Message to Students, Faculty, and Staff—Spring Break (March 19, 2021)

To students, faculty, and staff,

Our abbreviated “spring break” begins at the conclusion of classes later today, and I encourage each of you to step back from your work and get some rest.
As you know, we made a conscious decision to start the semester late to avoid travel and gathering here during what was the winter peak of infections. This was the right decision, but it obviously meant a compression of the academic calendar and the loss of this traditional extended break. It’s a big loss, and one felt by all of us.

When we return next Wednesday, there will be just over sixty days until the end of the semester—days that will grow warmer and longer, allowing us to be outside more often and, with a little luck, closer to the time when vaccinations will allow a return to the lives we all miss.

Everyone at the College has very high standards. You all take your responsibilities seriously, and that’s why you achieve so much. But for the moment—for the next several days—please take time for yourselves to get some fresh air and exercise and to focus on your mental health.

This past year has taken a massive toll on so many in our country—on physical and mental health, jobs, and economic conditions. And it has taken the lives of nearly 540,000 individuals in the US alone. I am incredibly proud of how this community has pulled together, from the very beginning of this pandemic. I know it has been over a year of managing its relentless consequences, and I thank you for all you have done and what you’re doing to stay safe, to keep others safe, and to take care of yourselves during these trying times.

All the best,

Clayton