Presidential Perspective - December 10, 2020
Baylor Students, Faculty, Staff and Parents:
It’s hard to believe that the fall semester has come to a close, which means this will be my last Presidential Perspective until the New Year! I want to express my deepest appreciation to all of you for your hard work and commitment to following our COVID-19 protocols and preventive health measures during the fall. Together, as the Baylor Family, we had a successful on-campus semester, which I recapped on the Baylor Connections podcast last Friday. My prayer for everyone is a safe, healthy, rejuvenating and Merry Christmas! As you enjoy the break, please check your Baylor email early next week for important pre-semester testing information and continue to monitor your email over the holidays for any breaking news or spring updates related to COVID-19.
A few updates to share with you this week …
- One of the most important tools that helped us identify emerging COVID issues and trends during the fall has been the Baylor Dashboard. Over the summer, a multidisciplinary team of faculty and staff developed our public and internal dashboards, which provide vital data to inform our strategy and allow us to effectively manage outbreaks. A lesson learned from the fall is how critical testing is to our success, and you can see that reflected on the dashboard as we conducted more than 62,000 tests. This strategy will continue into the spring. Also, over the holidays, you will see an update to the public dashboard, which will add a dropdown box that will break down data by semester.
- As we pray daily for our health care providers on the frontlines of COVID-19, new Baylor research focuses on how to help them avoid communication overload as they deal with the flood of cases. Ashley K. Barrett, Ph.D., assistant professor of communication, led the study in the journal Health Communication, which found that brief “huddles” at shift changes – rather than a barrage of emails and texts about safety and risk – may be the fastest and simplest way for hospital workers to “stop, listen and pay full attention while also providing them access to leadership,” Barrett said. “And messages in huddles cannot be deleted, muted or delayed.”
- If you are able, please consider donating blood to your local hospital or blood donation center. Locally, there is an urgent need for donations of all blood types, especially types O- and A-, as well as O+. Donations can be made at the Baylor Scott & White Blood Center, Carter BloodCare or at the American Red Cross blood drive from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 21, at the Baylor Club at McLane Stadium.
- A reminder that required diversity education — developed exclusively by the University in accordance with our Christian mission and reflecting the Baylor experience — is now available to be completed via video. Before the end of the fall semester, please devote the time to attentively complete viewing the video, which is 40 minutes in length. This activity is an important component of the many other measures and diversity programs being undertaken at Baylor to foster an environment of possibility on our campus.
- As we prepare for the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ, all of us in the Baylor Family can join together in celebration of Christmas through the Christmas at Baylor website. I’ve enjoyed the daily video performances by our talented students in the School of Music’s Countdown to Christmas and then taking time to slow down and reflect on this season of Advent through the daily devotionals contributed by faculty, staff, alumni and students. The reflections walk us on a journey through hope, faith, joy, peace and eventually to the “good news of great joy for all people” (Luke 2:10), the arrival of Jesus Christ into the world.
The First Gent and I have you on our hearts, and we pray daily for you. May you have a Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year!
Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D.