Published: May 26, 2020 By

Let us meet this moment, embrace the challenge, and show the world, and ourselves, just what Buffs can do

James White

James W.C. White, interim dean of the college, soaks up the scenery in the foothills above Boulder. At the top of the page, students in MASP's summer bridge program find a social and academic community here.

In the last two months, many of us have lived in quarantine while many others have labored on the front lines or in supporting roles to keep us as safe and healthy. 

Nurses, doctors, janitors and others in the health-care system have risked their own health to preserve others’. So has an army of workers whose efforts often go unsung: Grocery-store clerks, pharmacists, postal workers, delivery people, truck drivers and many others keep the rest of us supplied and safe in uncertain times.

It might sound hokey, but we are right to call these people heroes. Heroes show courage amid danger and value others’ lives as much as their own. As the University of Colorado Boulder moves to safely reopen campus to teaching and research, it’s our turn to step up.

As Chancellor DiStefano announced this morning, the campus has outlined an approach to plan for safely reopening in fall 2020.

In short, the plan will be informed by the latest science, public health guidance and ideas from our campus community. CU Boulder is implementing a flexible, in-person fall 2020 experience designed to keep our community safe, ensure access and quality for our students, and support our community.

As the plan outlines, we are working with implementation teams that will provide further guidance on health and safety, academic instruction and resources. Those teams will share their guidance on the desired outcomes and framework later this week or early next week, and that feedback will help us take our next steps most wisely.

The university’s mission and future depend on our success. We must be flexible and adaptable, remembering that we share the same goals: to create the best academic experience for our faculty, staff and students in the healthiest and safest way possible. 

As I have noted previously, CU Boulder has faced adversity throughout its history, and each time it has emerged stronger than before. And because the plan calls for faculty and staff to return to campus—to whatever extent and under whichever conditions are safest—we are called to muster the kind of courage that others have modeled. 

Now, it is our turn to be heroes. Let us meet this moment, embrace the challenge, and show the world, and ourselves, just what Buffs can do.

James W.C. White is interim dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.