Monday Moments with President Bergman: October 19, 2020

Gustavus President Rebecca M. Bergman shares her thoughts with College students, faculty, and staff each week.
Posted on October 19th, 2020 by

President Rebecca M. Bergman

Congratulations, Gusties! We are halfway through the fall semester, and what a great community effort it has been. Pause for a minute and reflect on the hard work, creativity, resilience, and commitment to safe practices that have allowed us to get to this point. I am proud of the Gustavus community and deeply grateful for the way that everyone has adopted and followed the Gustie ROAR guidelines.

We have all learned a lot of new vocabulary associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. Here are a few terms that have become everyday language over the last eight months: novel coronavirus, PPE, social distancing, flattening the curve, asymptomatic spread, quarantine, isolation, and my two favorites–ageusia (loss of sense of taste), and anosmia (loss of sense of smell).

One of the new phrases trending now is “pandemic fatigue.” It is not a diagnosable disease or condition, but it is simply a descriptor of the impact of COVID-19-related stressors on our feelings, thoughts, and behaviors. Last spring, we thought that COVID-19 would be short-lived and we would soon get back to normal. By now, we know that is not true. Yes, we have all adjusted and adapted, and that is good, but sometimes it is simply exhausting. I know this is real. I have felt it, too.

Our COVID-19 positive case numbers are relatively low compared to many of our peer institutions, and, for these positive cases, the number of close contacts has also been relatively low. However, over the last week we have seen several small clusters of new cases. We are experiencing how a few cases can impact a large number of people, and we know that a spike in cases can quickly lead to a significant outbreak.

We must all recommit to following the safety measures that minimize the chances of COVID-19 transmission. At this halfway point of the semester, I ask that you continue to be patient with yourself and others, seek help if you are feeling anxious or depressed, be sure to get enough rest, and spend time outside.

This week, do a mental check-in as you go about your day to make sure your habits are safe and healthy. Assert control over the things you can–completing your daily self-screening, wearing a mask, staying six feet apart from others, frequently washing your hands, and avoiding larger social gatherings (especially those that are indoors). We must remain vigilant each day as we continue to confront COVID-19.

Until next week, Gusties, keep up the good work!

With respect,

President Bergman


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