To the best of our knowledge, the following guiding principle seems wisest to have in place: assume that we, or anyone we come into contact with, already has the virus, as a result of which we must take necessary steps to avoid needlessly putting others or ourselves in harm’s way. This principle will explain the measures below, some of which may seem extreme but we hope make sense in light of the principle just named.
In terms of on-campus meetings: office hours must be held via Zoom or over the phone. This should be the norm for every meeting. If a professor feels the need, for extreme extenuating circumstances only, to meet with a student on campus, please meet in an open space outside of the building, such as the park on Conway road, or the portico by the chapel. (If you are not sure whether something counts as an extreme extenuating circumstance, please contact Jay directly.) Please remain at least six feet apart and wash hands before and after any such meeting.
In terms of off-campus meetings: in light of the above principle, we strongly discourage any non-essential contact with people outside of your household. If you do meet with anyone off campus, please follow the guidelines issued by the CDC and the federal government, which includes keeping a distance of at least six feet from others, avoiding any gatherings larger than ten people, frequently washing your hands, and not touching your face.
We are fully aware that the above cuts across the grain of our pastoral instincts. We also want to be wise and not needlessly engage in contact that could spread the virus. Luther’s words are a help in this regard:
“I shall ask God mercifully to protect us. Then I shall fumigate, help purify the air, administer medicine, and take it. I shall avoid places and persons where my presence is not needed in order not to become contaminated and thus perchance infect and pollute others, and so cause their death as a result of my negligence.”
The great mercy is that in our day and age, we have many more ways to be present with students than Luther did. Let us take advantage of those ways as much as we possibly can.