This has been a particularly eventful week for our community. Loyola has plans to handle winter storms, power outages, water issues, and the pandemic, but this week we found ourselves implementing all those plans at once. In my 16 years at Loyola, I have not experienced a week like this one.
I am deeply grateful for professionals across campus who worked around the clock, as well as the Baltimore City employees who repaired the water main, to address those issues and return the Evergreen campus to its normal COVID-19 operations. I also want to thank our students, who demonstrated not just their support for one another, but also patience and resilience as the issues were resolved.
Times like these certainly demonstrate the strength of our community and the extraordinary ways in which we respond in moments of crisis. These moments also offer opportunities to reflect with gratitude on all we have and share as a community.
As the semester becomes increasingly busy, please consider reaching out if you could use a little extra support. These first weeks on campus can be a difficult time as far as making friends and connecting with people. This time of social distancing can add to that challenge. Your RA and Evergreen are eager to help you find your home at Loyola. Professionals in the Counseling Center
, Campus Ministry
, or the Office of Student Life
are also prepared to assist you and would welcome your call or email.
Remedying a loss of water or electricity can seem like an easy fix compared to finding your place in a community. But those personal connections are critically important, especially in a time when many are dealing with loneliness and isolation. Be patient and gentle with yourself and know that people across the University want to get to know you better and help you find your community within our community.
We launched our revised COVID-19 dashboard this week, and we will continue to update it to make sure you have the latest information about COVID on our campuses.
As we are conducting contact tracing for students who have tested positive, we are finding that some students have a large, extensive network of contacts. Please remember to keep your close contacts limited to reduce your—and your friends’ and acquaintances’—potential exposure to COVID-19.
You should absolutely spend time with friends, but please be safe and wear your masks, whether visiting indoors or outdoors. Avoid parties and gatherings. We are seeing how those are having an impact on other colleges and how these events can derail the safe, healthy semester we are trying to enjoy together.
Transmission on campus has been occurring in small pockets, and we hope to continue to mitigate the spread of COVID in our community. We continue to have plenty of isolation space. I am pleased to report that students who have tested positive have all remained in good health, experiencing, if anything, mild symptoms.
Yesterday, our community gathered virtually for our fourth annual Hope and Renewal Prayer Service. That interfaith service is always a beautiful moment for our community to come together in prayer.
May your mind and heart be full of hope as we journey forward through this time together. Know that you and your families are in my prayers.
Rev. Brian F. Linnane, S.J.