As I continue to meet with people, the overwhelming desire I hear is to return to having most classes be face-to-face this fall. Right now, our leadership team is working with faculty, staff and students on a comprehensive Saluki Safety plan that has us returning to normal, provided that we continue to test, wear masks, practice social distancing and stay within the guidelines of the state, county and city.
We are at this point because of Salukis’ determination and diligence. It is why I look toward the future with hope. We had a successful fall semester and a strong start to the spring semester, thanks to you.
I thank our faculty for being so flexible in their teaching and research, often keeping up the tradition of providing undergraduates with opportunities reserved for graduate students elsewhere. Our professors and students adapted to many classes being held online or a hybrid of in-person and virtual instruction. I thank our staff for serving students and going out of their way at all times to see students get what they need.
I thank our students for wearing masks, practicing social distancing and following other health and safety protocols. In circumstances like no other, they stayed committed to their education. Because of their — and their professors’ — carefulness, we have no reports of COVID infections from attending classes in person.
I thank our leadership team, which has been very busy with planning, facing many unknowns. As the situation evolved, they adapted those plans to ensure our success.
In the face of unprecedented challenges, our students, faculty and staff found innovative ways to learn, teach and work. Salukis have been a model of resilience in the time of COVID-19.
We have done well so far, thanks the collective efforts of Salukis. We have arrived at this point because Salukis care about the safety of those around them. Of course, this is no time for overconfidence or complacency. We still have a lot of work to do. But I believe we can all stay safe if we keep working together.
At SIU Carbondale, we are doing better than many other places, as evidenced by our low number of positive cases. And we intend to stay that way. If we calmly address the obstacles and continue to adhere to health and safety protocols, we will maintain our progress, come through this cloud of COVID and get close to normal.
If trends continue in the right direction, fall 2021 could more look like fall 2019 than fall 2020.