The new academic year is in session, although not the way anybody would have imagined at the start of the calendar year. While it is disappointing not to have in-person classes, the news of universities around the country shutting down following COVID-19 outbreaks mere days after the return of students reinforces our need for continued separation and a severe reduction in the number of people on our campuses.
Athenians Care, an MSMU Wellness initiative, was created in the spirit of caring for one another and our neighbors. The public health education campaign, following guidance by federal, state and local public health departments, aims to minimize the presence of COVID-19 on both campuses by educating members on ways to prevent contracting the virus, how to recognize symptoms of the illness, and what to do if one is exposed to or potentially symptomatic from the disease. The information is disseminated via visual, print and social media as well as peer education.
Linda McMurdock, vice president for student affairs, spoke to Katie Bahr at uscatholic.org about campus preparations for the new academic year. In the article “Catholic Colleges Continue to Serve Students Amid Pandemic Uncertainty,” she describes Athenians Care as epitomizing the work of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, as it was created to serve the community at large and respond to the needs of the time.
“Those are two elements of our charism and our mission that guide us as we approach this difficult time,” she was quoted as saying in the article. “It has been pretty remarkable to see that the institution really does live and breathe its mission. We’re trying to make sure everybody is being taken care of to the best of our ability.”
Members of the Mount community – students, alums, faculty, staff and friends -- are encouraged to read more about Athenians Care on our website and to sign the virtual wall pledging to follow its guidelines to best protect our collective health.