the same principles should work for us as well. We want students to be very judicious this semester in limiting time off campus and then being very careful to observe the safety measures when off campus so as not to potentially bring the virus into the bubble.
Here is some additional information on the FAQ site of our Reopen webpage:
Question: Are students permitted to travel off campus, go to church, etc.?
We are asking students to limit off campus travel.* The more residents who travel off campus, the greater the risk of being exposed to COVID-19 and introducing it to our campus community. Students should minimize exposure by observing on and off campus the behaviors outlined in The Covenant Commitment. Wisdom should always be exercised. It is better to get take-out and eat outside. Do not pack as many people as you can into a vehicle. Drive with the windows down. Leave campus for a hike with friends, but large gatherings in close quarters should be avoided. There is a reason the virus is spreading in bars and fraternity houses. If students become aware of exposure to someone with COVID-19 while off campus, they should contact Health Services to inform them and receive guidance.
*Note: Students may leave campus for off-campus jobs, internships, practicums, etc. Students may also travel to church, for groceries, necessary supplies, services, etc., if the locations they are visiting make it possible to or are practicing CDC COVID-19 best practices, i.e., requiring masks, social distancing, etc.
So please limit the times you leave campus and then please observe the Covenant Commitment when you are off campus. This is another way to love your neighbor. Also, please be very intentional about researching churches ahead of time. Most churches in the area have dramatically limited capacity (usually 50%), have required safety measures in place, have created RSVP processes for those attending, and have more vulnerable people attending in some cases. Most are also providing live streaming options as a result. You may want to livestream the first couple of weeks in order to love the church well and give them and you time to plan and prepare. Your RAs may have ideas for hall worship or livestream options this weekend and next.
Finally, thanks for your attention to this and your ongoing compliance with the Covenant Commitment. These first days and weeks will be some of the hardest as you learn new habits of distancing, masks, hygiene, and screening, but they will bear fruit. Don't be surprised when others ask you to comply. We are doing it because we want to protect one another and because we like being here together. These measures not only allow us to practice sacrificial, Christ-like love to one another and the most vulnerable, but they are the very pathway to extending our time here on campus. I understand that constant vigilance is hard, but as someone who started doing this weeks ago, it does get easier and becomes second nature. Stick with it - it does work.
Blessings on your weekend,