Update from the Dean of Students

Dear Huskies:

I want to take a moment to echo the thoughts that have been widely shared in the media.  As a campus, a state, and a country we have been fortunate to see an overall decline in our positivity rate.  I do want to be forthcoming in sharing that this is not over and to use this email as an opportunity to talk about why.

Click here for the data as of Tuesday, February 16.  On Wednesday, February 17 we reported 9 on-campus positives and 7 off-campus positives.

I have appreciated the frequent and good guidance that I have received from our SHaW medical team and the Connecticut Department of Public Health: More variants are coming and their ability to increase the spread of disease is both worrisome and unknown. Unfortunately, nearly a year into a lengthy and taxing pandemic this calls for more, not less, vigilance.

Mask wearing and surveillance testing matter.  A lot.

We know how to do this: mask wearing, physical distancing, and participating in surveillance testing.  We also know that, at UConn, COVID is primarily identified through surveillance testing of students who are asymptomatic.  Students who feel completely fine are testing positive through random surveillance testing.

Currently, about 60% of our students are participating in surveillance testing (pooled sampling in the residence halls, at-home testing for off-campus students, and random testing at the Field House).  That’s good but, when positive students are identified through these testing methods, our participation needs to be higher if we want to isolate COVID-19 on campus and reduce spread.  Please help us stay healthy and participate in our surveillance testing.

Finally, we still have some friends gathering in the residence halls and not wearing masks.  My concern for Northwest remains.  Let’s remember to keep our distance and wear masks or we may need to take common areas temporarily off line.

Housing:

Based on preferences submitted through a student survey, housing selection for the fall 2021 term will begin after spring break.  ResLife is continuing the housing selection preparations for fall semester at full capacity.  The ResLife website is being updated with selection information and timelines, and students will begin receiving communication about housing selection in early March.  For detailed information, please visit this site:  https://reslife.uconn.edu/housing-selection/

As a reminder, all students who submit the 2021-2022 housing application by Feb. 28, 2021, will be considered on-time applicants.  The deadline to cancel housing for fall 2021 with no fee will be July 31.  Beginning Aug. 1, 2021, the fee will be $500 for any students who cancel their fall housing.

Pack Ambassadors:

As I’ve mentioned in past emails, we have started the Pack Ambassador Connection program.  Students in isolation, quarantine or who are remote can fill out a form and request a contact from a Pack Ambassador.  Here is the link to the form for students: Pack Ambassador Connect – Google Forms

The PackChat program has begun!  Pack Ambassadors will be staffing a chat room through WebEx on Mondays from 7 to 9 p.m. and Thursdays from 6 to 8 p.m.  This is open to all students from all campuses.

I know it’s hard to meet people during COVID.  Both of these opportunities, in addition to Jonathan’s Challenge, keep us connected even when physically apart.  Try it out!

Also, my advisory group and I are curious: What needs to be on the bucket list for our current first-year students who have missed some key UConn traditions this year? Tweet me at @EllyJBDaugherty and let me know!

All good things,

 

Eleanor JB Daugherty, EdD

She/Her/Hers

Associate Vice President and Dean of Students