Wednesday, July 29, 2020
Meeting ID: 925 0816 6330
Meeting ID: 943 2560 6356
Thursday, July 30, 2020
FGLI Town Hall
Meeting ID: 943 7825 6316
To the Wesleyan Community,
Welcome to the dog days of summer. Did you know this expression actually comes from the rise of Sirius, the dog star, from July 3 to August 11? It has nothing to do with dogs, though my Labrador Retriever remains skeptical. And there’s your piece of trivia for the day!
I write to you amidst a heat wave in Connecticut, as my colleagues and I are working hard in preparation for the start of school, just over a month away. Today, I’d like to share details of Wesleyan’s plans for COVID-19 testing.
For testing on campus, we are partnering with the Broad Institute, a non-profit organization based in Cambridge, MA that has a history of performing premier work with human genetics. They also have an extremely large capacity to run tests, and are partnering with many other colleges and universities in New England. The Broad Institute has promised a turn-around time for tests of 36 hours, greatly superior to the typical turnaround time of four to 10 days for many commercial labs.
The Broad Institute will be using a Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test, a kinder and gentler anterior nasal swab that students, faculty, and staff will self-administer under the observation of Davison Health Center staff. The sensitivity of this test (detection of true positives) is believed to be greater than 95 percent.
Testing at Wesleyan will begin on or around August 24, when students begin moving in to campus residences. All students will be tested on the day they arrive on campus, and must self-quarantine in their student residences. Students returning from any state with high COVID-19 activity will be required to quarantine for 14 days based on current state of Connecticut requirements. The state of Connecticut will also recognize a negative pre-arrival COVID-19 test (with written proof of test) performed within 72 hours of arrival. We are actively seeking guidance from the state related to our testing protocol and whether that will allow for a shorter quarantine based upon two negative results on campus.
On the subject of pre-arrival, we are asking all students to self-quarantine for 14 days prior to arriving on campus. Yes, I realize this will put a damper on the typical end-of-summer farewell celebrations that are a tradition for many students, but for the safety of our campus community, it is essential that students avoid such gatherings and other opportunities for contagion.
Following arrival, students will be tested twice weekly. Testing will be performed outside in tents, as outdoors has been shown to be a safer environment to deter the spread of COVID-19, and six-foot distancing will be enforced. Wesleyan faculty and staff will also be tested regularly, and details on those plans will be forthcoming. We’ll be releasing more details regarding testing locations and appointments in the near future. Wesleyan is also pursuing an app that will remind people of their test times, give test results, and share national and state information related to COVID, among other things.
With the results of these tests, Wesleyan will be performing contact tracing to contain the spread of any contagion. This means that anyone who receives a positive test will be asked about anyone with whom they had close contact (including roommates/housemates, intimate partners, and anyone with whom they have been in contact—less than 6 feet apart—for 15 minutes or longer) within 48 hours prior to the test being performed (or, if the person tested is showing symptoms, within 48 hours prior to symptom onset). We will reach out to these individuals, without revealing the identity of the person who tested positive, and they will be required to quarantine for 14 days (the maximum incubation time for COVID-19). Because people can infect others two days prior to symptom onset, we aim to put close contacts in quarantine before they become infectious, preventing the spread of COVID.
Wesleyan will cover the cost of all testing. Needless to say, if a student, staff, or faculty member will be doing 100 percent of their work virtually (off-campus), there is no need to come to campus for a COVID test. We are not planning to do antibody testing on campus, as these tests do not tell if someone has an active disease, nor do they necessarily mean that person is immune to reinfection from COVID-19.
Testing and contact tracing will go a long way toward keeping us all safe, but practicing other safe behaviors at all times—including wearing masks/face coverings anytime you are in public (outside your own dorm room or private office), staying more than six feet away from others, and washing hands frequently—are also critical. Please pack a thermometer to help self-monitor for illness.
Stay safe, and I look forward to seeing many of you on campus (a safe distance away!) very soon.
Tom McLarney, MD
In-person only = Intend to hold the class in-person on campus until Thanksgiving, remotely after Thanksgiving, and cannot accept any online students who would participate remotely.
In-person with remote students = Intend to hold the class in-person on campus until Thanksgiving, remotely after Thanksgiving, and will accept students who are unable to participate in-person and need to participate remotely.
Online only = Intend to hold the course online for the entire semester.
Hybrid in-person only = Intend to offer a course that will include some in-person sessions and some sessions online until Thanksgiving, fully online after Thanksgiving, and cannot accept any students who would not be able to participate in the in-person sessions.
Hybrid with remote students = Intend to offer a course that will include some in-person sessions and some sessions online until Thanksgiving, fully online after Thanksgiving, and will accept students who are unable to participate in-person and need to participate in all sessions remotely.
You may access this listing from the Office of the Registrar here.
