Message from the Dean of Students

Eleanor JB Daugherty sent the below message to graduate and undergraduate students on all campuses

Hello, Huskies!

Congratulations to both our 2021 and 2020 graduates!  Finally, we were able to celebrate your accomplishments in person.  It was a joyful moment that shined a light on all of you and your commitment to UConn and your education.  I look forward to learning more about the world these graduates will shape and transform.

I’m sure you’ve seen that UConn is experiencing some changes as well.  It has been an honor to work closely with our Interim President Dr. Agwunobi over my many years at UConn.  I can tell you on a personal level that he is a compassionate and confident leader who values all of you and your importance to UConn.  We are in good hands.

I want you all to enjoy your summer and relax.  Today, I will share what we have learned from you and how we are planning for the fall.  I am so appreciative of the thousands of responses we received from the “Do-Over” study that shared what you missed most about the past year and your hopes for next semester.  Your voices matter and will be included in our planning priorities this summer.

Do-Over findings:

Thank you so much for participating in the “Do-Over” survey.  We have a lot of work to do to get the University back on its feet for the fall.  With nearly 3,000 responses, we now have a much better sense of what matters most and what to prioritize for the fall.  Most importantly, we learned we have a range of feelings on a return for the fall.  This comment from a student really captures it well:

“While we all are excited to go back, I think a lot of us are going to experience anxiety and other mental health concerns.  It is a major shift going from a year living at home back to an on-campus experience, and I think a lot of people are going to need support during this time.”

Currently, a group is convening to revise our guidance for gatherings that will enable us to congregate more often as a campus community.  While you can still expect some masking, we are focusing on a safe return to campus events and traditions like WOW (Week of Welcome), Convocation, concerts, and club sports.  We know that matters to you and we will be in touch with more information soon.  Our rising sophomores missed a great deal of those critical first year traditions. I’m happy to share that our fall planning includes connecting sophomores to entering student events they may have missed last year.

Regarding housing and dining for the fall, our dining capacity will increase, but we have certainly heard loud and clear that take-out was something you enjoyed and would like to continue.  Among our residential campuses, we will be housing a much higher percentage of students (we are planning for 10,000 students on the Storrs campus).  This means a return to roommates – a priority frequently expressed in the survey – and continuing to allow guests in the residence halls.  I definitely get the impression this is something many of you are looking forward to!

Finally, and most importantly, both staff and students have expressed the strength found in approaching our work collectively as one university.   We have done great work making events and resources available to all students.  We are continuing with this collaborative approach to our work among all of our campuses this summer.

Vaccination:

It is amazing to see that, in the nearly two months that vaccinations have been available to college students, more than 12,000 students across our campuses have been fully vaccinated.  Yet again you have shown all of us how to make informed choices that enable us to care for ourselves and others.  You are awesome, Huskies.

Having an informed and vaccinated student body is very important to all of us.  Currently, the vaccine is widely available to college and university-aged students throughout the country and it is strongly encouraged that you receive the vaccine.  A great deal of information on vaccination from SHaW, the Centers for Disease Control, and the Connecticut Department of Public Health is available here.  Please remember that it is required that you report your vaccination status to the University.

Students who are not vaccinated will be required to participate in regular surveillance testing and observe quarantine when indicated.

Students who are unable to be vaccinated during the summer can be vaccinated by SHaW when they arrive on campus for fall semester.  Students who are not fully vaccinated will likely need to observe a modified quarantine when they arrive on campus.  All Storrs-based students may sign up for a vaccine on the SHaW patient portal.  SHaW is currently offering vaccines to Storrs students throughout the summer.

International students who are unable to get vaccinated in their home countries may get vaccinated upon arrival at UConn in the fall.  However, we encourage you to receive a COVID-19 vaccine whenever it is available to you.   SHaW will follow the guidance on international vaccination for our international students, as described here by the CDC.

You will hear from me again this time next month and throughout July.  Consider these emails to be reminders of our planning process that reflect our desire to keep you connected and informed.  Focus on enjoying your summer, getting vaccinated, and staying informed.  We will take care of the rest.

Let’s start imagining a brighter fall for all of us.

All good things,

Eleanor JB Daugherty, EdD
she/her/hers
Associate Vice President and Dean of Students

P.S. At the request of students, my Dean’s Advisory group will meet monthly during the summer.  All students are very welcome to join.  If interested, please email catherine.downs@uconn.edu

 

 


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