As we enter the winter holiday season under the shadow of the pandemic, I want to offer personal reflections, along with what I hope will be helpful suggestions and welcomed news.
First, we have reasonable grounds for hoping that 2021 will be a much better year than this annus horribilis. The delivery of a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine is on the horizon. And there are encouraging signs that the incoming administration in Washington will prioritize science, evidence-based solutions, and education.
However, the resurgent coronavirus pandemic will continue to affect virtually every aspect of our lives right now and over the next several months. If we were living in so-called “normal” times, the prospect of holiday parties, family reunions, and our week-long winter break would help us to shake off the effects of dropping temperatures and shorter days as we power through our work. This time around, sadly, we cannot socialize, travel, and celebrate the upcoming holidays as we traditionally have done, and remain safe.
But we can find other, safer ways to relax, recharge, hang out with one another, and have an enjoyable and meaningful holiday experience.
For starters, I hope that individual centers, offices, and departments feel welcome to hold virtual holiday parties during regular business hours, preferably in the afternoon to allow for games, singing, and socializing.
Second, I encourage everyone to check out the TC Come Together site for a host of wellness resources and tips to help each of us stay mentally and physically healthy throughout the holiday season.
And third, in appreciation of your excellent work and in recognition of both extraordinary sacrifices made and the exhaustion that nearly everyone is feeling, I am happy to announce that Teachers College will be closed on Wednesday, December 23rd and Thursday, December 24th prior to the official winter holiday break, which spans from December 25th through January 1st. The College will reopen on January 4, 2021.
A final word: The news around the world is filled with grim headlines about the pandemic, not to mention injustice, corruption, and human suffering on a vast scale. Yet each day also brings stories about human achievement toward bringing about, often against enormous odds, a smarter, healthier, more equitable and more just world, and the people of Teachers College are at the forefront of that work. In short, you offer glimmers of hope that our society and world will not just come back, but come back better. That is why you give me more reasons to celebrate. So please be good to yourselves, and continue to look out for one another.
President, Teachers College