Public Health Update – May 21, 2021

To the Wesleyan community:

The more we know about the COVID-19 vaccines, the better equipped we are to make informed decisions. I know many of you have questions and the topic raises strong feelings among some.

After more than 35 years as a physician, I critically evaluate scientific studies, keep an open mind to new theories, and stay up-to-date about the medical issues I face regularly in college health. I feel confident in assuring you that vaccines are one of the most important ways (if not the most important way) to control and at times eliminate infectious diseases. Few of us recall the days of the iron lung for polio patients, children dying from the whooping cough, or the sequelae of brain inflammation caused by a number of childhood diseases. Those days are over thanks to vaccines.

I would like to dispel some common myths about the COVID-19 vaccines.

Public Health Update – May 7, 2021

To the Wesleyan community,

Happy May, everyone! In a few short weeks, classes will end, final exams and projects will be completed, and the University will celebrate the Class of 2021 during Commencement. Summer is just around the corner.

I am happy to see COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths decrease in many states, including Connecticut. We are starting to regain a sense of normalcy as more and more people are vaccinated. Remember that you are not considered fully vaccinated until two weeks after your final vaccine dose. Prior to that, you must consider yourself unvaccinated and maintain our approach to COVID safety guidelines. We received many questions about life on campus for the remainder of the semester, even for those vaccinated. To be safe, we are staying the course with face coverings, distancing, and regular COVID testing.

Students, once you are fully vaccinated, you must upload your information to the Davison Health Center. Faculty and staff, once you are fully vaccinated, we encourage you to share your information via WesPortal.

May 5, 2021: Campus Update

To the Wesleyan community,

I want to sincerely thank you all for your tireless efforts toward making Wesleyan a safe place to be this academic year. Because of your care, diligence, and cooperation in following the community guidelines, we have been able to maintain COVID-19 positivity rates well below the level predicted by our modeling. I am pleased to report that we are planning for a return to normal campus operations and residential education in the fall.

Toward that end, I want to share important campus updates from the Pandemic Planning Committee. In the coming months, we will begin to relax some restrictions in preparation for fall. Employees should continue to consult with their Cabinet members on work plans. The following changes will take effect:    

April 23, 2021: Vaccine Side Effects

To the Wesleyan community:

As previously announced, the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine will be administered to our students on April 24-25 with the second dose on May 15-16. 

We encourage everyone to take advantage of the vaccine. It is safe and effective, and has been shown to keep people out of the hospital. The vaccine may cause side effects, which means 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. 

April 14, 2021: UPDATE: Wesleyan/CHC Vaccine Clinic for Students

Dear students,

I write with an update regarding the University’s partnership with the Community Health Center (CHC) to host vaccine clinics on April 24 and 25. Due to the Federal Drug Administration’s current review of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, CHC will now administer the two-dose Pfizer vaccine.

Students who choose to be vaccinated at this clinic will receive the first dose on their originally scheduled date and the second on May 15 or 16, three weeks after the initial dose. Parking Lot V at 75 Vine Street will serve as our walk-through vaccination site. All Wesleyan students—both undergraduate and graduate—enrolled in the spring 2021 semester and studying on campus may receive the vaccine.

April 13, 2021: Student Vaccination Requirement for Fall 2021

To the Wesleyan community,

With the recent expansion of eligibility for the COVID-19 vaccine in Connecticut and around the country, and given our relatively low positivity rate throughout the 2020–21 academic year, we are looking toward the future with cautious optimism. We expect that our fall semester will see us return to residential life and the close-knit, stimulating campus environment so meaningful to all of us.

To that end, Wesleyan will require all students to receive the vaccine prior to returning to campus for the fall semester. Every student (with the exception of those who have approved medical or religious exemptions) will need to verify with the University that they are fully vaccinated prior to their arrival. Students can upload their vaccination record to the Davison Health Center.

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.

March 18, 2021: Campus COVID Updates and Reminders

To the campus community,

We are writing to share a number of important COVID-19 updates, in light of recent changes to the State of Connecticut’s plans.

Effective tomorrow, Connecticut’s governor has relaxed a number of restrictions across the state, including no longer requiring offices to maintain a 50 percent occupancy limit. The University will generally follow the 50 percent occupancy of offices for the time being while cabinet members will continue to guide and direct staffing for their divisions.

In addition, the governor has accelerated the state’s age-based vaccine distribution plan. As of tomorrow, all individuals aged 45 and older may schedule their appointments for COVID-19 vaccinations. Scheduling will open to all individuals aged 16 and older tentatively beginning on April 5. (Please note that this new phase starting April 5 combines the 35 to 44 age range and the 16 to 34 age range, which had previously each been scheduled during separate weeks later in the spring.) The University encourages everyone to get vaccinated when you have the chance to do so.

March 16, 2021: March 16 Update

Dear students,

I write to update you on changes to campus COVID plans. Middletown’s alert level remains Orange, which is based on the number of cases reported in the city.  In an effort to keep Wesleyan’s on-campus positivity rate low, please remember to adhere to our safety measures. Moving forward, the restrictions outlined in the March 9 message will continue with a few adjustments: