Presidential Perspective - February 18, 2021
Baylor Students, Faculty and Staff:
This has certainly been a week like no other I can recall with record-setting cold and snow for the second time in a year – in Waco! Nearly half of homes in and around our city are without power, both from lines that have fallen and rolling outages to ensure the stability of the state’s power grid. Some areas are without water due to main lines breaking under the extremely cold temperatures and substations without power. I personally experienced a water line break in Allbritton House, and yesterday afternoon we had to close the Student Union Building due to a water line break. Several other campus buildings have been affected as well.
Many of you living off-campus have been without power for several days, and we know this has been a strain on you. We want you to know that we are working diligently within the University and alongside our community partners to support you through this unprecedented time.
For our students, on-campus residential facilities continue to maintain power and our team has taken remarkable measures, bringing staff in and housing them near campus, to provide food in the dining facilities. We have opened and staffed areas of campus as warming stations for off-campus students who are without power or other services and need to find warmth and shelter, charge their phones and other electronics, shower and even stay overnight if needed. We will continue to make these facilities available through the duration of this weather emergency. Details about available facilities can be found by clicking on the Baylor Alert on the University’s main web page.
Also, we understand this past week has been extremely challenging for many students’ mental health and wellbeing. If you are a student in crisis, or need to speak with a mental health counselor, the Baylor Counseling Center continues to remain available. Our staff of dedicated professionals can be reached at 254-710-2467, 24 hours a day. They can provide immediate crisis counseling, as well as instruction about how to establish ongoing mental health counseling that matches your particular situation.
We are monitoring the road conditions and service outages in and around Waco to ensure we make the best decisions for the University and for your safety. I know you join me in looking forward to more normal weather conditions coming this weekend and next week.
Please take a moment to pray for one another, for our community and state, and for all those who have been impacted across the country by these historic winter storms. So many people are facing challenges that will take weeks to resolve. We ask for your patience and partnership as we address infrastructure challenges in many buildings across campus. Keep each other safe, and extend the love of Christ by helping your friends and colleagues.
Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D.
P.S. – We will provide an update when weekly COVID-19 testing will resume. With the winter storms disrupting campus services, there will be no COVID-19 testing compliance enforcement for last week or this week. Please continue to wear your facemasks, practice good hygiene and monitor your symptoms. The Baylor Health Center is available for telemedicine services at 254-710-1010.