Op-ed: Thank you

Ranen Miao, Student Union President | Rob Wild, Interim Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs

Dear Wash. U. community,

When we reopened in the fall, we did not know how it would go. We knew that a safe reopening was possible—but only with your commitment to the safety of our Wash. U. and St. Louis communities. As we near the midpoint of this semester, with very low numbers of active cases, we want to say thank you for doing your part in keeping us safe.

COVID-19 is a terrible disease. It has touched all of us—some more than others. We grieve with anyone in our community who has lost a loved one or been affected by this illness. We know the pandemic has caused financial harm to many on our campus and in our community. We know that many of you are struggling with mental health as we continue to experience the pain of racism and the instability of COVID-19. We know that physical distance has made it harder to make friends, and that masking guidelines have kept us from seeing each others’ faces and smiles. We commend all of you for these and so many other sacrifices that you are making for our collective health.

First, thank you for taking our public health principles seriously. Thank you for reminding each other about wearing masks, practicing good hygiene, completing your daily self-screenings and keeping physical distance.

In the months ahead, we hope you will continue staying diligent and using good judgment. We cannot let our guards down. Our COVID-19 dashboard shows that we have cases in our own campus community, so for the safety of ourselves and others, we must continue to work together to stay safe.

Second, support one another. Staying apart while being together is hard. The semester will have its ups and downs as always, and the pandemic adds to the stress that we feel as a normal part of our semester. If you or someone you know needs help or support, please reach out to the many people in our community who are here to help—to your academic advisor, your RA, Wash. U. Cares or the counseling resources in Habif Health and Wellness Center.

During this pandemic, we are all doing our best to get by. As a university administration and as Student Union leaders, we will continue to work towards an empathetic approach that not only hears your pain, but will act on it. We are grateful to serve such an incredible, vibrant and resilient community, and we will continue working hard to build a more equitable, safe and connected Wash. U.

We are so proud to be together as a part of the Bear Family and we are proud of all of you. Thank you. We know that if we continue to work together, we will get to the other side of this difficult time together.

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