May 20, 2020: Public Health Update

From: Tom McLarney, MD

Subject: Public Health Update

To the Wesleyan Community,

Ask any driver about what irritates them, and you are likely to hear about other drivers who drive too slowly, and those who drive too fast. These tend to be subjective observations, but speed limits do give us objective guidance as to the appropriate speed of travel.

Unfortunately, there are no posted speed limits or minimum speeds listed for reopening a state. This week in Connecticut, Governor Ned Lamont has announced a phased-in reopening beginning today, May 20. I would like to discuss this from a public health perspective. 

As some offices, retail businesses, restaurants, and other establishments begin to re-open, my take-home message to you all is: proceed with caution. If at all possible, continue to stay home. I urge continued self-isolation even more strongly for anyone over 65 years of age, or those who have medical conditions that place them at high risk…

May 19, 2020: Governor’s Report on Reopening Colleges and Universities

From: Michael S. Roth and Nicole Stanton

Subject: Governor’s Report on Reopening Colleges and Universities

To the Wesleyan community,

As you may know, Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont has announced a plan for a phased reopening of some Connecticut businesses and offices, which would include some university research labs, for Wednesday, May 20.

Wesleyan is making plans for faculty and staff to return to work including reopening research labs in accordance with state guidelines. We expect this to occur in phases, beginning with a resumption of research activities by some faculty and graduate students, followed later by a return to campus of undergraduate student researchers living in Connecticut who don’t require University housing. Undergraduates already remaining in campus housing are also permitted to participate in the first phase of research activities. The precise dates of these phases have not yet been determined. Detailed information regarding research labs reopening is forthcoming from Joe Knee, dean of Division III.

Faculty and staff who are currently working from home should continue to do so. Access to some buildings remain restricted until the University can ensure compliance with the State’s guidelines including cleaning, signage and furniture spacing. Additional information about offices and departments is forthcoming…

May 14, 2020: Public Health Update

From: Tom McLarney, MD

Subject: Public Health Update

To the Wesleyan Community,

Not only does the coronavirus continue to challenge us, but the predictably unpredictable New England weather is keeping us guessing with snow squalls in May! I hope everyone is weathering this season of uncertainty.

Over the past week, we’ve continued to learn more about Covid-19—particularly how it may be affecting children, who were previously thought to be largely spared by this disease. The medical community is now seeing a condition in children called Pediatric Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome (PMIS), which is believed to be caused by Covid-19. The initial case was described in England in late April as a combination of Toxic Shock Syndrome and Kawasaki Disease (KD), the most common inflammatory condition affecting children aged 6 months to 5 years. At this time, there have been over 70 reported cases of PMIS in the New York City area with other reports of similar cases in Boston, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and cities in Europe. PMIS is characterized by fever and rash, as well as with some or all of the other signs and symptoms of KD, including swollen lymph nodes, rash all over the body and most notably on the palms and soles of feet, and the characteristic “strawberry tongue.”  Not all the patients have tested positive for Covid-19 but a significant number have. At this time, experts feel this possible manifestation of Covid-19 is rare, but parents are advised to have any child with these symptoms promptly evaluated.  

Also this past week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued new guidelines on when a person can be released from quarantine (whether due to a positive test or, more commonly, due to clinical presentation since tests are still not readily available). The criteria include a minimum of 10 days quarantine, improving symptoms, and no fever for 72 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication…

May 9, 2020: Follow-up to International Student Zoom Forum

From: Mike Whaley Subject: Follow-up to International Student Zoom Forum Date: May 9, 2020 Dear Wesleyan International Students, I hope this email finds you all safe and well! Thank you to those who were able to attend the forum hosted by President Roth on May 1. If you were not able to attend, a recording of … Read more…

May 6, 2020: Commencement Update

From: Michael S. Roth
Subject: Commencement Update

Dear friends,

I begin by saying (again) how impressed I am, though not surprised, by how Wesleyan has stepped up in the face of current challenges. Ours is a strong and caring community indeed. 

Every year we celebrate Wesleyan as an empowering community when we confer degrees upon graduating seniors. This year, at noon onSunday, May 24, the Commencement ceremony will be (as it must) virtual. We have arranged for the honorary degree recipients and our student speaker to deliver their remarks in a series of pre-recorded videos. My remarks and the conferral of degrees will be live…

May 7, 2020: Public Health Update

From: Tom McLarney, MD
Subject: Public Health Update

To the Wesleyan Community,

Once again, I hope this note finds you all safe and well. My thoughts go out to all of you who have been personally affected by Covid-19. 

