UPDATED 5/13/20 at 9:58 pm
The one decision that will not becoming is this: Full program with no restrictions like any other year. As I said, that one will not be coming. This is the year of Coronavirus and Covid-19 which means that, in the absence of a vaccine, the only defenses we have against the virus, at the present time, are: (1) "social distancing," (2) regular and thorough washing and sanitizing of hands, (3) wearing a face mask over mouth and nose, (4) no hand shaking, (5) no touching of your face.
On the opposite end of the spectrum and even after the restrictive rules were eased up through the new reopening procedures, we were told this summer there could be no festivals, fairs, concerts, or other large attendance activities. Up to this point "large groups" had been interpreted as being ten or more persons. It is hoped--but not certain--whether a large group is permitted if the social distancing is executed. In other words, if there were groups of 9 spread out on the Institute Green with six feet between them, does that qualify as acceptable? If yes, then what would prevent a concert audience from being spread out in the same manner? Only the stated rule of "no concerts" which strikes us as being unnecessarily discriminatory.
This is why we await further word from the NYS Governor--for clarity and assurance. Should there be any confusion remaining, the committee will turn to their SLI Trustees. The Trustees have implied they may have a decision in May even before the Governor speaks again. Relax and enjoy the surprise of a year either not experienced in the past or simply not spoken about in the SLI's pages of history. Possibly the 1918-19 pandemic was an off-season event or perhaps the many changes of those years at SLI overshadowed the "troubles of the world."
Today we experience and speak of life in more complete ways. We realize that we are regularly influenced by all that is taking place around us. That's why this summer we need to be taking notes, so our history of the 2000's will reflect not only the spiritual and missional, but also how we were affected by the influences of the pandemic in the very midst of our summer retreat. I look forward to some good conversations about the summer of 2020, as I plan to include stories and details in my history of SLI. "Summer ... I await you!"