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.

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.