I write to you so you will know how very important your choices are right now. You have the power to keep our community safe, campus open, and campus activities available. Without your help, we could lose the very things you told us you most wanted.
You, our students, told us that you wanted the option of face-to-face classes and activities, and we worked very hard this summer and fall to ensure that you could have that opportunity. Your campus options are at risk of diminishing.
The White House Coronavirus Task Force recently suggested that, due to positivity rates among 18-24-year-olds in Idaho, the University of Idaho, Boise State, and BYU-Idaho should consider shifting to online learning. We responded to the Task Force, explaining the information we shared with our community already.
This is true in spite of the fact that face-to-face classes and on-campus services are not the places in which the virus is spreading. Students are becoming infected in off-campus locations, like study groups and social gatherings when the people there are not engaging in good public health practices. As we approach Halloween weekend, I ask you to be conscious and take care. Limit the size of your social gatherings, wear your facial covering, and ensure you’re maintaining adequate physical distance from others.
We know you would not knowingly cause risk to one another or those around you. However, when the virus spreads in asymptomatic people, it increases the risk that it will spread to others who may be vulnerable. It increases the risk of serious illness. It increases the risk of death.
Hospitals all across Idaho have said they are experiencing ”the highest number of hospitalizations due to COVID-19 ever seen throughout the pandemic. This is placing a significant strain on hospital resources ….We are asking our communities to practice the personal responsibility behaviors that science has indicated will reduce the spread of COVID-19.”
Gov. Brad Little has echoed their message in response to these record-high numbers, saying “This is about personal responsibility, something Idaho is all about.”
I add my voice to their chorus: you have the power to make choices that keep our community safe, healthy, and open. Each and every one of you must take responsibility for doing your part. Every single decision to violate public health guidelines hurts our community — every single time. Be conscious. Be vigilant. Own it. Encourage one another daily.
Together, we can keep our community safe and healthy. Together we can address the challenges we face. We are Broncos. We’ve got this covered.
Dr. Marlene Tromp