It has been a challenging year. We are grateful for the resilience, perseverance, and commitment that faculty and staff have demonstrated in helping to keep our community strong and safe.
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve. As Massachusetts infection rates drop and vaccination rates trend upward with all individuals age 16+ now eligible, many of us can begin doing some of the things that we had stopped doing because of the pandemic. But with this encouraging news comes the reality that the pandemic will not end abruptly with a flip of a switch but rather with a gradual transition to normalcy. As we all work toward our return to normal life the world battles new, more transmissible variants while global inequities to vaccine distribution persist.
We recognize that this current state of the pandemic presents challenges that make it difficult to balance the new freedoms afforded in our personal lives with those required from our work environment. As an institution, the MBL must move carefully and in accordance with state and CDC guidelines. Because of our prominence in the Woods Hole community, the size of our workforce, and the fact that we will soon be welcoming students and scientists from worldwide locations who will be staying for varying durations, the MBL must take extra care in all that we do.
With this in mind, we will more often than not take the path of “out of an abundance of caution” in our approach to COVID-19 protocols while pacing state and CDC guidelines where we feel comfortable with them. Changes in our on-campus processes will likely come as the weeks and month progress, though perhaps not as quickly as some might hope.
While we are eager and enthusiastic to resume research and training programming, this will still not be a typical MBL summer. Due to decreased space capacity and social distancing guidelines, we will be unable to welcome visitors such as MBL Society members who enjoy access to MBL services such as the MBL/WHOI Library, Swope Center dining, public lectures, and tours.
There is no question that the COVID-19 pandemic has presented programmatic and operational challenges unprecedented for this institution. Despite these obstacles, this summer we will carry on the century-old tradition of bringing students and scientists together to ask new questions, pioneer new approaches, and transform their careers. We appreciate your understanding as we work to deliver on our mission and thank you for your continued support. As always, we will continue to keep you updated on any policy changes and urge you to follow goforward.mbl.edu.
Nipam Patel, Director
Paul Speer, Chief Operating Officer