Op-Eds Opinion

Springfield President Mary-Beth Cooper urges students to stay safe

Dear Students,

We are quickly coming to the beginning of the semester and I couldn’t be more excited. I know many of you are anxious to get back to campus and be together. We value that in-person educational experience is a key component of the unique Springfield College experience. The question on everyone’s mind is, can we create a safe environment to be together on Alden Street. I believe the answer is yes.

But, ultimately, it is up to you.

IT IS UP TO YOU.

I want to remind you of your community commitment and shared responsibility to be considerate of others and comply with health and safety requirements. I believe Springfield College is small enough that we can create a system for arrival and maintenance of study that is even more conservative.

We need to be deeply conservative in reopening. If we follow the guidelines we have set up – wearing a mask at all times, washing your hands frequently, social distancing, and staying home when you are sick – we can make this work.

If we do not do these things, our community members’ health will be at risk. 

If we do not do these things, we will be forced to return to remote learning and will ask our residential students to return home.

We know you want to participate and enjoy many of the great events, traditional and unique to Springfield College – whether you are a returning student, first year student, or graduate student. We are looking forward to the on-campus activities and events we so cherish here on Alden Street – practices with our athletics teams, club experiences, dance recitals, theater productions – even though they surely will look and feel different. I have been getting a lot of questions this summer about whether your organization or club will be able to hold your event this fall. The answer, every time, is that it is up to you. You will determine if we will be able to hold these events safely and whether you will get to experience them.

Some critics are saying we are being unrealistic in our plans to reopen. A number of colleges are walking back their plans to reopen in the fall by either reversing or altering them. Just yesterday, we all learned that the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill sent their students home after one brief week. A few colleges here in Massachusetts have changed their plans or delayed bringing students back to their campus by a month or longer. We know it won’t be easy. We know there will be tough times ahead.

Your actions will significantly impact every single person and community member at Springfield College. I am proud to serve as the president of a college where students are interested in learning and continuing their education. One of your biggest concerns that you are sharing with me is how to care for each other. Every person you come in contact with on campus is counting on you to diligently work to prevent the spread of this virus.

We are Springfield Strong.

#MaskUpSC

Dr. Mary-Beth Cooper

Springfield College President

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