I write to you regarding COVID-19, but more importantly, about the opportunity this outbreak gives us to both step forward with our commitment to educating ourselves and one another and pull together and live our UWC values.
In the spirit of educating ourselves, some important facts to begin: No one from the global UWC family has been infected by COVID-19. Only schools and colleges where the virus is present in significant concentrations have moved students off campus. To date, the U.S. has not been a high concentration country for the virus. Within the United States, Montezuma is isolated from major international transit points.
With all of the above said, we also know that the virus is in the United States. We know that a number of cases are of unknown origin. We know that a number of states and communities are declaring states of emergency as a means to allocate resources to support efforts to contain the virus and educate the public. And while the number of cases is beginning to fall or plateau elsewhere in the world, the number of cases is increasing in North America.
With the above points of fact in mind, our school leadership team has been working on contingency plans as we monitor the emerging situation. The main areas of planning address the potential for spreading the virus in our isolated community, a campus preparedness plan should we identify the virus on campus, and plans should the spread of the virus continue over a long period of time.
Here's what we can do as we live our UWC values:
- Educate ourselves and one another about how to stay healthy, including washing our hands often; keeping our immune systems strong by sleeping, eating, and exercising; and minimizing contact with those who might have come into contact with the virus.
- Take personal responsibility for all we can to minimize risk to our community--that is, act according to what we know in our personal habits and in our interaction with others and our environment.
- Carry the load only we can carry, without causing unnecessary distractions to others carrying their load; that is, act responsibly in our sphere of action and give time and space to those in other spheres of action to do the work only they can do.
- Trust that we are all doing the best we can, and make time and space for this to happen.
- Remember to keep educating ourselves and others, and don't give in to fear or panic.
This is, of course, an evolving situation. There is no reason to panic, but we are clearly focused on being prepared.
Whether we are UWC students, their parents and families, UWC staff, or UWC volunteers and supporters in any capacity, we will all be asked to trust one another as the conditions around the virus change. I am confident that we will all rise to the needs of this situation in a way that is constructive and effective. This gives me great pride in our UWC-USA community, near and far.
Our very best together,
Victoria J. Mora, Ph.D.