Hold off on personal gatherings this Super Bowl Weekend

The following was sent to all students on Friday, February 5, 2021:

Dear Friends,

With the first two weeks of class complete and all of us returning to our routines we are still identifying a high number of students infected with COVID-19. We are also aware of the stories and social media posts of social circumstances where students are being less careful than last semester. Students are assuming more risk than usual by visiting friends’ (who are outside of their household) rooms and apartments, traveling long distances to go on ski outings, and engaging in, seemingly innocuous, close-quartered coffees and dinners without wearing masks.

With the temptation to gather offered by this weekend’s Super Bowl, now is a good time to take a time out. Pause and plan to curtail or significantly reduce any personal gathering and socializing with friends and family this weekend. And, adjust your personal habits to keep your mask on and up, and to stay sufficiently physically apart from even your friends and family. We know that the small gatherings and encounters – with friends and loved ones – are contributing to the spread of the virus.

Personally, I gave up on professional American football a few years ago, but the Super Bowl is a cultural occurrence that seems to be our annual ritual and right to gather. Despite a global pandemic, word is that millions of people, around the world, will watch the final American football game of the season. The first Sunday in February is, de facto, an unofficial American national holiday and I am worried that, this year, the novel coronavirus uses it as a human extinction event. (I also can’t wait to see what happens with commercials and if Daft Punk makes a cameo during the Weeknd’s halftime set.)

In getting ready for the weekend and this Sunday, February 7, I am sharing my pandemic-SuperBowl-watching-checklist:

  • free up the Sunday schedule by putting in a little extra schoolwork and chores beforehand
  • reconsider going into someone else’s bubble, pod, or household and stay rooted in the place you now call “home”
  • connect with the people who are not within your routine or usual travel via an online platform and not at their house, room, or apartment
  • cancel ski trip or travel somewhere else because the travel time is too long and the game, commercials, and halftime show are on
  • if you can, meetup, bundle up and hate-watch the commercials and the halftime show outdoors;
    keep your meetups to 4 people or fewer and connect with others through some online platform or app
  • no sharing this year. It may have been polite in the past to bring plates and bowls of food for sharing, but not now. Bring your own individually wrapped food, drinks and snacks. (By the way, check out these Super Bowl Sunday Delights.)
  • keep your mask on while you sip, chew, swallow, laugh, root, or cry; and,
  • always respect the distance – 6 feet or 2 meters – during your watch

If we all stay true to the checklist, we can play our part to protect and support through this unprecedented situation (and, perhaps, experience some joy). I acknowledge that this is difficult, but do your best to enjoy the spectacle of Super Bowl Sunday and keep things COVID safe,

Be and stay well,

Kenneth Elmore
Associate Provost and Dean of Students

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