Dear Samford community….I hope this email finds each of you in good spirits.
We know this academic year has been filled with challenges none of us could have imagined. We likewise know our students, families and employees have made sacrifices and been denied aspects of the Samford experience we all cherish. We can’t say it often enough: thank you for the grace, patience and perseverance you’ve shown this year. In ways we may not understand for years to come, I know we will be better for it. Nonetheless, we can’t avoid the reality that the year has introduced challenges we’ve never encountered.
Because of your wise choices and individual sacrifices made over the last eight months, we were able to make a number of adjustments to our pandemic protocols during this spring semester. We’ve reintroduced visitation by residential students among our campus residence halls, enjoyed attendance at athletic events, increased the size caps on group gatherings, hosted more of the social events we associate with the spring semester, and — especially exciting — announced plans for a fall semester that looks and feels like the Samford experience we’ve all grown to love over our 180-year history. My appreciation extends to all.
As we enter the final month of our academic year, one many thought we’d never experience in a face-to-face environment, it is important to remember how we got here: patience, grace, concern for others….and masks, testing and social distancing. We’ve worked together to attain our lowest positivity rates and number of cases on campus since the school year began.
It’s equally important, however, to remember what remains at stake this spring:
- A long delayed in-person graduation celebration for the Class of 2020 is only 12 days away.
- The last day of Spring 2021 classes and final exams are in 21 days, even fewer for some.
- Our 2021 graduates will have celebrated their graduations at Commencement ceremonies scheduled over the next 25 days.
My message is short and straightforward today: PLEASE don’t let down your guard now. While we’ve come so far, it’s still possible to fall short. We’re all more transient at this time than we’ve been for the last year. It is important to remember that COVID-19 continues to present a risk on our campus and in our community. New variants of COVID-19 are present and multiplying in the southeast. And, without mincing words, a significant number of us are failing to wear masks across campus.
It’s imperative that we all maintain our diligence and continued compliance with university health protocols throughout the remainder of the spring semester, including use of masks and facial coverings in all public spaces. Let’s all work together, recommit to finishing this year strong and absolutely ensure our 2020 and 2021 graduates are celebrated in the way they’ve earned.
Finally, in appropriate consultation with your health professional, we encourage all students to consider a COVID-19 vaccination. Beginning April 5, all individuals age 16 and older are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in Alabama. Samford previously provided vaccination access to all of our employees, and this week we are pleased to provide vaccinations to all of our students as well as the families of all students and employees. It’s not too late to register and receive a vaccination! You have until noon tomorrow to sign up yourself and/or your family members for our on-campus vaccination clinic this week:
I wish you well during these final weeks of the spring semester. Thanks to each of you for your ongoing cooperation in ensuring everyone’s safety and well-being.
God bless and take care…. Buck Brock
Harry B. Brock III (Buck)
Executive Vice President