Weekly COVID Update from the Dean of Students

The below email was sent to undergraduate and graduate students on the Storrs, Hartford, Stamford, Avery Point, and Waterbury campuses on March 24, 2021

Dear Huskies,

You know, it would be inauthentic of me as a Dean of Students to suggest that warm spring weekends during COVID-19 make me happy.  They don’t.  I worry about the desire to connect that we all have after a year of this and the temptation the weather provides.   So, you know, I don’t exactly hope for good weather.

For today, I’d like to focus on the following:

  • Sunny Days: Am I right to worry?
  • Vaccination availability in April
  • OVER.: Preparing for Fall ‘21
  • The national context that haunts us

Right to worry?

I am humbled and happy to report that the University received zero reports this past weekend of off-campus gatherings that were in violation of the Governor’s orders.  AND Huskython raised $1,052,534.21!!  My worry was misguided.  Instead, you showed me a thing or two by ‘imagining a world’ where UConn students raised over a million dollars for the kids at Connecticut Children’s.  I stand corrected.

Here are the numbers: click here for graph

SHaW and I always keep close eyes on our testing.  As you can see, we’ve popped up a bit but I can share that we know why: many of these positives are emerging from students being quarantined as a close contact through our contact tracing efforts.  Quarantining matters and we anticipate that a close contact may become positive for COVID-19.  Thank you for your continued commitment to following our quarantine procedures.

Access to vaccine in April:

Vaccines administered by UConn Health: On March 29, Hawley Armory will convert to a community vaccination center for individuals administered under the medical supervision of UConn Health.  This site will join a larger network of distribution sites throughout the state dedicated to increasing access to the vaccine.  All eligible individuals in the Mansfield community ages 18 and older will be able to make an appointment at Hawley or another site in Connecticut on and after April 5 (this date from the State is still tentative, please refer to the Connecticut Department of Public Health’s COVID-19 website for confirmed dates).   Please note eligible individuals under 18 may be directed to a specific site by the state.  Individuals can also schedule appointments through the UConn Health MyChart app.

Vaccines administered by SHaW: Our preliminary conversations with the state Department of Public Health indicate that SHaW will begin receiving limited quantities of the vaccine for UConn students who are approved to remain on campus for the conclusion of the Spring term.  Currently, it does not appear that SHaW will receive the vaccine until later in the month of April.  UConn Storrs students will be directly contacted by SHaW through the patient portal on how to make a vaccine appointment once supply is available.

Do. Over: Fall ‘21

Do-over.  That’s how I have been thinking about fall.  My colleagues and I want you to help us think about how we return to a more robust fall semester at UConn.  Earlier today, all students, undergraduate and graduate, received an email titled, “Fall Do-Over Survey”.  Take it.

I want you to tell us what matters the most, what you miss, what you wish for those who weren’t able to truly experience entering UConn as a first year or transfer, and what, if anything, mattered this year that we should preserve moving forward.  Fall will be much better, but UConn will need to make choices about which activities and opportunities we prioritize over others.  I want you to guide us in understanding what matters and informing how we make decisions for the fall.

Let’s reclaim our UConn experience based on what matters most.  Take the survey.  Your opinion matters.

Atlanta and the national context

As happy as I am about planning for the fall, I would be remiss in not personally telling all of you how deeply saddened I am by the acts of hate that occurred in Georgia last week and the horrific shooting reported earlier this week in Colorado.  We must always denounce senseless acts of violence that seek to enable fear and hate to threaten the care and compassion we must all have for each other.

Our Asian and Asian-American communities have been subject to harm, hate, and violence throughout our country.  I stand with my colleagues in Student Affairs, the Asian-American Cultural Center, the Asian and Asian American Studies Institute, and throughout our University in denouncing acts of hate and insisting that we use our abilities as a diverse community of cherished identities to educate on racism, advocate for marginalized communities, and care for each other.

On a more personal note, I am grateful to my colleagues throughout the University and their unrelenting commitment to UConn students.  I realize this occurs even when those colleagues are personally struggling.  As a community, we care not only for our students, but for the faculty and staff we work alongside.  Thank you.

Be well, my friends.  And take care of each other.

 

Eleanor JB Daugherty, EdD

She/her/hers

Associate Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students

 

 


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