Public Health Update – December 4, 2020

To the Wesleyan Community:

I hope you all had a wonderful and safe Thanksgiving, though I’m sure many of your celebrations looked quite different than usual. The holiday offered us a time to reflect on the blessings we have even during a difficult period, especially for those who have suffered hardship and significant losses during this past year.

At this point, all but about 300 students have left campus for the short time remaining in the semester; this number will drop to about 150 at the start winter recess. I had the opportunity to check in with our students who were in isolation and quarantine on Thanksgiving Day. Their positivity and gratitude to enjoy a meal and to be able to visit virtually with family was inspiring.

Speaking of positivity and gratitude, I—like everyone, I’m sure—have been feeling buoyed by all the encouraging news coming out recently about vaccines for COVID-19. It appears that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is likely to give Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) to both Pfizer and Moderna for the vaccines they have developed, and that other pharmaceutical companies may not be far behind with their own vaccines. So far these vaccines boast a 90-95% efficacy (typically current vaccines for other illnesses have much lower efficacies), and appear to be safe overall with minimal side effects (such as headache, muscle aches, fever, and fatigue). If approved, these would be the first vaccines to use a synthetic messenger-RNA (mRNA) that when injected into the body “teaches” our cells to produce the spike protein that covers the SARS CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19. Our immune system then identifies this as a foreign invader and produces antibodies to protect us. There is no risk in getting COVID-19 from this type of immunization.

Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to listen in on a meeting at which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) began the process of prioritization for distributing the vaccines. As you may have read in the news, they determined that phase one of vaccination would include all healthcare professionals, as well as residents of long-term care facilities, with skilled nursing homes being the highest priority. These groups comprise approximately 24 million people. By the end of December, 40 million doses of vaccine should be available, with 5 to 10 million doses produced per week thereafter. Because the vaccination series involves two injections given three weeks apart, the number of people who can be vaccinated can be calculated by cutting the numbers of doses in half.

The next priority groups will be determined in future meetings, and it is predicted that essential workers, those aged 65 and older, and those with high-risk medical conditions will be in the following phases. Young, healthy people who are neither healthcare nor essential workers—which describes most, though not all, of our students at Wesleyan—will most likely be able to get the vaccine in the spring. We are in the early stages of discussing plans related to the vaccines, and will share more information as it becomes available.

This is all great news, but it’s important that we don’t let our guard down now. In fact, cases are surging in many parts of the country and health officials are deeply concerned that travel and gatherings related to the holidays may make the situation worse. So please, continue to wear your face masks, keep your distance, and enjoy your friends and family virtually—or at least at a safe distance—for now.

In closing, I have two quick reminders for students: Any student who did not get a flu shot on campus (at campus clinics or the Davison Health Center) this fall is required to send proof that they have received a flu shot off-campus to healthforms@wesleyan.edu by January 20, 2021. In addition, any student who is diagnosed with COVID-19 over winter break is asked to submit their positive lab result to the Davison Health Center at healthforms@wesleyan.edu. This will assist us with managing testing for these individuals after they return to campus.

Be well,

Tom McLarney, MD

Additional Closing Information

Please note the following corrections to the information from the sustainability office in the email you recently received about closing.

1. The mention to remove all your belongings was incorrect. Students who are returning to the same assignment do not need to remove everything, although it does need to be neatly put away in dressers/drawers/closets.

2. Composting: Students who are returning to campus next semester should empty their bucket or jar in the nearest black bin, wash it out, and leave it slightly ajar in their residence or on a covered porch, if they have one. Students who are not returning can leave their bin next to an outdoor black bin to be picked up. Students in dorms who are not returning can leave their emptied and washed compost jars next to the compost bin in the building.

Please also note that all computer labs, with the exception of ST lab and HAS lab, have been closed until February. ST lab and HAS lab are open, at their reduced COVID capacities, 24/7.

Remember to check the Residential Life website for additional information about preparing to leave campus and to TURN IN YOUR KEYS.

COVID Testing 11/20 – 11/24

Reminder, the COVID testing site closes at 2:45PM today (11/20).

Monday November 23, testing will be available between 10AM and 6 PM.

Tuesday November 24, testing will be available between 7AM and 2:45PM.

For those of you leaving campus, please see the Residential Life website for additional information about preparing to leave campus and remember to TURN  IN YOUR KEYS to Residential Life.

 

 

Reminder: Housing Closes on 11/25 at 12:00 PM, EST

This a repost of the message sent to students by Kieran Duffy on November 19th.

