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‘We’ve Got This’

Bears nation grapples with pandemic
Story Series
Bridgewater Magazine

The COVID-19 pandemic has quickly brought about big changes in the way we live and the way we learn. As of this writing, more than 110,000 Americans have died from the virus. Nonessential places of business have been closed, face masks are nearly ubiquitous, and education from coast to coast has moved online.

As of early May, 29 students and four faculty/staff members had tested positive for COVID-19. All are reportedly doing well. Sadly, however, the virus did claim the life of an alumna’s father.

As troubling as all this is, worse still is that no one can predict with any confidence what the future holds.

Bridgewater State University moved classes online beginning March 23. Spring events and sports seasons were cancelled. Commencement was postponed, but President Clark has vowed to hold an in-person ceremony when it is once again safe for large events to take place. Summer sessions will remain online, and on May 5, President Clark announced his aim for the next academic year: “Let me make this clear, we are planning to be on campus come this fall.”

This will not be done without careful planning, the president added. He announced the formation of the Safe Return Task Force, which will coordinate the return to campus for faculty, librarians, staff and students. The guiding mantra will be “health and safety first.” State and federal public health directives will be relied upon.

With the announcement, the president conceded that the ways of learning and living on campus that we have  become accustomed to will necessarily change. “What next fall looks like will be different from last fall; it needs to be in order to ensure the safety of the BSU community.”

President Clark tells the story of how a faculty member reacted to the changes brought about by COVID-19 with her resolute statement, “We’ve got this.” It’s become a catchphrase symbolizing our resilience.

This special section of Bridgewater magazine features content created primarily by the staff of University News and Video that demonstrates just a fraction of how members of the BSU community have responded to the worldwide health crisis that has touched us all. These stories illustrate President Clark’s words, “We should all continue to be proud of what we have accomplished together. It is truly remarkable, and reflects the strong and courageous BSU spirit I love so much.”