Message from President Bradley About Staying Healthy On Campus

Dear all,

I am writing with critical health information about COVID-19 and staying healthy on campus. If we work together and follow some simple practices judiciously, we can keep our community healthy and safe. I ask us all to take responsibility for our own actions and help others as well, as we live and work together through this pandemic.

First, stay informed. The most reliable source for facts about COVID-19, the disease caused by novel coronavirus is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) The most reliable source for Vassar-specific information is at Stay on top of your email as important messages will be coming to you from the College regularly.

Second, recognize that everyone (including ourselves) is a potential source of the disease, so act the same way (the safe way) towards everyone.

Third, practice good health behavior as individuals and as a community.

  • Keep talking with and watching out for each other
    If someone seems to be feeling poorly (particularly sneezing, coughing, or having fever), suggest they seek medical attention. Also, remind people of all the advice that follows.
  • Use social distancing
    You have heard the term “social distancing.” That means stay six feet away from others, so that virus spread is less likely. Convert all meetings that you can to online or over the phone.
  • Do not touch
    While it may seem extreme, please refrain from hugging, kissing, or shaking hands with others. You may have heard people suggest a fist or elbow bump instead, but avoid those too. Do not share food or drink. Cover your mouth and nose with tissue or clothing if you have to cough or sneeze.
  • Perform hand hygiene regularly
    Wash your hands frequently (for 20 seconds) with soap and water. Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available. Do not put your hands in your mouth or nose, and do not touch your face. The virus lives for some time on surfaces (e.g., doors, door knobs, countertops) for an unknown length of time, so frequent hand washing or use of hand sanitizer is critical for staying healthy. It takes about 20 seconds to sing Happy Birthday twice.
  • Maintain good overall health practices
    Maintain good health with adequate sleep, stay hydrated, eat healthily, get exercise, and continue to take any medications you are on, so that you can stay physically and mentally healthy. COVID-19 is much milder if you are generally healthy.
  • Do not attend large gatherings
    Keep your activity limited to small, essential gatherings, and avoid large gatherings (50+ people) and congested spaces where you may become exposed.

Fourth, contact Health Services or a physician if you:

  • Have a cough, fever, or have difficulty breathing.
  • Are returning from travel to high risk/Level 3 area per CDC.
  • Have contact with someone who has confirmed COVID-19.

Fifth, we are keeping our areas clean. Facilities Operations will be implementing increased cleanliness and disinfection processes as recommended by the CDC. Facilities has chlorine misting machines that we are using to treat all high touch surfaces and bathrooms in the occupied buildings twice a day and in the academic and lower use buildings at least once a day.  We have also stocked up on bleach, so that we can continue this work or increase it if necessary.  In order to allow for sufficient staff time to do the disinfecting, we are deprioritizing normal cleaning like vacuuming and getting to those tasks as time allows. Please help by keeping your work and living spaces neat and tidy—wiping down doorknobs, handles, keyboards, phones, and frequently used surfaces regularly.

Thank you for your attention to these ways of living together. Together, we can continue to fulfill our mission of providing the highest quality liberal arts education in a safe, healthy environment.

I hope your friends and family are ok, and let’s keep in touch. Reach out to me at any time.

President Bradley

P.S. I like this poem (thank you Sam Hoher for sharing it)

Conversations will not be cancelled.
Relationships will not be canceled.
Love will not be canceled.
Songs will not be canceled.
Reading will not be canceled.
Self-care will not be canceled.
Hope will not be canceled.
May we lean into the good stuff that remains.
Words by @jamietworkowski

Elizabeth H. Bradley, President
Vassar College
Poughkeepsie, NY 12604