Good Evening,

As a reminder, housing is closing on 11/25/20 at 12:00 PM (EST). Residential Life staff will begin checking spaces on campus starting at 10:00 am that morning. Please be advised that you should plan on completing the closing checklist for your space prior to leaving campus.

Students must return keys prior to leaving campus and by 11/25 at 12:00 pm unless approved for a petition request to remain on campus past that date and time. Keys may be deposited in the key drop boxes located around campus at the following locations: Outside of North College, Exeley Science Center Parking Lot (Lawn Avenue side), and Admissions Parking Lot. Please review the closing information on our website if you have not already done so: Residential Life Closing Info Page.

Please be prepared for staff to be in the buildings, ensure that you are wearing a mask and maintaining social distancing while walking through the hallway.

The Resource Center will be open next week Monday – Friday (except Thanksgiving day) from 11 am – 5 pm, and will be accepting donations of any useable, shelf-stable foods. As a reminder, the upcoming break is longer than usual, so you may want to consider donating food items that you don’t want to bring home with you.

Additionally, Waste Not will be collecting selected reusable items, please see the following information regarding Waste Not:

Room Condition
You can avoid incurring additional charges by doing the following:
Remove all personal belongings, recycling, compost, and trash. (Remember, this may take time – plan accordingly!). Please bring garbage to the dumpsters, recycling to the recycling bins, and take out any compost.
Don’t forget that you can recycle batteries, electronic waste, string lights, printer cartridges, pens/pencils/markers, and more in the bright green bins outside of Pi Café.

Compost Buckets
Empty the remaining contents of your bucket into a Wesleyan black composting bin and rinse out the bucket. Visit map.wesleyan.edu/#/layer/compost if you’ve forgotten where to bring your compost. Email jkleindienst@wesleyan.edu if you have any questions.
All residents: Please bring your empty bucket with lid next to the nearest black bin to your residence no later than November 21st.
Residence Hall residents: Eco Facilitators will remove the bucket from your building over the break. If you have a compost jar that you will not want to keep, please notify your Eco Facilitator so that we can clean and reuse them.
Apartment and house residents: Please empty your bucket in the nearest black bin, rinse, and wash and leave the empty bucket partially uncovered so air can circulate. If you have a porch or other covered outdoor area, we recommend leaving it outside.

Waste Not
Donate selected reusable items to Waste Not by bringing them to the garage behind 44 Brainerd Ave (Womanist House) on Saturday, November 21st between 1-5 pm. We are ONLY collecting the following items: mirrors, fans, refrigerators, microwaves, lamps & decorations and are NOT accepting other items at this mid-semester collection. You can learn more via our Facebook post: https://www.facebook.com/sustainablewes/photos/a.654797931207441/3683877778299426/.

If you have any questions regarding closing, please don’t hesitate to contact us at reslife@wesleyan.edu.

Best,
Kieran

Kieran J. Duffy ( He, Him pronouns)
Assistant Director of Residential Life
Wesleyan University
237 High Street
Middletown, CT 06459
(860) 685-3429

New Restrictions on Campus for Health and Safety – COVID Update

The following reposted message was sent to the campus community by Dean Culliton on November 19th.

To the Campus Community:

I write today with an important update on Wesleyan’s operations, as we have seen a cluster of COVID-19 cases on campus in recent days. Given the community spread we see all around the country and our own new positive tests, we have determined that additional measures are needed to restrict interactions among those on campus.

Starting tomorrow (Friday, Nov. 20), those classes that were to meet in-person before Thanksgiving, will meet remotely. Faculty will be in touch with students about all relevant adjustments.

With Thanksgiving recess less than a week away, students who have received a negative result from their most recent test are advised to leave campus as soon as they are safely able to do so. Students who have not yet received the result of their most recent test should wait to travel. Students who receive a positive test result, experience any symptoms, or believe they may have been exposed to COVID in recent days should contact Health Services at 860-685-2470. Before leaving campus, students must return their keys to one of the key drop boxes (located at North College, Exley parking lot, and Admission parking lot), and follow the closing instructions.

For the safety of one’s family and home community, upon returning home, students should ideally quarantine for 14 days. However, some health authorities have recommended a four-day quarantine followed by a COVID test with negative results.

