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 21, 2021: Campus Life After Quarantine

Tomorrow, we will emerge from our initial campus-wide quarantine. I want to thank you all for your patience and cooperation in following quarantine protocols. I know they are challenging, but your participation has been critical in starting off our spring as safely as possible.

As we enter the next phase of the semester, I write with important information about campus life post-quarantine starting February 22.

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 15, 2021: Arrival Quarantine Update

Dear students,

As we begin the second week of classes and campus-wide quarantine, I want to thank you for your continued efforts at following quarantine protocols and COVID-19 safety precautions. We have been able to maintain positivity rates well below the levels predicted by our modeling despite the new variants of COVID in the U.S. Thanks to your cooperation, we are making modifications to the second week of quarantine for everyone who arrived by February 8 and has had two or more negative on-campus COVID tests. That said, it remains crucial that students continue to stay on campus through the end of quarantine (February 22). In those rare cases where a student needs to leave campus, that person must seek prior approval from the medical staff of Davison Health Center.

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 4, 2021: Information for Returning to Work on Campus

Dear colleagues,

Welcome to the spring semester. Tomorrow, students will begin arriving back in Middletown. After consulting with public health officials and carefully reviewing and refining our health and safety protocols, we believe we have a clear plan for students to safely return to campus. As always, we will rely on all students, faculty, and staff to do their part in following safety guidelines at all times throughout the semester to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Because the COVID positivity rate in Connecticut and across the United States is higher than when we began the fall, we will need everyone’s renewed attention to these guidelines.

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.

February 2, 2021: Arrival Day Testing

Dear students,

We are looking forward to seeing many of you back in Middletown this week! As you work through your final preparations to return to campus, I write with important information on testing.

As you know, all students are required to take a COVID-19 PCR test within 5–7 days before leaving home and upload a negative test result to WesPortal. This is an important step to keep the campus community safe as people are returning for the second semester. We understand that some students have encountered difficulty with their test as a result of the winter weather. For those who are unable to get a pre-arrival PCR test result, at this point a rapid antigen test will suffice. In addition, Wesleyan will have limited capacity to administer a rapid COVID-19 test in addition to the required PCR test upon arrival.

January 28, 2021: Preparing for Student Move-In

Dear students,

With the start of spring semester nearly upon us, I write with an update from Middletown, where the campus is freshly blanketed in snow.

We have been preparing for student move-in, which will take place February 5–8. After consulting with public health officials and carefully reviewing and refining our health and safety protocols, we believe we have a clear plan for students to safely return to campus. As always, we will rely on all students, faculty, and staff to do their part in following safety guidelines at all times to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Because the COVID positivity rate in Connecticut and across the United States is higher than when we began the fall, we will need everyone’s renewed attention as we begin the semester. Students should read the updated COVID Code of Conduct for spring, and acknowledge it in WesPortal, where it is posted as an alert. Students will also need to upload a negative result from their pre-arrival COVID test in WesPortal.

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.