Letter to Students – Labor Day Weekend

Dear Sweet Briar Women,

I doff my hat to you for completing the first week of the twelve-week term. From my office on the second floor of Fletcher, I see you sauntering off in twos and threes, always with your masks on. I am most grateful to you for the vigilance with which you have kept the community safe.

This coming Monday, September 7, is Labor Day. And although Sweet Briar will hold classes as usual that day, as we enter the Labor Day weekend, I want to be sure you continue your vigilance – and stay on campus, if possible. The Labor Day weekend, like the Memorial Day weekend, is the most cherished of the holidays. It brings families and friends together in small reunions, parties and backyard barbeques. In so doing, it helps sustain us – but it can also be lethal.

Last Memorial Day got us a massive spike in COVID-19, as people bolted out of the suffocating isolation of home. The result was four million in new cases in two weeks, after the virus had incubated. The Fourth of July did not help much, either, as the cities and states lifted commercial restrictions. We are still suffering the consequences of such incaution.

COVID-19 is increasingly being transmitted through small, family-driven parties. These parties are no less dangerous for being small and for involving families and friends – or for being close to home. I read that half of the Airbnb bookings for the Labor Day weekend are for locations within 300 miles of a person’s home.

While none of our students has tested positive for the last two weeks, it is worth remembering that you could be “asymptomatic,” a silent carrier of the virus. Please be careful.

If you must leave the campus this weekend, please make sure to keep your social activities outside. Stay with people to whom you were exposed all summer long, rather than introduce new people into your “bubble.” Stay away from buffets, and as always, remember the masks and social distancing. Here is the CDC guideline on protecting yourself this weekend.

Be well,
Sincerely,
Meredith Woo
President