Immediately, we are implementing additional campus restrictions:

  • Gatherings are restricted to your ‘family unit.’
  • Organized athletic activities are suspended.
  • Dining is exclusively grab-and-go.
  • The libraries are closed, but contactless book pick-up is available.
  • Freeman Athletic Center remains closed.
  • Residence halls, program houses and wood-frame houses are open only to their residents.
  • Students are not to leave and return to campus other than for essential trips (e.g., to the doctor or pharmacy).

Students who have petitioned and received permission to remain on campus over break may still do so. These students are encouraged to take a test on November 24. Testing will be closed from Nov. 25–30 for Thanksgiving. If during this time, students remaining on campus become ill or are concerned about a COVID exposure, they should contact Health Services at 860-685-2470. Testing will resume on campus on December 2 and will operate on a reduced schedule: Wednesdays from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. All students and employees on campus will test once per week.

Cabinet members will continue to work with staff to determine positions that are needed on campus for student and faculty support and for other University needs.

As always, it is critical that everyone follow the COVID safety guidelines at all times, including mask wearing, social distancing, hand washing, avoiding gatherings, and staying home when sick.

Thank you for your continued cooperation to keep our community safe. We will update you as necessary.

 

Sincerely,

Rick Culliton

Dean of Students

Chair, Pandemic Planning Committee

 

Stop by the “Before You Go” Resource Tent! – 11/18

Worried about working remotely for final exams and projects this year? We get it. “Before You Go” for the end of the semester, stop by the Labyrinth Tent this Wednesday (Nov. 18th) between 4:30-6:30pm to see what campus resources are still available for you as many of us leave campus! Enter a raffle just by coming to the event, and pick up a goodie bag while you’re there, too. The Writing Workshop, Presentation Studio, Library, Peer Advisors, Math Workshop, CAPS, and the Resource Center will all be there to give more information about the support they offer.

See you Wednesday!

New Fair Trade Virtual Study Abroad Classes for Spring 2021!

New Courses Now in WesMaps!

CGST321 Theatre for Social Change

  • Taught in Spanish
  • Learn with Ecuadorian participants
  • Cross-listed with DANC320

CGST322 Storying and Re-Storying (Storytelling for Social Change)

  • Taught in Spanish
  • Learn with Ecuadorian participants
  • Cross-listed with DANC320

CGST340 Identity and Pacha

  • Taught in English
  • Learn from Ecuadorian educators
  • Cross-listed with ANTH250

CGST341 Critical Interculturality and the Pedagogy of Unlearning

  • Taught in English
  • Learn from Ecuadorian educators
  • Cross-listed with ANTH241

Interactive, experiential online courses provided by our partner in Ecuador

No additional tuition

Time zone same as CT

Fair Trade Virtual Study Abroad Course Flyer (2)

Pride in STEM Conference – 11/18

This is a repost of an email sent by VP for Equity and Inclusion, Dr. Alison Williams on Nov. 6th.

Pride in STEM Virtual Conference

“Join Pride in STEM to celebrate the third annual LGBTQ+ STEM Day at the LGBTQ+ STEM Day Virtual Conference on 18th November, 2020!

To commemorate American Astronomer and gay activist Frank Kameny’s US Supreme Court fight against workplace discrimination, the conference is about what motivates and challenges us – in our professional lives, in our personal lives, in our practice as researchers, in our lived experiences as members of plural, intersecting, communities, in our pasts and in our futures.”

Learn more at

https://prideinstem.org/lgbtstemday/lgbtq-stem-day-virtual-conference/

 

Planning Gatherings & Room Reservations

This is a reposted message from SALD sent on November 6th.

Greetings students,

As a follow up to the email from Dean Culliton, there are a limited number of indoor spaces that can be reserved for groups of ten or less, and in addition, as of next week, the academic tents.  Reservations must be made at least 72 hours (3 days) in advance via Room Request, which can be found on your WesPortal.  If you are unfamiliar on how to reserve spaces, information and a video tutorial can be found on the Student Activities and Leadership Development (SALD) website.  Events may not be open invitations, nor advertised on social media. In person events may occur on Foss Hill by completing the Foss Hill Events Form in WesNest.

Note that all spaces will be used as is, and additional furniture or services cannot be added.  Please also keep in mind that the amended student event policy and Covid Guidelines / Agreement still apply.

Lounges in residence halls and program houses are not available for reservation, as it is the only place within their residence that students may interact with more than one person.  Woodframe residents will received additional information regarding use of their backyards, which is also limited to ten individuals.  

Please contact SALD@wesleyan.edu with questions regarding room reservations and student event planning. 

Thanks!

Student Activities and Leadership Development