Dear Taylor Community,
Life is marked by high-impact moments. We go through some of these individually, such as a serious illness or death of a parent or sibling. Others affect us as a group, as when a church is destroyed by fire. National events can mark a generation—those who remember World War II, when President Reagan was shot, the 9/11 terrorist attacks, or the 2008-2009 recession.
When a distressing, disorienting event happens during your college years, you have an unparalleled opportunity for intense, deep learning. The eruption of a global pandemic is this generation’s high-impact learning moment. It has been characterized from the beginning by uncertainty, slowly emerging facts, lack of reliable data, speculation, polarization, panic, and skepticism. But we have also witnessed responses of sacrifice, bravery, kindness, and generosity.
Taylor Together, Again
How does COVID-19 affect the Taylor community? What is our plan for coming together again after the Spring 2020 upheaval?
Our Taylor Together, Again plan reflects our current best thinking, supported by guidelines, counsel, and review from various experts. Together, we are figuring this out. No one can do this alone. I’m inviting you to join with us, as we continue to learn, adapt, and grow stronger through this. While we must hold plans and decisions loosely, to adapt to changing circumstances and needs, we must also cling tightly to our shared values. At Taylor, we have chosen to live intentionally, together, within the framework of our Life Together Covenant. Because we love God, we love the people He made, and we want to care for them well.
COVID-19 has affected each of us differently. Some of you don’t know anyone who has died, or even been infected. I know entire families who have fallen ill, and others who have lost a loved one to the coronavirus. Some students are experiencing the grief of deaths in their church family. Alumni and faculty remember colleagues like Dr. Herb Nygren who were struck down. Our experiences of COVID-19 shape our perceptions about risk.
Indiana has fared better than other states. And the counties surrounding Taylor have scarcely been affected. This, too, shapes our perceptions of what is needed. Students will be returning to Upland from all across the country. We want to do what we can to ensure that an “uninvited guest” doesn’t tag along with you. So, we are asking all of you to join with us in doing our best to help Taylor stay a safe campus.
As you know, students are at a low risk of getting sick, or showing symptoms. But the recent uptick in positive COVID-19 cases includes students and young adults. Many of our faculty and staff are in higher risk groups. When we ask you to wear a mask or take other precautions, our concern is not only for you, but also for them. Some measures may seem extreme now. It is my fervent hope that the need for these will soon end.
To our students: throughout this crisis, we have tried to give you choices. We have shared with you our preliminary Taylor Together, Again plans and asked you to acknowledge your awareness of the risks and expectations. You are adults, and it is our desire that you grow in responsibility and self-government, that you will mature in your decisions and behavior, that you would regard others more highly than yourself. This would include actions such as using the provided cleaning supplies to spot clean an area you are using, rather than expecting our housekeeping staff to disinfect every surface after each human touch. “Brothers and sisters, we urge you to warn those who are lazy. …. Take tender care of those who are weak. Be patient with everyone” (I Thess. 5:14).
This document represents our current effort to ensure that on-campus learning can continue, in as many “Taylor” ways as possible. We will learn in familiar ways and new ways. We can choose to grow stronger, to be better, and to creatively and courageously adapt to the disruptions forced upon us by COVID-19. You can help us improve the plan, make adjustments, and celebrate when it’s time to put it on the shelf.
Taylor Together, Again is a dynamic document, and is updated as needed. Weekly updates will be sent by email. You can also subscribe to immediate update notifications by subscribing using the form at the bottom of the page.
In the meantime, those of us in Upland eagerly anticipate when we all will be at Taylor Together, Again.
Faithfully in Christ,
Paige Comstock Cunningham, PhD, JD