By John Pistole
Welcome back Ravens!
We are so glad you’re back on campus or here for the first time. It’s been such a quiet, surreal time here these last five plus months. And it just confirms what we all know, or will soon learn, that AU is a relational campus community that does best when we can gather in person, augmented of course by online learning as needed and appropriate, as we did last spring.
This fall of course is different—so very different—and I’m personally asking each of you to do your part to help us keep AU a safe and healthy environment. You do this by social distancing and wearing your face mask while on campus, whether in a classroom, the KWC, the Marketplace, the library or Mocha Joe’s, other than while eating and sipping your coffee, soda or water of course. That’s why we’re asking you to sign our Community Care Covenant and use the AUCares Daon Glide app. And just to clarify, the app does not track your movements like many or most social media and other apps do to use the info for marketing or advertising purposes. It simply notes when you scan into a tablet at buildings on campus, after you’ve entered your daily health status and had your temperature taken. There’s no sharing of this location or health data with anyone unless you agree because you or a classmate, for example, test positive for COVID-19 and we want to see who might have been exposed. We’ll do the same for you and notify you if one of your classmates tests positive without identifying that person.
By now I’m sure you’ve seen many schools around the country announce that they’re going entirely online with virtual learning this semester and some like Notre Dame and Butler going virtual for the next two weeks. The announcements generally include a statement that if the partying doesn’t stop, with the corresponding significant uptick in positive cases because students didn’t wear masks or social distance at these off-campus parties, then the schools will choose to send everyone home and continue with virtual learning only. Although our faculty and staff did a phenomenal job of transitioning to all eLearning last spring, I don’t think that’s any of our preference. Which gets us back to our Community Care Covenant and the opportunity—and responsibility—each of us has to stay safe by following the rules and guidelines we’ve set out.
Our God is an awesome God who we worship and pray to for strength and guidance, regardless, or perhaps, in spite of our circumstances. And as we start this new school year, let’s all work together, the Raven Way, to show others how it can be done!
I look forward to seeing your beautiful masked faces around campus! And may the peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.