As the second summer of the COVID-19 pandemic nears its end, we are looking forward to a return to campus in the Fall semester. This is the first full year on the new academic calendar, so we are starting earlier than usual, with the first day of class on 1 September. It is still quiet on campus, but activities are ramping up. GEO Tea Time resumed outside in July! And the research endeavor has continued nearly unimpeded as more and more people return to the labs and offices in Guyot Hall.
Vaccination and testing requirements are in place across campus and are working to keep us safe and healthy. We are all very impressed by the safety record of the student body on campus in the spring — their adherence to the social contract succeeded in minimizing case numbers on campus and made Princeton one of the safest places to be. Their vigilance, supported by a strong infrastructure (the new on-campus testing lab and continued asymptomatic testing for all, contact tracing, etc.) contributed to lower on-campus infection rates than in the surrounding region, and lower than expected. We are all very grateful to the students for their sacrifices — it cannot have been easy being restricted to a dorm room and taking all your classes online. Now with required vaccination of all staff, faculty, researchers and students, we look forward to a safe, if different, fall semester.
We are looking forward to welcoming all of our students back to campus and to the classrooms and laboratories of Guyot Hall. The building and all its facilities are the cleanest they have been in years! The latest campus guidelines (5 August) state up front that policies may change in the next few weeks, so we don’t really know what the fall semester will look like. We expect to see a lot of masked faces — but at least we will see you!