March 24, 2020
It has been an extraordinary time of unsettling events in our community, nation, and world. We know that your lives have been upended and many of the things you were looking forward to have been cancelled. For graduating students, our hearts especially go out to you as this is certainly not how anyone anticipated marking the conclusion of your time on campus.
We are writing to you as religious leaders on the UW-Madison campus--while we represent different faith communities, we all share a common value in loving our neighbors. For many of us, we are used to doing that in-person and face-to-face; it is how we express and embody that love ethic. However it has become very clear that we must drastically change our behavior in order to care for the most vulnerable in our society at this time. For that reason, we ask that you express your care and solidarity for all our neighbors by doing the following:
Cocooning: Stay Put, Stay Home If you left campus and Madison, stay put if possible. The more people who go in and out of different communities, the more opportunity COVID-19 has to spread. Wherever home is at this moment, stay there except for essential activities like getting food or medical care. UW-Madison epidemiologist, Malia Jones, likens this to cocooning which is a more positive way to envision this period of time.
Physical Distancing: No contact, even one-to-one Practice physical social distancing. We know it is tempting to get together with just one other friend and think it won’t really impact things; please resist that temptation. Medical and public health professionals have been imploring people to stop getting together with other people, even one-to-one, who are outside of the household they are currently living in.
Stay Connected Virtually As we physically distance ourselves during this uncertain period of time, it is even more important to reach out both when we need support and when others need it. Stay connected to the people in your networks by asking for help when you need it, and checking in on others regularly. You can connect with any of us and we hope you do!
We acknowledge that these are difficult changes to make, but practicing them helps save lives. Encourage your friends to also do these things and create positive social pressure for people to cocoon, physically distance, and stay connected. Together, we will get through this.