Kieran J. Duffy ( He, Him pronouns)
Assistant Director of Residential Life
237 High Street
Middletown, CT 06459
One part of the current testing plan is for all undergraduate students to be tested upon arriving to campus, followed by a self-quarantine in their student residence until they meet the following criteria: Students who are from New York, New Jersey and New England until they receive a negative test result, and all other students, including those coming from another country, until they receive two negative test results (which will likely mean a seven day quarantine). These students can shorten their quarantine period by having a test done on their own within 72 hours prior to coming to campus and bringing proof of the negative result to campus, which will be considered their first of two negative results.
Therefore, Residential Life is adapting its arrival and move in plan as follows: All undergraduate students may sign up for a day and timeslot between August 24 through August 30. The number of timeslots is limited by hour and location in order to facilitate physical distancing as students are moving in. We ask that students who will only require one negative test result sign up for the latter half of the week, leaving the earlier days for students who need two rounds of testing. Students living in program houses, wood frame houses and apartments (other than Fauver, Low and High Rise) do not need to sign up for a day and timeslot, but should plan to arrive between 10:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. on one of those days. Any student whose travel plans have them arriving after 7:00 p.m. should email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will leave their keys at Public Safety for them.
We are hosting a webinar on Tuesday, July 21 at noon to review the move-in process and answer questions students might have related to housing. The link is listed below. The platform for move-in sign-ups will be available on Tuesday, July 21 at 2:00 p.m., following the webinar. If flight arrangements need to be made prior to this time, students may email email@example.com with the day and time they anticipate arriving on campus and we will reserve that timeslot for them.
Since the sign-ups are based on residence, we hope to have housing assignments for first year and transfer students completed by Wednesday, July 22, so that they may begin making their travel plans. We are working on assignments for students who do not yet have one and for those who have requested changes. These students will be able to see their assignment in their WesPortal on August 7, and should wait to sign up for a timeslot until then.
Students who live within a few hours driving distance of campus may drop off their belongings the weekend of August 22-23. They will be given access to their residence, but will not receive their key until they return the following weekend. More details regarding this option will be sent next month.
Webinar information: Residential Life: Move in and Reactivation of Campus
Jul 21, 2020 12:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Please click the link below to join the webinar:
We hope you are able to join us next Tuesday. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any additional questions or concerns. We look forward to welcoming those of you who are able to be on campus this fall. If you are not able to be on campus this fall, please notify us as soon as possible so that we can finalize housing assignments for those who do not yet have one.
Associate Dean/Director of Residential Life
President Roth sent the following message to the campus community on July 8, 2020. I have posted it on our class blog for your convenience.
Wishing you good health,
As promised in my June message, I am writing now with more specificity concerning our plans to reactivate campus in late August. Since our first priority is the health and safety of our community members, these plans may have to be adjusted in response to changing public health conditions. Whatever these challenging conditions may be, we intend to provide an excellent educational experience (on campus or remotely).
We have developed a robust set of resources on our website about our campus reactivation, including information on instruction and campus life, health and safety, and returning to work on campus. Here are some highlights:
We will begin fall classes on August 31 (one week earlier than initially scheduled), with the possibility of finishing the semester online after Thanksgiving (there will be no traditional fall break). Students will be asked to avoid large gatherings in the weeks before coming to campus and to take increasing precautions, in addition to wearing masks and social distancing. Students who are able to get tested will be encouraged to determine that they are negative for Covid-19 within 48 hours of traveling to campus. Everyone on campus will be tested shortly after arrival, and there will be frequent testing on a regular basis thereafter. Those on campus who test positive for Covid-19 will be provided with supportive isolation until they are no longer contagious. Students who test positive will be able to continue their coursework remotely.
Faculty have been given the choice as to whether they will teach their classes in person, remotely, or in some combination. It is likely that many students will have a portion of their instruction online, whether they return to campus or not. While some staff members will continue to work remotely, there will be a presence of staff on campus. Apart from the commuting of employees (who will be tested for the virus), we expect little travel to campus. There will be no program of intercollegiate sports or club sports, but we do plan to have safe athletic training on campus.
Despite the economic challenges we are all contending with, Wesleyan remains firmly committed to both enrolling a socio-economically diverse student body and meeting the full demonstrated need of our financial aid students. Given new regulations from Washington, Wesleyan is particularly concerned about our international students, and we are committed to doing all we can to ensure that they can continue to make academic progress in Fall 2020.
Please consult the website for detailed information most relevant to your own circumstances, and feel free to reach out to the appropriate department with your questions. We will continually update this site with more information as it becomes available. We will send out another community message in August, or sooner depending on the public health trajectory. Obviously, we are very concerned about the recent surge in cases in the South and West and are monitoring the situation closely. Our plans may have to change.
We believe in the value of an on-campus education, and the basic steps we need to take are clear. The simple act of wearing a mask consistently reduces the likelihood of transmission. Masks combined with rigorous testing, tracing and supportive isolation will make our campus safer. I look forward to a fall semester in which we take good care of one another and continue to excel in learning together.
