January 27, 2021: A Safe Campus Where Wesleyans Can Thrive

Dear friends,

As we prepare for the start of the next semester, we are mindful of the hopes and anxieties of students and their families. Vaccine distribution is finally picking up speed, promising better times ahead. On the other hand, the new variants of the virus seem to be more contagious, and this means we must be ever more vigilant about social distancing, mask wearing, frequent testing, contact tracing and supportive isolation.

I recently met with the presidents of the other NESCAC schools, and we have decided that given the current public health situation we cannot yet approve intercollegiate competition for this semester. Although it seems unlikely that we will have even a truncated season, we agreed to revisit the possibility of conference contests at the end of February. The NESCAC decision will come as a disappointment to many who have worked long and hard for the chance to compete, and I understand their frustration. Be that as it may, the fact that some athletes have asked about their spring seasons should not be an occasion for others to cast aspersions or crude stereotypes. The Wesleyan community is a place for all of us to pursue activities through which we develop as individuals and as members of groups or teams. Like so many Wesleyans, I would love to watch our athletes compete, as I would be delighted to see our musicians play and our actors perform. We all will have to wait until it is safe enough to do so.

January 20, 2021: New Year, New Semester

Dear friends,

It’s a new year, or so we’ve been told. The pandemic continues to rage, as does the intensity of focus on the baffling words and deeds of the former president. But it is a new year—there will be vaccines and concentrated efforts to address the recession, and here at Wesleyan we are preparing to welcome back students for the spring semester. Starting a few weeks later than usual, combined with careful testing and quarantine protocols around arrival, should allow us to start off on the right foot, despite the high positivity rates around the country.

October 5, 2020: Important Fall and Spring Calendar Updates

Dear friends,

With the first month of the semester under our belts, I would like to pause to acknowledge the careful planning, creative problem-solving and exemplary adherence to safety protocols that have allowed us to be together this fall. This is a proud and happy moment for us all.

At the same time, it is a precarious moment. We understand that the pandemic is still with us and that the public health context can change at any time. We are also nearing the winter months, when more time indoors and flu season could pose additional threats. With these considerations in mind, we have made the following plans.

August 24, 2020: Video Message About Reactivating Campus

Dear campus community,

We are beginning to welcome new and returning students to campus—an event I am both excited for and nervous about. Our abiding concern is for health and safety as we enter this unprecedented semester, and it is critically important that we all do our part to keep one another safe.

Please take a moment to watch this short video, on our Reactivating Campus website, that reiterates some of our safety measures. I also encourage you to review the Code of Conduct for students, and the Community Agreement for employees. Each details the University’s policies and expectations for members of the Wesleyan community that must be adhered to as conditions of being on campus.

August 10, 2020: Important Information for Fall Semester

Dear students,

As our staff makes final preparations for students’ arrival to campus only two weeks from now, we look forward to the start of the semester with a mix of excitement and anxiety. Most of us have longed for the day when we can be together again on campus since we were abruptly forced apart by the pandemic last spring, yet the worsening public health conditions in much of the country are deeply troubling. Thankfully, Connecticut continues to fare well with decreasing COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths—largely thanks to the continued diligence of our state’s residents in following the rules meant to keep the public safe.

Like the state, Wesleyan has its own set of rules and expectations that all students, faculty, and staff will be required to follow. We write today to remind you of these policies and practices, as well as to drive home how serious we will be about enforcing them.

July 8, 2020: Reactivating Campus in Fall

Dear friends,

As promised in my June message, I am writing now with more specificity concerning our plans to reactivate campus in late August. Since our first priority is the health and safety of our community members, these plans may have to be adjusted in response to changing public health conditions. Whatever these challenging conditions may be, we intend to provide an excellent educational experience (on campus or remotely). We have developed a robust set of resources on our website about our campus reactivation, including information on instruction and campus life, health and safety, and returning to work on campus.

June 15, 2020: Reactivating Campus (Faculty/Staff)

Dear friends,

What a spring it has been! The specter of bigotry has been viciously apparent in the murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, and the energy of anti-racism has swept across the nation in demonstrations in large cities and small towns. At the same time, much uncertainty remains as the pandemic continues to increase in intensity in several states. Amidst all the pain, anger and anxiety, we have continued to plan, and I write now with an update on our thinking thus far. Given the current public health trajectory for Connecticut, we are hoping to welcome most students, faculty and staff back to Middletown in safe conditions in late August…

June 15, 2020: Reactivating Campus (Students)

Dear friends,

What a spring it has been! The specter of bigotry has been viciously apparent in the murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, and the energy of anti-racism has swept across the nation in demonstrations in large cities and small towns. At the same time, much uncertainty remains as the pandemic continues to increase in intensity in several states. Amidst all the pain, anger and anxiety, we have continued to plan, and I write now with an update on our thinking thus far. Given the current public health trajectory for Connecticut, we are hoping to welcome most students, faculty and staff back to Middletown in safe conditions in late August…

May 26, 2020: Update on Financial Impact of COVID-19

Dear Friends,

Following an initial April message, we held a virtual forum to elaborate on and discuss the financial impact of COVID-19 on our University. While we could not answer every question as specifically as we might have liked given the uncertainties of the unfolding situation, your questions have been—and continue to be—invaluable in helping us maintain and advance our important work. Please keep them coming!

We write to you today with an update on several areas…