Dean of the College Marlene Sandstrom sent students an update on the fall semester. Let’s spend a week going through it.

Final highlights:

It is crucial for students to feel comfortable communicating to each other about following health and safety guidelines. Please speak up (respectfully) when you see someone falling short of our expectations. Similarly, please be gracious and understanding if somebody lets you know that they are concerned about your behavior. We will fail even before we have a chance to succeed if students don’t hold each other accountable and treat each other with respect. We expect the majority of monitoring and corrective behavior to happen among students.

This seems a fantasy to me. First, a central message of our social justice friends at Williams for the last decade or more has been the horrible curse of white privilege. Given that history, do you really expect a white student to tell a black student — excuse me, a Black! student — that she is doing something wrong? I don’t! Second, students don’t like to snitch on each other. Third, it is becoming rapidly clear to healthy college age students that the virus poses no meaningful risk to them.

Williams has contracted with the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard for our testing kits and processing. Williams will staff our testing site. The Broad test is a RT-PCR test that is a high throughput version of the CDC 2019-nCoV Realtime RT-PCR test. This test uses nasal swabs in the lower nasal cavity (anterior nares swabs) and differs from the more uncomfortable test involving a swab placed deeply into the upper nasal cavity (nasopharyngeal swabs).

I think this is a good choice. Broad has an excellent reputation.

We are holding all students accountable to our public health guidelines — this includes students living in our residence halls, as well as students who are enrolled in person and living nearby in off-campus housing. While I fully expect students to respect these rules and show care for each other, it is important to know that students who egregiously violate our health requirements can expect to be immediately transitioned from in-person to remote enrollment, and will be required to leave campus. Such violations might also lead to a formal disciplinary process that could result in probation, suspension, or expulsion. Please know that we will be strictly enforcing our policy in order to protect the campus community.

Good luck.

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