Posted: March 16, 2020
To all Laurier students,
We are in the midst of an extraordinary global health crisis. The world’s top experts are urging all of us to take dramatic action to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
This is not a joke. This is real.
Each one of us needs to step up and take responsibility for protecting those among us who are most vulnerable to this deadly virus. As young adults, it’s true that you are least likely to become seriously ill from COVID-19. But you can easily transmit this virus to others who aren’t as strong as you — small children, grandparents, and those both young and old who have underlying health difficulties and compromised immune systems.
For this reason, I implore you not to be part of the unsanctioned street parties associated with St. Patrick’s Day or any other large public gathering. Waterloo Region’s medical officer of health and the chief of the regional police service are urgently warning everyone to avoid gatherings of 250 people or more. The dense crowds, the coughing and sneezing, the people who travel here from outside the region, the sharing of drinks… such gatherings are the perfect environment for the transmission of COVID-19 and other viruses.
Unsanctioned street gatherings have always been unsafe. Every year dozens of people are sent to hospital after being assaulted, injured, or harmed by binge drinking and drug overdoses. The threat of COVID-19 compounds these dangers and adds even more work for hospitals and health-care workers who are already overloaded.
People and governments across the world are taking unprecedented steps to contain COVID-19 — borders have closed, companies have shut down and entire countries are living under strict quarantine. Surely you can refrain from one day of partying in a crowded space in order to do your part for the greater good? To do otherwise would be appallingly irresponsible.
One of the things that makes Laurier so special is the value we place on community and personal leadership. We need to demonstrate that leadership to the broader community. I urge you to tell your friends and others not to come to our community on St. Patrick’s Day and not to participate in any large group celebrations — be they unsanctioned street gatherings or any other large event.
This is a time for you to shine as members of the Laurier community — to show yourselves and the world what it really means to be a Golden Hawk.
Do the right thing on March 17. Stay away from unsanctioned street parties.
President and Vice-Chancellor
Wilfrid Laurier University
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