Public Health Update – September 13, 2021

To the Wesleyan Community,

It’s so good to see everyone back on campus! Hats off to all who braved the remnants of Hurricane Ida for a successful Arrival Week and start to the fall semester.

COVID-19 has evolved since our previous academic year. During the summer, the Delta variant of the SARS CoV-2 virus began to take hold. The more prevalent the variant became, the more we realized the specific ways it is problematic:
– It is more contagious and transmissible than the native (alpha) strain that we first experienced. The alpha variant level of contagion was similar to influenza. The Delta is more like chicken pox.
– With spikes in the summer, the concern is that it could become more widespread in the fall and winter.
– This variant has become the most common strain of the SARS CoV-2 virus.

Public Health Update – September 10, 2021

To the campus community, 

As we complete the first week of classes, we want to thank everyone for their patience, and continued efforts toward the safety and well-being of our shared campus community. Thanks to everyone doing their part in following and enforcing our safety protocols, we have been able to maintain low COVID positivity rates. 

Although this is a significant milestone, it is important to note that we must still adhere to the safety guidelines and precautions that have proven effective thus far in keeping levels of infection down.

August 27, 2021: COVID-19 Testing Update

To the Wesleyan Community:

I write to share updated information about the University’s COVID-19 testing plan and adjustments to campus services. 

With more than 95 percent of faculty, students and staff vaccinated, we have taken the most important steps toward preventing significant illness. However, given the heightened transmissibility of the Delta variant, we know that even a vaccinated campus like ours will not be impervious to infection. The following plans are meant to keep us aware of cases that do arise and to prevent significant outbreaks.

August 19, 2021: Prepare for Fall Semester

To the Wesleyan community:

As we prepare for fall semester, we can tell you that 95 percent of employees are vaccinated –with about 4 percent requiring medical or religious exemptions – and that we anticipate similar percentages with respect to students. Those receiving exemptions will wear masks on campus and will be tested for COVID-19 regularly. While we watch the data on the Delta variant with concern, we are well-protected and in a good place to start the semester with in-person classes and co-curricular activities.

August 5, 2021: Mask Update

To the Wesleyan community:

Given the spread of the COVID Delta variant and following the recent guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Connecticut Department of Public Health, the University is mandating the wearing of masks in all university buildings regardless of vaccination status.

Effective immediately, masks must be worn indoors on campus except in private residential spaces or in private offices. We will provide additional guidance in the coming weeks on how masking may impact teaching and co-curricular activities.

July 14, 2021: Campus Update

To the Wesleyan community:

I hope you are enjoying your summer. This past year the global pandemic has tested us all, asking us to have courage and flexibility in the face of a great unknown. Thanks to everyone’s hard work and diligence in keeping our community safe, we are excited for a return to normalcy on campus this fall.

I want to take a moment to update you on plans for the upcoming academic year.

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.