Michael S. Roth
I hope you and your loved ones are doing well. I also wanted to take this time to check in, especially since we’re rounding the bases on our first week of distance learning and virtual Wesleyan life.
Some of you have reached out already with concerns about navigating challenging dynamics at home. Others have contacted me with requests to modify their class schedules. And a few of you have expressed concerns about completing the semester while navigating an unfamiliar, virtual landscape. No matter what, keep reaching out! None of us signed on for this, but I want to encourage you as I encourage myself to take things step-by-step and day-by-day.
While many of us no longer have unfettered access to all the people and communities we hold dear, that doesn’t mean we can’t continue to make important connections. FaceTime and Netflix/Amazon/Hulu/Peacock/YouTube/Disney+ (lest I leave out any streaming giant), or pick up the phone and call/text someone. Find new ways to maintain the networks that have been your support. I’m happy to speak with anyone about what I’ve been doing to live beyond my keyboard and touchscreens. None of my approaches are groundbreaking, and most of them don’t feel as satisfying or as cathartic as giving my little sister a hug or eating out with one of my closest friends. Even so, they’re getting me through this.
What follows is a short listing of important academic updates and resources for your review. I’ve provided a link to the Spring 2020-specific Student Academic Resources (SAR) website where there is useful information to help you complete the semester successfully. Please note, peer advisors, course tutors, and Accessibility Services are still available to work with you.
Additionally, I invite you to keep the lines of communication open with me and your professors. Don’t hesitate to schedule a half-hour appointment or a 20-minute drop-in with me to discuss any issues or concerns; you may do so through the following link: https://tinyurl.com/deanleathers.
Students will be allowed to move from letter grades to CR/U grading simply by notifying their professors by the last day of classes, Wednesday, May 6. Please note: all departments and minors will accept CR/U credits this semester towards their majors/minors.
The university has revised the timeline for pre-registration for the Fall 2020 semester:
Planning: April 7 – 20
Scheduling: April 21
Adjustment: April 22 – 28
The new dates for the planning period overlap with Passover. Please let me know if you have concerns about your ability to participate in academic planning during that time frame.
The deadline to add or drop a fourth (4th) quarter course is five (5) business days from the first class meeting. You may access the 2nd/4th quarter drop/add form through the following link: https://www.wesleyan.edu/registrar/forms/DropAddForm_2nd4thQuarter.pdf
To submit your request, download the form and complete the top portion digitally (you may do this without access to a scanner as the form is now writeable). Once you have done so, forward the form to me, your course instructor, and your faculty advisor(s). If you cannot download the form, please email me (firstname.lastname@example.org), and I will walk you through an alternative process to submit your request.
A full listing of current, 4th quarter classes can be accessed here.
The following link provides access to resources to help you with the transition to distance learning: https://www.wesleyan.edu/sar/Spring2020.html.
Many thanks to those of you who have reached out for support and those who have given their peers support as well. I also want to give a big thank you to those of you who have wished me and my family well. Please continue to look after each other.
Take gentle care,
To the campus community:
As our campus looks forward to spring break, we are writing again with an update on the global coronavirus (COVID-19) situation. We plan to provide regular updates going forward until the situation stabilizes. We have also created a new website with the latest information about the virus for the Wesleyan community, along with an FAQ addressing common questions and concerns, and links to other resources.
To date, there are no confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19 at Wesleyan or in Connecticut. As the virus continues to spread through the U.S. and the rest of the world, the Wesleyan Emergency Response Team is actively managing our readiness and response to the epidemic. Health and safety continue to be the University’s top priority.
We are also closely monitoring the situation in countries around the globe. Earlier this week, we made a decision to close our study-abroad program in Bologna, Italy. Students in the program are instructed to return to their homes, and we’ve asked them not to visit campus until after spring break. Classes in the program will be offered online for the remainder of the semester. Students in several independent Wesleyan-approved programs in South Korea have also been sent home.
As many students prepare to leave campus over break, we urge everyone to make informed and thoughtful decisions about travel in consultation with their families. Wesleyan has made a recommendation that faculty, staff, and students should not travel internationally at this time. The Centers for Disease Control’s informative website contains resources to track COVID-19 cases by geography, advice for avoiding illness, and much more.
We are asking all faculty, staff, and students to register any travel beyond Connecticut—domestic or international—on this form.
As a reminder, Wesleyan’s campus will remain open over spring break. Students are permitted to remain in residences, and dining service and other supports will be available.
As always, no matter where you are in the world, please take common sense measures to stay healthy, such as washing hands and avoiding close contact with people who are sick.
We will continue to communicate regular updates to the campus. If you have questions about services over spring break, please contact the Office of Student Affairs at (860) 685-2772. Questions about study abroad can be directed to Associate Director of Study Abroad, Emily Gorlewski, at email@example.com.
Rob Rosenthal, Interim Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs
Mike Whaley, Vice President for Student Affairs