When we made the decision to offer an in-person experience on our campuses this spring, we recognized that we must do so with the health and safety of each student, faculty and staff member as a top priority. The only way we can get on the other side of this global pandemic is to hold one another accountable and to ensure we are committed to daily actions, such as wearing face coverings, staying six feet apart, washing our hands and monitoring our personal health.
Today marks a year since the first reported case of COVID-19 in the United States. We certainly understand that this has been a challenging journey for each of us. With a commitment to public health, things look and feel differently this academic year. From the start, we especially limited the gathering of large groups to slow the spread of the virus. These guiding health and safety principles have not changed since winter break.
This past weekend, BGSU and city of Bowling Green police responded to several large parties off campus, with two of them estimated to have more than 75 people in attendance. The Office of the Dean of Students is actively investigating these situations, and as we unfortunately had to do in the fall, we will continue to hold students accountable who are found responsible, including suspension measures. Not only do these disappointing events compromise our community’s health and well-being, but they impact our ability to stay open on our campuses.
Testing, contact tracing, isolating and quarantining continue to be the most effective strategies to slow the spread of COVID-19. We are fortunate to have access to rapid antigen and PCR testing, which we continue to offer free to all students, faculty and staff, with a preference to those who are physically on our campuses. You may schedule an appointment today. In addition, as we did in the fall semester, we are resuming our surveillance testing, which will be conducted at random.
We are so close to overcoming this crisis, and we ask that you do not give up now. The COVID-19 vaccine distribution continues to ramp up, and we must remain resilient. To the majority of our community members who continue to make the right decisions, we are most grateful.
We are in this together, and you are critical to ensuring we can move forward.