April 9, 2021: What to Expect After Your Vaccine

To the Wesleyan community:

As previously announced, the one-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine will be available—April 24-25—to students at the Vine Street vaccination site, which is managed by our friends from the Community Health Center. 

I am encouraged by the nearly 2,000 students who have already registered and secured an appointment later in April. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is safe, effective, and keeps people out of the hospital. The vaccinemay cause side effects, which is an indication that our immune system is responding appropriately. The types, level, and duration of side effects can vary from one individual to another and do not indicate the degree of immune response. 

Public Health Update – March 26, 2021

To the Wesleyan community,

I write again with an update on the COVID-19 pandemic. While we are encouraged with the progress in getting people vaccinated, we remain concerned about the emergence of more contagious variant strains. The B1.1.7 strain may become dominant in the next month or two, and there are significant surges in parts of Europe. We are in a race to get the world vaccinated and as close to herd immunity as possible. As Dr. Fauci says, a virus cannot mutate if it cannot replicate.  

Governor Lamont recently announced that by April 1, all Connecticut residents would be eligible to schedule their COVID-19 vaccinations. This effort—combined with increased production of vaccines, more doses distributed to Connecticut, and additional vaccination sites opening—suggests that President Biden’s goal of celebrating July 4 with our families and friends is reachable.

Public Health Update – March 11, 2021

To the Wesleyan Community,

Things are looking up! As we enter into the spring, we should see greater production, distribution, and availability of COVID-19 vaccines. I am cautiously optimistic that by the summer, anyone who desires the vaccine will have the opportunity to receive it. Learn more about the State of Connecticut’s vaccination phases.

In light of the low positivity rate on campus as well as in Middletown, Wesleyan is cautiously easing some restrictions. As Dean Rick Culliton said in his March 9 memo, the University is planning for a limited schedule of outdoor spring sports, if pandemic conditions remain stable. With safety foremost in mind, the athletic department will be conducting additional pre-competition antigen testing of athletes and coaches. There will be no overnight stays, no outside spectators, and the travel radius will be limited. Moreover, if athletes and coaches test positive prior to a competition, that event will be cancelled. Athletes, like all students, will continue to adhere to the twice-weekly campus testing requirement. Visit Athletics to review the complete list of protocols.

COVID Safety and Spring Sports Update – March 9, 2021

To the Wesleyan Community:

The Pandemic Planning Committee continues to monitor conditions on campus and in the surrounding community. Campus has seen only a small number of COVID-19 cases, which are attributable, we believe, to students visiting one another without wearing masks. The success of this semester depends on everyone taking the COVID safety precautions – wearing masks, maintaining appropriate distance and limiting indoor interactions. 

We are encouraged by the declining positivity rates in the surrounding community, with Middletown lowering its alert level from Red to Orange. Wesleyan’s alert level remains at yellow. Wearing a mask in public – whether on campus or off – is still critical for reducing risk to the campus community. With warmer weather this week, we ask you to look for opportunities to meet with others outside rather than inside to reduce risk of transmission.

Public Health Update – March 5, 2021

To the Wesleyan Community:

The State of Connecticut continues to provide updates to the vaccine rollout schedule and recently announced a shift to age-based eligibility for vaccines (with the exception that all who work in education grades K-12 are now eligible). The state is making excellent progress: 75 percent of those ages 75 and older are vaccinated, while 52 percent of those ages 65-74 are vaccinated. Vaccinations are now available for those 55 and older. The rollout schedule for the coming months remains subject to change, and we will keep the campus community apprised of important developments.

February 24, 2021: Vaccine Rollout and Webinar

Governor Lamont recently announced the plan for further rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine. Unlike previous plans for essential workers and those with pre-existing medical conditions, the new plan will be based solely on an individual’s age (with the exception of educators in pre-K through 12). On March 1, individuals 55 and older are eligible to begin scheduling appointments.

The governor’s medical team put considerable thought into this approach, and I believe it makes a lot of sense.

The age-based rollout has been successful in some European countries. The CDC rollout, in contrast, has been fraught with uncertainty over who qualifies as an essential worker and who is at high risk.

February 23, 2021: Vaccine Eligibility

Dear friends,

I trust this note finds you well and safe. Connecticut is in phase 1b of the vaccine rollout, in which those 55 and older will be eligible to register to receive the vaccine beginning on March 1. The state has altered its rollout strategy and will continue to use aged-based eligibility, which is designed to simplify the scheduling and administration of COVID-19 vaccines for both recipients and providers alike.

Employees who fall into this category (55 and older) can find information about scheduling an appointment for their vaccine on the state’s website.

February 17, 2021: Public Health Update

To the Wesleyan Community:

We are past the halfway mark for our post-arrival self-quarantine, and we can report that our numbers are very promising. The combination of pre-arrival testing and twice weekly testing on campus, arrival quarantine, and the spot use of rapid antigen tests is working. The most important factor is compliance by Wesleyan students. You have risen to the occasion. Thank you!

In light of these reassuring numbers, we have been able to relax some quarantine restrictions a bit for the second week. For more information, please review the latest updates on the Keep Wes Safe web pages.

February 11, 2021: Public Health Update

To the Wesleyan Community,

Welcome to the new semester! Whether you have returned to campus, are studying virtually from home, or have decided to take a gap semester/year, I wish everyone good health and safety.

Thus far, our return to campus has been a great success. We have seen terrific compliance from our students with pre-arrival testing and quarantine and influenza vaccination. In our first few days of testing, the positivity rate is very low relative to our predictions. Please pat yourselves on the back for a job well done! Wesleyan’s alert level is currently at Yellow, and all students remain in a state-mandated arrival quarantine through the end of the day on February 21. The 14 days of self-quarantine (which is based on the incubation period for the coronavirus), along with our twice weekly testing, constant wearing of face covers, and grab-and-go meals, gives our campus the best chance of becoming as safe as possible.

February 3, 2021: Public Health Update

To the Wesleyan community,

Greetings. I am looking forward to students’ return to campus in just a few short days.

Wesleyan’s staff has been hard at work in the lead-up to the new semester, and we’re confident that we are prepared to have the safest possible environment on campus this spring, as we did in the fall. Yet we also know that we are beginning our new semester in a very different public health climate. It is the coldest part of the year when most activity will be indoors (which we know to carry a higher risk of COVID-19 transmission), and the positivity rate, hospitalizations, and deaths are all at much higher levels across the country compared to the fall. Perhaps most concerning to medical experts is the rapid emergence of several new variant strains of the virus, and our lack of capacity to identify them in labs.