Tommie the Tomcat mascot practices social distancing while wearing a mask and following COVID-19 safety protocols like cleaning and sanitizing as campus prepares to reopen for fall semester on July 15, 2020, in St. Paul.

Dear Tommies: This Will Be New to All of Us

The Newsroom has solicited a series of letters for students as they return to campus amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. This letter is from student Adali Flores-Mendoza.

Dear Tommies,

2020 has been a difficult year for everyone. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed our everyday lives. Most of us, even though it should be all of us, wear masks, social distance and sanitize our hands. Many lives have been changed and lost, including my grandmother’s, whom I had to say goodbye to through a video call.

We all have dealt with the pandemic in different ways. Personally, I started to work out at home, watched many Korean dramas, and became obsessed with TikTok.

St. Thomas has done a decent job of communicating with us and on making a well-thought-out plan to open campus for the upcoming school year. That’s exciting! But now it is our turn to follow the rules to be able to stay here. To my fellow students, I know this wasn't our ideal situation, but we are not alone. Thousands of students across the country are feeling a great sense of loss. Many of us look forward to staying on campus to take a break from life back home or to simply feel more independent. Again, staying on campus only happens if we follow the rules that have been placed to protect us. So, wear your masks, do not have parties, and stay at your dorm if you feel sick. You don’t want to be the reason campus closes again. To the faculty and staff, I am grateful for the adaptability many of you have shown.

Despite everything, it is still a huge victory that we have a chance to be back at campus. I hope that we, as a community, can hold each other accountable. Don’t forget to be easy on yourself and on others; this is a learning curve for everyone. I wish everyone a positive and strong year.


Adali Flores-Mendoza