Samford community, students and employees… It has been a couple of weeks now since I last occupied your email box. I thought we could all use a break. In my last communication, I reported “a sobering rise in the number of positive cases and contacts to COVID-19 at Samford.” I also stated that a continued increase, at that rate, would create significant challenges to maintaining our current operations. For those following our daily web reports, you have noticed that the COVID-19 positive cases and contacts on campus have sharply declined over the past two weeks despite national, state and regional upward trends. This is reflective of the hard work of employees and especially the diligence of our students. I am grateful and proud of you, our students and employees, for how you have helped us manage the COIVD-19 crisis. You are making the difference. Masking, distancing, washing, self-awareness… they work. We want to respond to this present opportunity in a prudent way.
An essential part of campus life is gathering together to share collective experiences and nurture friendships. Samford opened the school year limiting group sizes to no more than 50 persons and we’ve continued to operate with this limitation… until now.
Beginning on Monday, November 2, we are removing the 50-person maximum for Samford student organizations and student life events. Rather than a fixed number, the capacity of an event will be determined by 1) the posted COVID-adjusted capacity for a venue; and 2) the appropriateness of the event for that venue. For example, if a venue’s capacity is 100 persons in a theater style seating arrangement, then a group hosting a speaker or holding a membership meeting could use that venue up to its distanced limit by adhering to designated seat locations. Likewise, a standing event held under a tent on the Quad would be determined by the permitted density while adhering to physical distancing requirements. Instead of 50 attendees, an event in Reid Chapel could be held for 80.
Anyone wishing to submit an event or reserve a space for more than 50 persons will follow our normal procedure by registering with Bulldog Central. As part of this process, organizers will agree to post signage and make an announcement promoting safe practices. An additional approval from the Vice President for Student Affairs & Enrollment Management will also be required. That’s it. Our hope is to afford a few more opportunities to come together safely in larger groups to share collective experiences and nurture relationships.
Masking and physical distancing requirements remain, and we will continue our practice of not hosting events sponsored by outside organizations with visitors, at least through the end of the term. Why? Because our numbers demonstrate that these practices make a difference, you make a difference, even when the environment around Samford remains volatile. With continued vigilance, we will complete the Fall semester on campus and in the classroom as intended. At the same time, we must also anticipate returning home and ensuring the health of our families. Toward that end, please be exceptionally careful this weekend as it has the makings of the perfect storm for a super-spreader event: the combination of college football and Halloween assures social gatherings and good times.
Have a good time this weekend but be self-aware, be diligent and love your neighbor. Take care… Buck Brock
Harry B. Brock III (Buck)
Executive Vice President