BYU-Idaho President Henry J. Eyring and Sister Kelly Eyring encouraged students to follow precautions during the COVID-19 pandemic, asked them to continue to be friendly and told them about the services available on campus for those affected by the pandemic during their devotional on Tuesday, September 15.
Sister Eyring spoke about the importance of saying “hello” to other students and connecting with others in this difficult time. She asked students to salute each other by using the American Sign Language sign for the word “hello.”
“Let’s use the ASL sign or salute to signal that we acknowledge and value each other. It will bless those around us, and I promise that it will make us happy too,” said Sister Eyring.
President Eyring welcomed students to the 2020 Fall Semester of BYU-Idaho. He spoke about the extensive preparation that has gone into enabling students to attend classes in-person this fall.
He stated how important it is for each student to be accountable when it comes to COVID-19. President Eyring spoke about different resources and support for students and roommates who encounter COVID-19.
Along with the pandemic bringing us together as a team, he reminded students of early latter-day saints who faced difficult times.
“To begin our metaphorical trek through this pivotal semester, your BYU-Idaho leaders, as well as your ecclesiastical leaders, invite you to observe a special fast this upcoming Sunday [September 20],” said President Eyring.
Students were also invited to get a free meal from the university to break their fast. More information about the meal and pick-up times and locations will be announced later.
He spoke about the opportunity students have to be on campus and invited them to visit campus often.
“For those of you in Rexburg, I encourage you to go onto the campus at least several times a week, even if you don’t have any face-to-face classes, said President Eyring.
He finished his address by stating that as best efforts are given, Heavenly Father will reward us with the blessings He has in store.
After the devotional, in an interview with vice presidents, Amy LaBaugh and Brett Cook, they stated how much they enjoy seeing students on campus again. They spoke about what students will see as they come back on-campus.
“Now that they’re here, they’re seeing what is different and how that is… but we’re loving seeing the students adhering to the protocols,” said Brett Cook.
Sister LaBaugh said there was a lot of preparation done to make on-campus classes possible. While masks and social distancing are required on campus, Sister LaBaugh said there would still be many opportunities for students to come on campus and socialize.
“Every night there’s going to be small group activities, so students can come with their roommates and socialize and have fun,” said Amy LaBaugh
They also spoke about the support students will have physically. Sister LaBaugh said students should contact Kristie Lords in the Student Well-Being Office if they get sick. She can help direct them to services the school provides.
Brother Cook mentioned a COVID-19 testing station will be arriving soon on campus. He said the testing will be available not only to BYU-Idaho students and faculty, but to the entire Rexburg-area community.