Don’t risk Thanksgiving for Halloween! With just 27 days left of our in-person semester, a reminder to stay vigilant against the virus

The following message was emailed to students on Oct. 29.

Dear Students:

If there was any Halloween when wearing your mask is the most important part of your costume, this is the year.

COVID-19 is a continuing threat to your health and those of your loved ones. With Thanksgiving only 27 days away, we want to send you home healthy to your families, and we know our students want to protect their families by not bringing the virus home.

Watch this recent WABC Channel 7 news story featuring our students.

Test Before You Go

We will do our part by testing you before you go; please do your part by practicing good mask wearing, social distancing and frequent handwashing/sanitizing. There is strong evidence on our campus and elsewhere that these actions keep the virus at bay.

Get Your Flu Shot

Another way to head home healthy is to take advantage of the Student Health Center’s flu shot clinics.

Fight Pandemic Fatigue; Continued Vigilance Needed

We recognize that the fall semester has required you to be extra vigilant in your day-to-day activities to ensure we had a full in-person educational experience, and your vigilance has paid off. Our campus has an extremely low positivity rate, a testament to your responsible efforts.

But we have seen that pandemic fatigue is real, and the numbers of COVID-19 infections is on the rise around the nation and across Europe, shutting down cities and whole countries a second time since this spring because people have let down their guard.

We ask you to stay vigilant a little bit longer – 27 days until the end of in-person instruction this fall. With your help, we can reach our goal.

Your Loved Ones Are More Vulnerable to The Pandemic

While many (but not all) college-aged students here and elsewhere who have tested positive have had no or mild symptoms, that’s not the case for older members of our community and for your parents, your aunts and uncles and grandparents.

This week, the senior living community in New Paltz, Woodland Pond, experienced an outbreak, with 12 residents and three employees testing positive. This week, we also spoke with our two employees who recently tested positive for the virus. One is at home and one is still hospitalized; both continue to have difficulty breathing.

Your good behavior can protect your loved ones. We were heartened by the WABC Channel 7 news report cited above, hearing New Paltz students voice their concern for their family members as the reason they support testing before they go.

Halloween Infections and Quarantine Could Impact Thanksgiving Travel

One last thought: Don’t risk your Thanksgiving for Halloween.

An outbreak as a result of Halloween gatherings could put your Thanksgiving plans (and loved ones at home) at risk. We’re confident our students will prioritize Thanksgiving and time with family over risky behavior that invites the virus.

Remember, the Center for Student Engagement, in collaboration with many departments across campus, has developed a day-long suite of fun, socially distanced, outdoor Halloween activities that will allow you to enjoy the holiday while remaining safe. We look forward to waving hello at Saturday’s “Trunk or Treat” event!

We’ve got this at New Paltz, with your help. There will be more Halloweens. Be safe and well.

Donald P. Christian, President
Stephanie Blaisdell, Vice President for Student Affairs