Baylor Fall Preparations: Family First

August 11, 2020
Marigold - Family First

Baylor Students, Faculty, Staff and Parents:

Looking out across our Waco campus, each day has brought more excitement, activity and faces to our community. While I am certainly thankful to see people back jogging on the Bear Trail or simply walking across campus, we have never lost focus of our commitment to developing best practices and precautions to provide for a safe and successful on-campus start and completion of the fall semester.

My hope is that these daily emails over the past week and a half have served to show the depth of a larger, layered COVID-19 prevention and mitigation strategy for Baylor to safely resume on-campus teaching, learning and residential life for the full duration of the upcoming semester.

Today, I’d like to discuss our Family First campaign to help mitigate the risk of COVID-19 to our campus and the Waco community. With some 18,000 members of the Baylor Family arriving in Waco over the next two weeks, this campaign will help ground our choices in a commitment to putting others before ourselves and keeping Family First.

Ultimately, the Family First campaign is focused on reinforcing the importance of caring for each other, whether that’s with your classmates, faculty and staff on campus or our neighbors throughout Waco and the surrounding communities who are committed to #KeepWacoSafe.

As you return to our Waco campus, you will need to pick up your Family First Welcome Care Kit. Components of this care package will include:

  • Two Baylor-branded face coverings to help keep yourself and others safe, comply with the University’s requirement to wear face coverings in all University buildings and outdoors on campus when social distancing is not possible;
  • COVID-19 instructional materials to inform you of the best ways to help keep our campus community healthy and safe, walk you through daily COVID-19 self-checks, offer tips on managing stress and anxiety and what to do if you feel sick;
  • Thermometer to assist with conducting a daily COVID-19 self-check;
  • Hand sanitizer to add individual support of the campus-wide cleaning and sanitization efforts;
  • Water bottle to keep you hydrated and prevent any inconveniences due to the closures of conventional campus water fountains, along with a sticker to adhere to the bottle with room to write your name to prevent confusion;
  • Coupons from local vendors and eateries that share our commitment to high standards of care and safety precautions.

Incoming first-year students will receive their Welcome Care Kit from a tent outside of the Ferrell Center during Move-In. To receive the box and other Welcome Week resources, students will be required to show proof of a COVID-19 test. Students who opted for unassisted move-in on Sunday or Monday will receive their Welcome Care Kit upon check-in at their residence hall, along with any Upper Division students living in on-campus housing.

Students living off-campus will pick up their Welcome Care Kit during the first week of classes from a designated tent structure on Fountain Mall.

Faculty and staff will receive their kits in their offices beginning next week.

Some other elements of the Family First campaign include:

  • Bruiser and Marigold, our costumed mascots, offering up health and safety reminders by appearing on signage, videos and social media posts;
  • Common branding to social distancing signage including entry-only or exit-only signage, tables or seats that are blocked off from seating and safety reminders throughout common areas;
  • Video messaging to promote social distancing practices that will be displayed on video monitors across campus; and
  • Hand sanitizer bottles provided in department spaces and each faculty and staff office across campus.

In the Welcome Care Kit, you’ll also find a postcard message from me to you, offering some encouragement as we work to successfully begin and complete this fall semester together in-person. Flip the postcard over and you’ll find a shared commitment statement that sums up why I believe we can be successful in this endeavor. It reads:

As members of the Baylor Family,
we value one another, our cherished traditions,
and the beloved institution we call home.
To this end, it is our duty to diligently guard
our own health as well as the health of
our fellow students, faculty, staff and neighbors.
Therefore, we will take all steps necessary
to fight the spread of COVID-19
and keep our community safe and healthy.

Let’s make that commitment together – to our community of scholars, friends, family and loved ones – to wear face coverings, wash our hands and avoid large gatherings or groups. Aug. 24 will be here soon and we will be committed to putting our Family First together!

Praying for you daily,

Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D.