OUR FIFTH WEEKLY REPORT ON COVID-19 and SOUTHWESTERN                                                March 20, 2020

SOUTHWESTERN’S PEOPLE ARE “Safer at Home” as our California governor has declared, whether ‘home’ is at our campuses where a number of student and staff residents are staying, or ‘home’ for our commuters around Pasadena, or ‘home’ to another place around this troubled world to take shelter while the COVID-19 spreads.   As of now, there have been no cases reported in our city, three in neighboring cities, and none in the Verde Valley of Arizona.

All our students and teachers have been studying through distant learning, whether the distance is a room next door or from the teachers’ homes to thousands of miles away.   The past week since my last report has brought breathtaking changes in the global situation, mirrored by our little school’s community fluid situation.   We are an essential service as defined by recent declarations, with our academic and residential life staffs continuing to work in helping all our students progress to finish this semester – and for our wonderful Class of 2020, to graduate and move on next fall to their next step in education and life – successfully.

Southwestern has now implemented the plans developed since late January by our residence and operations team with the advice and support of the excellent Los Angeles County health people, especially a unique part of their office focusing on college and boarding school dormitory care and safety.   

Our San Marino business and other offices remain open and staffed.  Food service, maintenance, and other student support services continue at both campuses as usual, though with all the special sanitation and separation routines for which we’ve been preparing.  Though we know there’s a probability that the novel coronavirus will infect some students and staff at home or on campus, we fully support California Governor Newsom’s efforts to “flatten the curve” of new cases to avoid overloading health services. 

Everyone at our campuses is keeping that “social distance” apart, though I much prefer to think of it as a physical distance when we’re meeting in person, as we all need to keep if not increase social communications among students, teachers, counselors, other students, family members, and our friends, provided that social contact is either with two yards/meters apart or through cyber or telephone means.

Over the past five days of teaching from a short distance or across oceans, our faculty is continuing with the lessons they’ve prepared in advance while developing fresh assignments to use a wide range of other techniques for cyber-studying.   We’re aware of some internet delays and difficulties, just as all around the world, and we’re working with our technical advisers to find better cyber-tools over the next few weeks.

As always, I need and welcome comments, suggestions, and questions, best by email to me, which I’ll pass along to the right places on our campuses or among our scattered teachers and we’ll reply as quickly as we can.   If we don’t get back to you within two days or so, please repeat the email in case it did not reach my mailbox or landed among the extraordinary number of ‘spam’ offers from vendors that have been coming recently.

And most important, keep that physical distance but please keep much social contact with us, classmates, families, and all your friends while keeping your school and our world’s peoples in your prayers.

Kenneth Veronda