Dear EGSC faculty and staff,
I am writing to extend my sincere thanks to all of you for the high level of leadership you have demonstrated this fall in managing the COVID-19 pandemic at our college. You are masking up, social distancing and encouraging our students to do the same. This has made a major positive difference.
As of the time I write this letter, we have had 36 COVID-19 positive cases in September 2020 (employees and students) at EGSC. Any one case is, of course, one too many. However, given national and state trends, 36 is a good number at this time.
I do have concern because I have had many say to me that they are so glad we have made it through the pandemic together. I always say in response, “I am glad we have made it this far together. We have so much more work to do. For example, there were 23,635 COVI-19 cases in Georgia in just the last two weeks. That’s a lot of our fellow Georgians who are still falling ill and facing serious long-term consequences from COVID-19.
One of my hobbies is running marathons (slowly). Think of it this way. In a 26.2 mile race, we are perhaps somewhere between the 6-10 mile markers. If we are on pace at this point (and EGSC is on pace), we simply have to stick with our race plan. If we do, we will have the immense satisfaction of finishing the race strong and celebrating. If we lose our concentration and deviate from the race plan, we may find ourselves injured and disappointed.
Also, I would like to ask each of you to consider getting a flu shot soon. This is even more important than ever this year. As stated on the CDC website:
Who Needs a Flu Vaccine and When
“Getting a flu vaccine is more important than ever during 2020-2021 to protect yourself and the people around you from flu, and to help reduce the strain on healthcare systems responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
This is also a good time to remind out students How COVID-19 Spread, Centers for Disease Control (Updated Sept. 18, 2020):
“COVID-19 is thought to spread mainly through close contact from person to person, including between people who are physically near each other (within about 6 feet). People who are infected but do not show symptoms can spread the virus to others. We are still learning about how the virus spreads and the severity of illness it causes.”
Any particular student may feel great right now and, yet, you may have COVID-19. Please ask them to think about the possibility of spreading COVID-19 to friends and family even if they are asymptomatic. Please remind them to continue masking up and social distancing even if they are feeling fine.
Finally, as you know well, we are learning more and more about COVID-19 each day. One of the key lessons is that some individuals suffer long term effects from COVID-19. This includes young people, and our students need to understand that they run risks similar to older adults:
A new study warns the virus is ‘a life-threatening disease in people of all ages.’
NY Times, September 10, 2020
“The coronavirus may be best known for the brutal toll it has taken on older adults, but a new study of hospital patients challenges the notion that young people are impervious.
The research letter from Harvard found that among 3,222 young adults hospitalized with Covid-19, 88 died — about 2.7 percent. One in five required intensive care, and one in 10 needed a ventilator to assist with breathing.”
Please stay healthy and safe and keep up the excellent work.
East Georgia State College