Socializing Safely During the Pandemic

October 2, 2020

To: All Students
From: Michele Rasmussen, Dean of Students in the University
Subject: Socializing Safely During the Pandemic
Date: October 2, 2020

Dear Students,

While it is essential for our community to uphold policies and practices to keep our community safe and healthy, we also know that being able to socialize safely is a basic need. You may look at the guidelines we’ve shared recently and think, “Great, but can we socialize at all during the pandemic while staying safe?”

The answer is absolutely yes. But we have to make allowances for current circumstances, using creativity and respect for health precautions.

We’ve posted a listing of many available activities that you can do while following health guidelines. Here are some key points:

  • Stay in small groups, with a close “friend circle” of no more than 5 people to limit any spread of infection
  • Outside activities are best
  • Explore remote options
  • Use caution in public transportation
  • Avoid large gatherings, inside or outside

Many of you have taken advantage of the good weather to be outside with friends. While it’s better to do activities outdoors than in confined indoor spaces, we all must continue to uphold the guidelines that apply to outdoor activities:

  • Maintain a distance of six feet from others, and avoid large groups outside
  • Wear a mask outdoors if you are within six feet of others for any length of time
  • If you are from a state that is on the City of Chicago’s quarantine list, you must stay in your residence except for medical visits for the duration of your mandatory quarantine period
  • For all others, it’s OK to take periodic breaks outside during your assigned University 10-day stay-at-home period – but keep those times limited until the 10 days are past

As always, please use the UCAIR reporting system if you have a COVID-19-related public health concern at any time. So far, one of the most common reports we’ve received through UCAIR is from people concerned about inadequate social distancing by students socializing outside. When you’re outdoors, please follow the guidelines and encourage others to do so.

Thank you for upholding our community’s public health requirements both on and off campus, and for showing care for each other during this challenging time.