Dear College of Science Faculty and Staff,
We are watching with deepest concern as India is ravaged by COVID-19, and now South American countries are contributing a large percentage of global COVID cases. We extend heartfelt and most sincere hopes for an improved situation to our College of Science faculty, staff and students who have family and friends in India, or in other countries severely affected. We hope that international efforts to send medical supplies and vaccination materials will rapidly assist. Here are some ideas you can consider to help India through this crisis.
Amidst the deep worry of COVID rise across the globe, it seems unreal that in the United States things are going better. In Massachusetts, one third of the population is vaccinated against COVID. If you know anyone(s) who is hesitant about getting the vaccine, please consider stepping up and encouraging them. Help them find an appointment, even offer to accompany them. There are now plenty of appointments available in every state. Remember to explain that you cannot catch COVID from the vaccine, and tell them your vaccination story. I was grateful to have my second shot last week, and pleased to feel cruddy the next day, a sign of good immune response. Let’s work together in the COS, to encourage all faculty and staff to get vaccinated. Vaccination will be required for our students in the Fall. Thank you for helping to Protect the Pack and beyond!
And amidst these deep global worries, it was a surprise to be invited to remove our masks outside, so long as we can distance from others. The CDC advises that fully vaccinated people may remove their masks outdoors, while the Massachusetts guidelines that we follow at Northeastern are broader. Please do what feels comfortable to you. As required, we will continue to mask up outside in more crowded areas, and in any indoor spaces, including our Northeastern buildings, labs and offices.
The no-mask thing may be unnerving because it changes a way of life that has become constant and comfortable. While I was digesting the new directives on an evening walk, there up above was the familiar constellation of Orion, and that encouraged me quite a lot. I love Orion for its constancy – I grew up with it in the Southern sky, and it followed me North. You can count on Orion’s stars – Betelgeuse the old red giant, diagonally across the ‘shield’ from Rigel, an intense blue giant, the ‘belt’ stars – Mintaka, Alnilam and Alnitak, and the Orion Nebula below. The stars look connected, and in most constellations that’s an illusion of our vantage from earth, but actually the stars of Orion are in the same local arm of our galaxy, the Milky Way, albeit hundreds of light years distant. We can count on these bright neighbors, all our lives.
We can also count on the constancy of our important mission in Science. On our research towards meeting the challenges of society and our planet; on offering empowering, mind-stretching education; and on building a culture of respect with action towards equity. You can count on our working together as COS members – collaborating, supporting, being kind, calm and creative. Amidst the deep worry of COVID across the globe, you can count on the power of Science. Thank you for your thoughtful contributions, thank you for leading an effective semester, thank you for working together across the College of Science and Northeastern University.
Hazel Sive PhD
Dean, College of Science