Public Health Update – 5/7

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.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has posted helpful pictorial charts outlining the differences between which activities unvaccinated and fully vaccinated people may safely participate in. Of particular note, both vaccinated and unvaccinated people are advised to continue to wear face coverings in indoor public spaces, such as malls, movie theaters, and museums.

Although our optimism grows, we note that the effect that COVID is having around the world is heartbreaking. We can only hope that medical supplies and personnel, as well as vaccines, can be made available to all in need. Closer to home, we continue to acknowledge the impact that COVID has had on our local communities, family, and friends. Many of us have lost important figures in our lives without the opportunity to properly grieve and say goodbye. In addition, let us keep in our thoughts those who are suffering from long-lasting complications and symptoms—including heart and lung conditions and long-haul syndrome—as well as those whose lives have been upended by the indirect effects of the pandemic.

Our Pandemic Planning Committee has been planning for the fall semester. We will be informed by the guidelines of the CDC and the Connecticut Department of Public Health. Anticipating a fully vaccinated campus, we are looking forward to a safe semester with the full range of Wesleyan offerings. Additional details regarding the fall will be shared later in the summer.

Our students, staff, and faculty can all pat themselves on the back for their fortitude and positivity, and for the sacrifices they made to ensure a safe campus environment. A university can have the best-laid plans, but only genuine cooperation ensures success. Our Wesleyan community has come through with flying colors!

Congratulations to the graduates of the Class of 2021 and their families. I wish you the best with all future endeavors.

Wishing you a safe, healthy, and restful summer break.

Tom McLarney, MD

Campus Update from 5/5

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:

Effective immediately: Small gatherings permitted

  • Academic and administrative departments are permitted to host meetings and gatherings of 20 people or less. For the remainder of this semester, these gatherings should be outdoors, limited to members of the Wesleyan community and all attendees must wear masks. Limited catering is available from Bon Appetit. Please contact John Kehoe at jkehoe@wesleyan.edu for more information

June 1: Student vaccinations required; some services reopen to campus community

  • All students on campus will be required to be vaccinated and staff and faculty are encouraged to be vaccinated. Students must upload their information to the Davison Health Center and faculty and staff should share their information via WesPortal.
  • Visitors to campus are permitted in outdoor spaces and will be expected to wear masks. This change allows prospective students and their families to participate in campus tours hosted by the Office of Admission. The size of tour groups may be limited and all activities will be outdoors. Additional details about visitors to campus will be provided as part of the fall operations plan.
  • The Olin and Science Libraries will be open daily to the campus community from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Marketplace will be open daily through August 25 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and from 5 to 7 p.m. for summer meal plans or walk-up traffic. Marketplace will remain cashless. All other dining services on campus will be closed until September 1.
  • Usdan will be open Mondays through Fridays from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., and weekends from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • WesStation will be open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Mail delivery to departments is still suspended.

July 1: Travel guidance

  • University-funded travel for fully vaccinated faculty, staff, and students will be permitted. This includes domestic locations as well as international locations that are considered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to be at COVID risk level 1 (low) or 2 (moderate). If a country rises above risk level 2 before the trip takes place, it should be postponed or cancelled.

Despite these upcoming changes, I want to call your attention to an important policy that has not changed: the wearing of face coverings. While we are aware that the CDC recently eased its guidelines on the wearing of masks outdoors among fully vaccinated individuals in small groups, there is no change to Wesleyan’s policy requiring the wearing of masks and face coverings on campus. As many members of our campus community have yet to complete their vaccinations, the Pandemic Planning Committee believes it is important to maintain this guideline. For more details on this and other safety guidelines that our campus community will continue to follow, please visit Keep Wes Safe and review our Community Agreement (for faculty and staff) and Code of Conduct (for students).

We are very much looking forward to seeing our campus return to its full vibrancy and in the coming months we will share more details about fall operations. Thank you again for your cooperation and patience over the past year, as well as in the coming months. We truly appreciate your efforts.

Sincerely,

Rick Culliton

Dean of Students

Chair, Pandemic Planning Committee

Vaccine Record Upload

Dear students,

We are aware that a number of you were able to get vaccine appointments outside of the Community Health Center clinic on April 25.   For those who got your first vaccine dose at the CHC clinic, you are automatically scheduled for your second dose on May 15 at the same time slot that you received your first dose. No additional scheduling is necessary.

Regardless of where you get your vaccine, when you receive your final dose, we ask that you submit verification of your COVID-19 vaccination to the electronic medical record system by going to https://wesleyan.medicatconnect.com and use your Wes email user/password to log in.

Please see instructions below:

  • Take a photo of your vaccine card/record.
  • Click on the Immunizations Icon located at the top left on the home page.
  • Select Enter dates from the drop Box.
  • Scroll to the end of this screen where you will see the heading COVID 19 Vaccine.
  • Enter your date and hit submit (repeat this step if more than 1 vaccine).
  • An immunization entry pop up box will appear.
  • Click HERE to upload a copy of your record.
  • Select either COVID-19 vaccine or Immunization Record from the documents available for upload drop box
  • Select file and Open

Thank you in advance for your cooperation in uploading this record and helping us as we plan for the fall semester.

