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.

I strongly encourage everyone to review this checklist to Prepare for Arrival. Additional information on move-in and the beginning of the semester can be found on the Residential Life website.

All students must quarantine for two weeks after arriving on campus. We will observe an initial state-mandated, campus-wide quarantine period that will last through the end of the day on February 21. Because the period after arrival poses the highest risk for students to be asymptomatic carriers of the virus, the success of our semester will depend on all students taking the quarantine measures seriously. Beginning February 9 and through the end of the quarantine, students will take all classes online.

More information on campus health and safety during COVID-19 can be found on the Keep Wes Safe website. I look forward to seeing you soon!

Sincerely,

Rick Culliton

Dean of Students

Chair, Pandemic Planning Committee

Preparing to Return to Campus for Spring 2021

This is a repost of the message sent to the study body on January 14, 2021 by Dean Culliton.

Dear students,

Happy New Year! I hope this note finds you well, and that you have been enjoying a restful break. I write today with important information regarding our plans for the spring semester.

Members of the University community are very much looking forward to having students back in Middletown. Our experience in the fall allowed us to test and fine-tune our safety processes and protocols, and we feel confident that we have strong systems in place to limit the spread of COVID on campus. It will require all of us to be diligent in order to keep Wesleyan safe.

However, we are also mindful of the high levels of COVID spread in many parts of the country, and worrying news about new variants of the virus. Our plan remains to begin the spring semester in early February, with students permitted to return to campus beginning February 5, and spring semester classes starting February 9. We will alert you immediately if we determine that health conditions necessitate adjusting this schedule.

As a reminder, spring semester will once again begin with an initial two-week period of campus-wide quarantine and online instruction to comply with the State of Connecticut’s requirements.

Below is a checklist of important steps all students must take before returning to campus. Please read these steps carefully to ensure you are prepared.

  1. Beginning on January 22 until you return to campus, we ask students to limit exposure to others (quarantine at home), and especially to avoid large groups of people.
  2. All students will need to receive a negative COVID test result from a PCR test taken within five days prior to leaving home. Students will be directed to upload test results to WesPortal and have a copy upon return to campus. If you receive a positive result, do not come to campus. Recover at home and alert the Davison Health Center.
  3. If you have been in close contact with anyone with COVID or COVID-like symptoms please contact the Davison Health Center and delay your arrival on campus until at least 14 days after your close contact.
  4. Any student who did not get a flu shot on campus this fall is required to send proof that they have received a flu shot off-campus to healthforms@wesleyan.edu by January 20.
  5. Prior to leaving home, you must schedule your arrival COVID test appointment online. This appointment must be your first stop upon arriving to campus. Unlike the fall semester, you must use the app to schedule your COVID test and the number of available tests each hour is limited to reduce density as students move in. You will receive your residential keys after being tested on campus. For students travelling by plane with late arrival times, please contact reslife@wesleyan.edu with information about your travel day and time to secure a later time slot.
  6. Students who were not on campus in the fall semester must electronically sign a testing waiver for the Broad Institute and Wesleyan. These students can find waivers in their WesPortal beginning the last week of January.

I will continue to communicate with you in the weeks to come, including regarding updates to the COVID Code of Conduct for spring term. Information about campus health and safety during COVID can always be found on the Keep Wes Safe website.

Enjoy the remainder of your break, and I look forward to seeing you back on campus next month!

Sincerely,

Rick Culliton

Dean of Students

Chair, Pandemic Planning Committee

Covid Update – 10/9

This is a repost of the message sent by Dean Culliton on October 9th.

Dear students,

While we are all relieved by the success we have seen keeping our campus safe this semester, it is important that we not let our guard down.  Other campuses that had low Covid rates have experienced sudden spikes of infection.  While the tendency may be to feel more comfortable on campus as we have tested so frequently and seen so few cases, I want to remind you that our safe environment has been created by your careful adherence to widespread physical distancing and wearing of face coverings as well our testing protocol.

Daily we are monitoring whether students are keeping pace with our expected twice-a-week testing regimen and a small number of you have received warnings for not testing two times each week.  We have not required any students who have missed a test to leave campus yet but we have notified a group of students that another missed test will send them home. While our level of testing is a significant investment in the safety of everyone on campus, it requires a relatively small but important commitment on your part.

We have also had some incidents, mostly at night and on the weekends, where students have been observed violating the Covid agreement by not maintaining physical distance or not wearing masks.  The Community Standards Board has adjudicated these incidents and in a couple of cases sent students home to finish the semester remotely, while others have typically been issued sanctions including probation or deferred suspension with 5-8 points.  The stakes are high when people don’t adhere to the agreement which is why the resulting sanctions are so significant.  As the weather gets colder and people move inside please help us keep each other safe.  Whenever you are not in your residence hall room or private residence, wear your face covering and always maintain six feet of separation.  If you are outside gathering with others, maintain six feet of separation and when not eating or drinking, wear your face covering.  We know this is hard and may seem unnatural at times but it is critical.

I have heard from a number of students who are immunocompromised or have family members who are at risk and they are very concerned about the prospect of Wesleyan experiencing a spike in cases that could endanger them and/or require us to cut short the in-person learning for this semester.  The staff and faculty who are on campus are also relying on everyone to do our part. While our campus has been and is safe, we are not a bubble.  You are permitted to leave campus (to Middletown and the immediate surrounding area) and return. As we keep our eye on state and local positivity rates, we are comfortable continuing to allow that movement IF we can adhere to the important steps of wearing face coverings and maintaining safe distance.

Thank you for your continued cooperation and please reach out to your ResLife student staff member or contact me if you have any questions.

Best,

Dean Rick

Rick Culliton

Dean of Students