Monday Moments with President Bergman: May 11, 2020Gustavus President Rebecca M. Bergman shares her thoughts with College employees each week.
Posted on May 11th, 2020 by

President Rebecca M. Bergman

Have you worn a face mask or cloth face covering out in public yet? They are the newest symbols of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the CDC is now recommending that we wear masks in public settings where it might be difficult to follow social distancing etiquette. Of all the new practices we have been asked to do to help prevent transmission of the virus—stop shaking hands, stay at home, keep six feet away from other people—wearing a face mask might feel the most unusual compared to ordinary life. Most of the time in Minnesota, masks are reserved for people who are in a hospital, a dentist’s chair, tackling a dusty job, or going outside in sub-zero weather. Now we are seeing face masks in the general public, at the grocery store, and—soon, for all of us on campus—at work. 

Wearing a face mask does not diminish the importance of social distancing, handwashing, cleaning surfaces, or keeping your hands away from your face. It is simply one more precaution we can take to flatten the curve, prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus, and protect the health of those around us.

I started wearing a face mask about 10 days ago. At first, it felt incredibly awkward and I was very aware of breathing inside a mask. But after a few trial runs at the grocery store and on campus, it is starting to feel like part of my “new normal.” This week, the College will be issuing a policy about wearing face masks at work, so now is the time to start practicing. We will have masks available for people who do not have access to a mask, or you can join the newest fashion revolution and make a washable cloth mask at home. The CDC has sewing and no-sew instructions for making masks, and you can use materials that you probably have around your house.

In these times of change and difficulty, I continue to appreciate the core values that guide our community. As we work through these last weeks of the spring semester, I find myself thinking about the acts of service that you all provide for the College. I am deeply grateful for your devotion to our students and the many and varied ways you have stepped up to keep our operations running smoothly. For those of you for whom Christian prayer is comfortable, please join me this week in a prayer to begin the work day taken from the ELCA’s Prayers and Blessings for Daily Life:

Generous God, you call us to lives of service.
In my words and actions this day, move me to serve in Christ’s name.
When I lack energy, inspire me.
When I lack courage, strengthen me.
When I lack compassion, be merciful to me.

In all things, O God, you are our way, our truth, and our life.
Reveal through me your life-giving work, that I love my neighbors as myself.
I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

When you see me with a mask on, please know I am happy to see you and smiling under the face covering.

Yours in community,



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