Oct. 30, 2020 – Staying strong as we head into Halloween
Dear Vanderbilt students,
Last week, I shared with you the troubling news that we had seen a rise in COVID-19 cases among our undergraduate students. I sincerely appreciate how seriously you are working to help one another and our Vanderbilt community. I write today to let you know that we are seeing some progress in slowing the spread among undergraduates, based on the number of new positive cases so far this week compared to last week. However, there are new undergraduate student positive cases, and the risk that accompanies these and all positive cases requires sustained attention by our university community. Further, the continuing rise of positive cases in the general Nashville population remains especially concerning. We all must continue to stay strong in our efforts to stay healthy together.
Staying strong is especially important as we head into Halloween weekend, complete with a full moon this year! Although in normal years Halloween would be a time for parties and large social events, this is not a typical year. That doesn’t mean that we can’t still celebrate; it just means we have to get creative and stay focused on safety—physically distancing and wearing face masks are highly effective in preventing spread.
I encourage you to participate in some of the many special, free events that our faculty and staff have planned for you to celebrate Halloween on campus and virtually. Many are volunteering their time and energy this weekend to make these events possible. From a haunted tour of the Vaughn Home with self-guided audio, to pumpkin painting and a special, one-time, in-person Halloween movie event complete with free food trucks, the events will be fun and festive. They are designed to provide a safer alternative to hosting or attending off-campus parties or attending gatherings downtown that would violate our safety protocols.
We also created these events because we recognize the importance of celebrating holidays, having fun and coming together in new ways. The ability to connect with friends, to meet new people and simply to relax and unplug is important for everyone and serves to strengthen our One Vanderbilt community even during unusual times. In doing so, I simply ask that you all continue to look out for yourselves, one another and those who are most vulnerable.
Thank you for your continued efforts in support of our common goal: to stay strong, and to stay healthy together, as we head toward Thanksgiving.
Have a safe and happy Halloween!
Susan R. Wente
Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs