Published: April 17, 2020
To the Thomas College community, present and future,
I hope that this message finds you safe, healthy, and finding ways to embrace our new normal. I write to you today from my new desk: the kitchen table. While I have a perfectly functional home office upstairs, like so many other families, our youngest son is home from college, studying for a big exam, and he has claimed it as his own! That’s okay though, I’m happy to have a “Study Buddy” to keep me focused.
And I don’t really mind being relegated to the kitchen table as it puts me squarely in the center of action in our home – right between the coffee pot and the refrigerator. As I go through my daily routine of endless virtual meetings, my son (like so many of my colleagues’ children and pets), occasionally video-bombs me – making a cameo appearance as he sneaks a snack or another cup of coffee. And if there is a saving grace to working at the kitchen table, it is the place where the very best conversations happen. My son and I are able to have lunch together, listen to the CDC updates, and talk about all that is going on in this unusual time. Frequently we, like you I am sure, talk about what this all means for the future.
From our current students, their families, and the families of high school seniors bound for Thomas College, I hear similar worries: What will happen in the fall? Will we be able to move onto campus and take our classes there? How will the College ensure we are safe on campus and what will be the new normal?
The unfortunate truth is that none of us really knows what the extent of the disruptions to the college experience will be for new or returning students. However, now that the initial round of action and decisions to safeguard the immediate health and safety of the Thomas College community is done, the College can both cautiously and optimistically focus on our future.
I want our students, their families, and future community members to know that we will do everything we can to safeguard the physical and mental health of each and every student coming to campus this fall. This includes careful evaluation of traditional college campus life: how we work and interact academically in our classrooms and administrative buildings, how we play with student events, sports, and clubs, and how we rest, recharge, and stay heathy using our on-site health center and counseling services, dining facilities, and residence halls.
While we don’t know yet exactly what the fall will bring, we do know it will require new thinking and extra precautions. That is why we are already working to build a strong coalition with our community leaders in Central Maine. This includes representation from government officials, Maine business owners, partners in higher education in the Waterville area like Colby College, and our local hospitals, MaineGeneral Medical Center and Northern Light Inland Hospital, to make sure we are asking the right questions, drawing up the right plans, and ensuring that no stone is left unturned to safeguard the health and safety of every student, faculty member, and staff person on our campus.
I am committed to deliver a transparent and thorough account of the actions we will take as we work to bring our community back together on the Thomas College campus in Waterville as soon as we safely can this fall. I encourage you to follow us on Facebook,Instagram, or Twitter where we will be sharing additional information and announcements and where you too can re-charge by reading and sharing the stories of the resilience and dedication of our Thomas College community from your own kitchen table.
With deep respect, gratitude, and hope,
Laurie G. Lachance