Aug 21, 2020 |
To all of our students, those who have returned to campus many times before and those just coming here today for the first time, I know how excited you are to be coming to Bonaventure.
But this extraordinary time demands significant responsibility. You need to understand how tirelessly so many people at St. Bonaventure have worked to create a safe environment that gives us the best chance to remain in session until Thanksgiving.
The rest is up to you. You’re Bonnies. I know you care about each other. I think you’re up to it.
I’m sure you’ve seen by now that students at North Carolina and Notre Dame and Syracuse weren’t up to it. Carolina students were in session for one week and had to return home.
I’m sure most of their students were doing the right things, but just enough of them prioritized their selfish interests over the greater good of not only their university communities but the communities around them. Do you want your excitement about coming to campus extinguished in a week?
I know it won’t be easy but I believe you can do this. You’ve done all that we’ve asked so far.
You’ve taken the COVID tests we mandated. You filled out the screening forms we asked you to before arrival. If you were in a “hot” state, you came to campus or stayed with family in New York and quarantined for 14 days.
I spoke last night with many of the students who quarantined on campus at the “Get Out of Quarantine” dinner we held for them at Hickey. They gutted it out here for two weeks, alone, because that’s how much they want this semester to be a success. I know you share the same sentiment and are willing to make the small sacrifices necessary to help us get to Thanksgiving.
But we need all of you to abide by the Community Compact you’ll sign when you arrive. We all have an obligation to the campus community and the village of Allegany to protect not only ourselves but everyone within them. This county is one of the safest in New York. Eyes are upon us to keep it that way.
On campus, please wear your face covering, inside and outside. If you see someone without one, especially inside, don’t hesitate to let them know. If you leave campus to go into a public building, you must wear one. Please practice proper social distancing and wash your hands often.
More than anything, please do not host or attend large gatherings.
By the time this weekend is over, our Student Affairs staff will have spent hours over several days walking through the village, knocking on doors, dropping off PPE kits and educating our off-campus students on the importance of compliance. Village and county law enforcement simply will not tolerate parties that get out of hand.
We’re not trying to prevent you from being social. You just have to be social in smaller circles. I saw some students sitting around a bonfire in their Allegany backyard the other night, well apart from each other. That gave me hope that you all know what we need to do this semester.
I know you’ve seen the data, that many people in your age group are either asymptomatic or experience symptoms from which you would easily recover.
But you need to think about the faculty and support staff at Bonaventure you admire, whose age or health make many of them more vulnerable. You also have classmates with health concerns who deserve the same consideration.
In his off-campus house travels around Allegany Wednesday afternoon, Rob DeFazio, our associate dean for Student Life, articulated perfectly what should be our mantra for this semester: “Don’t be the reason we fail. Be the example why we succeed.”
We want you here. The eight weeks you were gone this spring made this vibrant campus feel hollow.
I wish all of you nothing but the best this fall. In return, I expect nothing but the best efforts of everyone – students, faculty and staff – to help this special community stay together for the next three months.
Peace and all good,
Dr. Dennis DePerro