Monday Moments with President Bergman: September 21, 2020

Gustavus President Rebecca M. Bergman shares her thoughts with College students, faculty, and staff each week.
Posted on September 21st, 2020 by

President Rebecca M. Bergman

As we look forward to coming together as a residential community once again with almost all of our students on campus, I am struck by the fact that I am both excited and nervous. I am excited about Gusties seeing friends and colleagues again after many months of being apart from each other. At the same time, I am nervous about our collective ability to be “on our toes” at all times when it comes to transmission of coronavirus. And, yet, this is what is required of us — each and every minute of each and every day — to protect ourselves and each other from contracting COVID-19. The safety of our community as a whole is entirely dependent on each individual person following the safe practices all the time. We all must ROAR! together out of a common commitment to the entire Gustavus community.

Over the weekend, my family got together for an outdoor picnic at our home in the Twin Cities, which has been our practice throughout the summer. We are all being very careful to stay outside as much as possible, maintain at least six feet of distance between people, wear our masks, and frequently wash our hands. Watching my two-and-a-half year old granddaughter was particularly fun. She has learned how to wear a mask for more than 30 seconds, and she has become quite interested in washing her hands, which I think she would do about every five minutes if we allowed her to do so. But the cutest COVID-19 accommodation she has learned is to give all of us “leg hugs” before she goes home. It melts my heart every single time.
For adults, it is not quite so easy for us to find an equivalent gesture of caring and affection with our friends and colleagues as a two-year-old hugging her grandma’s leg. We are social beings, and we want to be together — talking, laughing, and sharing feelings and frustrations about these unusual times we are in right now. But, we also know that social interactions are the most likely way that the virus is being spread. It’s a real dilemma, and it is important that we acknowledge this challenge and encourage each other to stay safe. This fall, your personal commitment to safety and the overall wellbeing of our community are completely intertwined. We must each do our part to allow our community to successfully live and learn together for the remainder of the semester. I know we can do this.
Until next week, Gusties, I am counting on you to ROAR all the time (with a mask on and six feet apart, of course)!
With respect,
President Bergman

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