Student News

Community Support and Coronavirus

Jessica Day – February 5, 2020

Dear Students,

As you know, coronavirus and the flu have been in the news on a daily basis recently, so it’s a good time to reiterate that here at Deerfield our community’s health and wellness are a top priority. Dr. Austin and members of Senior Staff have been monitoring coronavirus-related updates and also best practices and recommendations from the CDC, the State Department, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, and the US Department of Health and Human Services. We have been working to support students and families who have been affected by the virus and the uncertainty it has caused. We’ve paid particular attention to travel restrictions as Long Winter Weekend and Spring Vacation approach.

To ensure access to helpful information, we have created a webpage that holds in one place all of the communications on this topic to our broader community. We will continue to update this page and are committed to keeping you informed.

The most recent update from Dr. Benson at lunch today addressed health on campus; Sunday night we heard from Dr. Austin, who reminded us all to focus on empathy and reason.

Ms. Creagh just reached out again to students who have addresses on DAinfo from Hong Kong and mainland China, and to some others who may be affected by potential travel disruptions and restrictions. If you did not receive this email and are concerned about travel home during breaks, please reach out to Ms. Creagh directly.

Through each of the steps above, we’ve recognized how troubling it must be for those in our community who are being affected by the many factors related to this health crisis. We know that some of you are concerned about family members and friends and not being able to connect or visit with them face to face; you may worry about the impact of this situation on your identity, or the prospect of dealing with racist sentiments and xenophobia directed towards Chinese and Asian communities.

These concerns don’t need to be managed alone or in isolation. To create a shared space and to ensure that our students feel safe and cared for, the Office of Inclusion, the Student Life Office, and the CSGC are working together with the ASA to gather students who identify as Chinese for dinner tomorrow evening (Wednesday) from 6-7:30 pm in Ephraim Williams. Our goal is to share stories, feelings, and concerns with others who have been directly impacted by recent events. The advisors for the ASA and a few other adults will be present to provide support. So that we have enough food, kindly RSVP to Ms. Young to let her know if you are coming. In that setting and others, we want to continue the conversation that began on Sunday night with Dr. Austin’s call for sensitivity and support for our Chinese community. We look forward to partnering with all of you in those efforts.

In the coming days and weeks, we will continue to prioritize the health and well-being of our community, the support of our students, and the commitment to empathy and reason.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to anyone in the Student Life Office, the Office of Inclusion and Community Life, or the Chen Center for Health and Wellness if you have questions or would benefit from additional support during this challenging time.

Best regards,

Ms. Creagh and Ms. Young