As we continue to follow the course of this pandemic, we see parts of our country (and the world) start the process of reopening while other areas brace for possible increased cases of Covid-19. As of this week, Connecticut has over 30,000 confirmed cases and over 2,000 deaths, but has seen an overall significant decline in hospitalizations over the past two weeks. Governor Lamont is looking at criteria for beginning to re-open the state, including 14 days of decreased hospitalizations; adequate testing, personal protective equipment (PPE), and healthcare capacity; substantial contact tracing; and protection of high-risk populations. If these goals are met, we may see a partial re-opening by May 20.

What is new?…

May 1, 2020: Campus Update

From: Michael S. Roth
Subject: Campus Update

Dear students,

I hope that you are staying safe and healthy in these challenging times. I write today to share our current thinking on the fall semester and our response to COVID-19.

I want you to know that while we are planning for a number of different scenarios, we remain hopeful that we will return to the full residential experience that we treasure so much this fall. Of course, the welfare of our students, faculty and staff is paramount, and Wesleyan will not resume normal operations until all proper public health precautions have been taken. These include building capacity to test people who study or work on campus, provide supportive isolation to those who fall ill, and minimize opportunities for the spread of any illnesses. 

We are working hard on this now and, rest assured, we will do our utmost to make our campus safe. That said, there are many uncertainties, some of which should be resolved in the next two months or so. For this reason, we will update you all in early June and expect to make a decision about a residential fall term in early July. We hope it will be a traditional semester, but we also expect to offer robust remote alternatives, should they be helpful for some students. When we announce our decision about fall offerings, it will be crucial for our planning to hear quickly from you—within two weeks of our announcement—if  you intend to ask for a leave for any part of the academic year…

April 29, 2020: Public Health Update

From: Tom McLarney, MD
Subject: Public Health Update

To the Wesleyan Community,

Wishing you all health and safety. My thoughts go out to those of you who have been personally been affected by Covid-19.

As is often the case, the more you know about something, the more there is to know.  This is certainly true about Covid-19.  I would like to summarize a number of current issues, knowing that this information will continue to evolve as we learn more.

First, we are becoming aware of the wide variety of ways that Covid-19 can present. From the very beginning, we have all known about the symptoms of fever, cough, and shortness of breath that gradually build (in contrast to influenza, which typically hits hard and fast). This week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) officially added six other symptoms commonly seen with the coronavirus, including: loss of taste and smell, chills, shaking chills (rigors), headache, muscle aches, and sore throat…

April 29, 2020: Zoom Forum with President Roth for International Students

From: Michael S. Roth and Rob Rosenthal
Subject: Zoom Forum with President Roth for International Students

Dear international students,

Greetings from Middletown. Wherever you are in the world, we hope that this finds you safe and well.

First, we’d like to invite you to join us for a Zoom forum on Friday, May 1 at 11 a.m. Eastern time (see Time Zone Converter), where any questions you have will be addressed. Please feel free to email questions in advance to presoffice@wesleyan.edu.

This is a time of great stress and uncertainty for everyone, but we know that as international students, you may be dealing with distinct challenges—whether it’s being separated from loved ones due to travel restrictions, trying to keep up with online learning from a different time zone or, for seniors, seeking employment in the U.S. and around the world. We understand that tensions between the United States and other countries might also increase anxiety and uncertainty.

All of this is a lot for anyone to handle, and we encourage you to reach out and seek support. There are many people here at Wesleyan who stand ready to help you, whether you remain on campus or are currently elsewhere in the world…

April 24, 2020: Enrollment Update from Wesleyan University

From: Michael S. Roth
Subject: Enrollment Update from Wesleyan University

Dear student and family,

Congratulations again on your admission to Wesleyan University!  I hope that during these trying times your family is staying safe and healthy. Whether you have already committed to Wesleyan or are still weighing options, I would like to share some updates on how Wesleyan is responding to COVID-19.

Enrollment and Potential Deferrals
Students around the country are wondering whether campuses will be open in the fall. At Wesleyan – as at most residential schools in New England – the hope is to have a full, residential academic year. Of course, the welfare of our students, faculty and staff is of paramount importance, and Wesleyan will not resume normal operations until all proper public health precautions have been taken. These include building capacity to test people who study or work on campus, provide supportive isolation to those who fall ill, and minimize opportunities for the spread of any illnesses. In the event we are unable to resume our residential educational experience in the fall or your student is unable to travel to campus due to COVID-19 related issues, we will automatically grant a deferral of enrollment until the spring. That said, we are earnestly preparing now to provide a safe, robust and holistic education to our students this fall.

In the unfortunate event that campus is not open in fall, we will offer accepted students the option of enrolling in the spring semester (granted automatically) or in the fall 2021 (by request).  Those students choosing not matriculate at either of those times would have their places at Wesleyan offered to other deserving students. Like any student taking extended time off, they will be asked to reapply should they wish to join a Wesleyan class in the future…