As we begin our fall 2021 semester, I am delighted to welcome you all—our new and returning students, faculty and staff—back to campus! It is invigorating to see all of our spaces coming alive again, and there is a palpable sense of excitement in the air over what we can collectively accomplish.
Recent experience has taught us that there is no challenge that we cannot meet. Consider all we have been through over the past sixteen months: a pandemic; social upheaval; and a long overdue national reckoning on racism and racial injustice.
Our mettle, resourcefulness and spirit were all severely tested.
Yet we all came together to rise to every occasion. And we prevailed. The speed and skill with which we adjusted to new virtual reality, as it were, made us better innovators, collaborators, and colleagues. Our community’s response to the aftermath of George Floyd’s murder brought out the best in all of us.
I especially want to thank our public safety, facilities, and other essential staff who kept the campus safe and operating throughout the pandemic, as well as our administrative staff, faculty and students whose innovation, resourcefulness and collaboration enabled us not only to persevere but to emerge from the pandemic stronger than ever.
As we return, I strongly urge everyone to please help keep our campus and neighborhood community safe by observing all of the protective measures that we have in place. While we all are happy and excited to be returning to something close to normal operations and activities, the rapid spread of the highly transmissible Delta variant of the coronavirus across the United States requires us to keep our defenses up. Put simply: Vaccination and indoor masking still afford the best protection against transmission and serious illness.
Finally, as we come together to recommit ourselves to our shared vision of creating a smarter, healthier, more equitable world, I encourage our faculty to begin their classes over the next few days by leading a silent moment of remembrance for all those we have lost during the pandemic, and for those who continue to suffer.
It is my great honor to serve alongside all of you. And it is good to be back together in person.
President, Teachers College