Urgent Information About Timely Departure from Campus
I write to ask that you respond with a greater sense of urgency to the public health crisis that confronts us and depart campus as soon as possible. We know from meal counts in Commons and residence hall key returns, that too many students remain on campus.
With each passing day, we learn more about the extreme contagiousness of the COVID-19 virus and the threat it poses to vulnerable populations. This is why we made the difficult decision to send students home and complete the winter semester remotely. When we wrote to announce this news yesterday, we specified that any student who is within driving distance to home needs to leave campus this weekend. If you have not already departed, please plan to leave tomorrow.
Students who require flights or other transportation also need to move swiftly, as reports from Washington today suggest that there may soon be restrictions imposed on domestic travel. Please know that we are providing free transportation to airports, train stations, and buses. Information on these services can be found here. Only those students with complex travel arrangements are permitted to stay through 6:00 p.m. Tuesday, March 17.
Public health officials and our on-campus medical partners have reinforced this sense of urgency. One need look only to the NBA, Broadway, the Smithsonian, and public schools across the country to understand that any location that gathers large numbers of people in close quarters needs to take swift and decisive action.
As I wrote to you yesterday morning, I fully understand your deep disappointment at having your academic year – and for some, your Bates experience – end so abruptly. And, I truly sympathize with your desire to stay with your friends as long as possible. At this point, however, time is of the essence.
Out of respect for our campus community and concern about overwhelming the capacity of local hospitals to handle a sudden surge in COVID-19 cases, I implore all of you to move quickly to clear out your rooms and make arrangements to travel home. If you have questions or issues making arrangements, we have staff in Chase Hall who can help in any way.
Thank you for understanding – and for acting!