|Below, for your reference, is the full text of President Julio Frenk’s video message (above) to the University of Miami community. |
Today begins the eleventh week of our fall semester. That leaves just four weeks before students depart campus to study for final exams.
There were many questions about our ability to reopen campus this fall, but thanks to your efforts, thus far we have managed to balance the safety of our community with our commitment to education and forward progress.
Now, as we approach these last few weeks, I cannot overstate the importance of continuing to honor our agreement to prioritize the health and safety of each member of our community.
Challenges remain. A look at the numbers—globally, nationally, statewide, and locally—tells us we have entered a third surge of the pandemic.
At the same time, temptation abounds. Bars are open, curfews have been extended, and COVID fatigue is real.
With fall turning to winter, there is a risk that we will let down our guard, especially as we desire to resume year-end traditions—be it celebrating Halloween, gathering for Thanksgiving, or shopping for the holidays.
But we want to finish the semester together. I know our seniors are eager to have the unique experience of an in-person commencement. If we want to enjoy these rewards, now is not the time to get lax about large gatherings, face coverings, or any of the healthy behaviors you have adopted.
The vast majority of our students, more than nine in ten, are abiding by every measure they agreed to. We will continue to take swift disciplinary action against those who do not, because it isn’t fair to jeopardize the health and dreams of those around us.
The systems we have in place—including extensive testing and contact tracing—require everyone’s cooperation. Student compliance has been strong, and we will continue to test students until they leave campus to ensure we do not contribute to rising numbers in their home communities.
Faculty and staff participation in testing has not been nearly as robust. We understand that hybrid schedules may mean you are not on campus every day, but when you are selected for testing, please show up—just like our ’Canes showed up this homecoming weekend.
Our fiercest opponent now is one we share with the entire world: the threat of apathy in the face of a pandemic that hasn’t yet ended.
Do not back down, do not give up, do not let one another down.
We are entering the final quarter of the semester on campus—and we can finish strong.