Best,

Dean Rick

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.

You will most likely experience a sore arm, redness, and/or swelling at the injection site that may last a day or two. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) advises individuals not to ‘’pre-medicate’’ with anti-inflammatory agents just prior to receiving the vaccine. There is a concern that pre-medicating may inhibit our immune system response.

You may also experience fatigue, headache, muscle aches, chills, fever, and/or nausea, which may last one or two days and prevent you from attending work or classes. Supportive measures such as rest, adequate hydration, cool compress at the injection site, Tylenol or Ibuprofen can help ease discomfort.

During this period of campus-wide immunization, we would ask for flexibility for community members who have been vaccinated. Specifically, we request that those who miss a day or two of classes or work not be required to get documentation from a healthcare provider. Because symptoms are similar to those that we screen for at the testing site, we recommend that anyone who has had a COVID-19 vaccine in the past 48 hours and has these symptoms receive a test.

If you are concerned about or experience any post vaccination symptoms, please contact your healthcare provider (staff and faculty) or the Davison Health Center (students):

  • Increasing arm redness after 48 hours
  • Shortness of breath
  • Severe chest or abdominal pain
  • Significant lightheadedness or fainting
  • Mental status changes

None of the messenger RNA vaccines including the Pfizer vaccine have been associated with the rare blood clotting phenomena known as Vaccine Induced Thrombotic Thrombocytopenia (VITT).

Most experts agree that one is fully immunized at two weeks following the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine. Until we achieve campus herd immunity, we will still need to adhere to all COVID-19 guidelines.

Anyone who has had COVID should receive a vaccine as soon as possible after release from isolation. Initially, the recommendation was to wait 90 days (natural immunity could be expected to provide protection for at least that long). This recommendation was based on the concern that there was not enough vaccine available for the general population, but supply is no longer an issue.

Wishing you all wellness and safety,

Tom McLarney, MD

Important Commencement Updates – 4/20

Dear Wesleyan community,

We are all excited and eager to celebrate the 189th Commencement and the accomplished and persevering Class of 2021 in person next month. I write to share important details and updates about Commencement. Our condensed Commencement exercises will take place on Andrus Field beginning at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, May 26, rain or shine. Graduates and guests will be in a celebratory mood, but we must adhere to all COVID-19 safety precautions—wearing masks and maintaining appropriate distance.

Other important updates:

–All graduating students—including remote students, December 2020 completions, and graduate degree candidates—may participate in Commencement. Diplomas will be mailed to all graduates after Commencement. December completions and graduating seniors who are studying remotely are permitted to return for Commencement day or may opt to stay on campus Tuesday, May 25, through noon Thursday, May 27. Graduates planning to return to campus for Commencement should inform the University by April 30 by completing the Commencement Plans form.

–While the University would prefer to welcome more guests to campus, we are limiting our numbers to two guests per graduate to ensure the safety of all of our attendees. Graduates will be asked to register themselves and their two guests through the University Box Office. A separate email with the registration link will be sent when registration opens the week of April 26. Registrations are nontransferable.

–All guests should be vaccinated or have received a negative PCR test result three to five days prior to arriving on campus. Guests will enter through designated areas near Andrus Field, and contactless guest check-in will be outside the Usdan University Center.

–Guests will be seated together in groupings of two. All groupings will be spaced to ensure proper social distancing. Guest access to campus will be for Commencement day only. (Other Commencement-related events and activities will be virtual or limited to graduates.)

–For those who cannot attend in person, the Commencement ceremony will be live streamed on the Commencement 2021 website and Wesleyan Facebook page beginning at 11:00 a.m. on May 26.

For more information about Commencement please visit the Commencement 2021 website or email rc@wesleyan.edu.

Finally, these plans are subject to change if conditions warrant. Thank you for your understanding and cooperation in making sure we all can mark this milestone safely. We are really looking forward to this!

Sincerely,

Mike Whaley

Vice President for Student Affairs

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.

If you have already registered, you do not need to register again. However, if you registered and have been vaccinated at another location, please cancel your appointment. For students who need to cancel or modify their appointment, you may do so by using your confirmation email (CHCvaccineclinic). Please make any changes to your vaccine appointment by Friday, April 16.

Please note that students who are studying remotely are not eligible to receive the vaccine at this clinic. In addition, students who have already been vaccinated or who are in isolation or quarantine at the time of the clinic will not be vaccinated at this clinic.

You will need to bring your Wesleyan ID card and the completed prevaccination questionnaire with you to your appointment. Because the clinic needs to prepare and plan for a specific number of vaccine doses, it is critical that you arrive promptly at your scheduled appointment time. To avoid congestion, please do not accompany your friends to their appointments if you do not have an appointment at that time. 

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.

Rick Culliton

Dean of Students

Chair, Pandemic Planning Committee

Job Searching During a Pandemic: Alumni Panel Discussion – Tomorrow, 4/6

Learn from Wes 2020 grads about finding a job and transitioning to post-grad life during the pandemic. Join us on Tuesday for a virtual panel conversation between current seniors and recent alumni.
Job Searching During a Pandemic: Alumni Panel Discussion

Tue, Apr 6 7:00 pm EDT – 8:00 pm EDT

https://wesleyan.joinhandshake.com/events/731196

Panelists:

  • Maya Bernstein-Schalet ‘20, Journalist, Heritage Radio Network/Researcher, Belly of the Best
  • Sherly Francois ’20, Management Development Program, McMaster-Carr
  • Lucine Poturyan ’20, Conflicts Analyst, Wood Smith Henning & Berman LLP
  • Zack Hersh ‘20, Legislative Aide, Colorado House of Representatives

Moderated by the GCC’s senior Peer Career Advisors Esme Lytle ’21, Brendan Joyce ’21, and Phillip Wong ’21.

Job Searching During a Pandemic: Alumni Panel Discussion – 4/6

Tuesday, April 6, 2021 7:00pm – 8:00pm EDT

Join us for a virtual panel discussion with members of Wesleyan’s Class of 2020. Learn from their experiences job hunting and transitioning to post-grad life during the COVID-19 pandemic. Connect with current students and recent alumni to share stories, ask questions, and share advice for navigating the months ahead.

Panelists:
Maya Bernstein-Schalet ’20, Anthropology/Civic Engagement Certificate
Journalist, Heritage Radio Network
Researcher, Belly of the Best
Brooklyn, NY

Sherly Francois ’20, Psychology/African American Studies
Management Development Program, McMaster-Carr
Atlanta, GA

Lucine Poturyan ’20, Government/Russian
Data Analysis Minor Conflicts Analyst, Wood Smith Henning & Berman LLP
Los Angeles, CA

Zack Hersh ’20, American Studies
Legislative Aide, Colorado House of Representatives
Denver, CO

Student Moderators:
Esme Lylte ’21
Phillip Wong ’21
Brendan Joyce ’21

Co-sponsored by Gordon Career Center and Dean’s Office

Contact information:
Rachel Munafo

Campus COVID Updates and Reminders

To the campus community,

We are writing to share a number of important COVID-19 updates, in light of recent changes to the State of Connecticut’s plans.

Effective tomorrow, Connecticut’s governor has relaxed a number of restrictions across the state, including no longer requiring offices to maintain a 50 percent occupancy limit. The University will generally follow the 50 percent occupancy of offices for the time being while cabinet members will continue to guide and direct staffing for their divisions.

In addition, the governor has accelerated the state’s age-based vaccine distribution plan. As of tomorrow, all individuals aged 45 and older may schedule their appointments for COVID-19 vaccinations. Scheduling will open to all individuals aged 16 and older tentatively beginning on April 5. (Please note that this new phase starting April 5 combines the 35 to 44 age range and the 16 to 34 age range, which had previously each been scheduled during separate weeks later in the spring.) The University encourages everyone to get vaccinated when you have the chance to do so.

Even with these positive developments, we must continue to stay focused and vigilant on keeping ourselves and our campus safe. We will continue to follow our COVID-19 testing and contact tracing protocols, including twice-weekly testing for students; wearing face coverings at all times when in public; and adhering to social distancing guidelines. Please make sure you are familiar with the COVID Code of Conduct (for students) and the Community Agreement (for employees). You will find more important information on the Keep Wes Safe website, including the COVID-19 Dashboard and public health updates.

Finally, a sincere thanks to our faculty and staff for their tireless efforts toward making Wesleyan a safe place to be this academic year. Your hard work has been critical, and is very much appreciated.

Sincerely,

Lisa Brommer
Associate Vice President for Human Resources

Rick Culliton

Dean of Students
Chair, Pandemic Planning Committee

Be-Friend Initiative Begins on 3/22

What is be-friend?
BE-FRIEND aims to pair Wes students with each other to connect and share thoughts, ideas, and themselves. It is open to all Wed students regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, or ability. We hope to foster connections in the midst of a time characterized by social distancing and disconnect.

How it works:
Interested participants will complete an initial survey designed to help the chaplain’s office pair you with someone based on your preferences, including faith or no-faith tradition, gender identity, race/ethnicity/ethnic identity, and any specific preference you might have.

The program will begin on March 22 and go through the end of April. If the pair of “friends” want to continue to meet, in-person or online, that’s up to them. We will gather safely outside in early May to enjoy a celebratory meal (provided by a local restaurant). For those participating from elsewhere, we will mail a care package to their preferred address. Each participant will receive a free t-shirt.

Here is the link to the survey: https://forms.gle/qE1HTwXpPQJMm9GZ8

 

Announcement for Be-Friend Initiative with flowers