The message below was sent by Eleanor JB Daugherty, Associate Vice President for Student Affairs & Dean of Students, to students on all campuses on January 3, 2022
Subject: Additional Information for Spring 2022
As you know by now, we will not be meeting up in person until the end of January. Like all of you, I am incredibly disappointed. However, UConn is no less committed to opening as planned. Let me start by telling you why it was important we start online.
As I shared with another student this morning, the spread rate of omicron is deeply alarming for UConn and hundreds of colleges and universities who share our eagerness to reopen.
To be clear: our priority is to get you back on our campuses as soon as possible to resume in-person learning. The central goal of moving the first two weeks online was to avoid opening in the midst of the omicron surge, when Connecticut saw positivity rates as high as 20% and breakthrough cases among those vaccinated and boosted became more common.
If we brought back nearly 30,000 students on January 15, we would have had to ask a great deal more of you then we already have, including strict quarantines and very limited campus facilities and services. And if we saw an initial surge in positives among students similar to the wider population, we would have been forced to move the first two weeks of the semester online anyway, while also running the risk of overwhelming our isolation beds and medical services, which could have endangered the whole in-person semester – which the last thing we want.
The central goal of the delay was to help ensure that the bulk of the spring 2022 semester could be in-person.
Our hope is that this delay will be sufficient to allow the omicron surge to pass and that we will be welcoming you back to the campus experience we all hope for very soon.
We have been here before and we have never let distance get in the way of being Husky. Most importantly, we will be hosting a Town Hall for students and families on Monday, Jan. 10 at 5:30 p.m. Anyone who wishes to submit questions in advance can send them to University Communications (email@example.com) with the subject line: Jan. 10 Student Town Hall.
I know you will have many questions and myself, Dr. Andy, Dr. Eror, and many others will be there to tell you everything we know. There are always things we don’t fully know or for which we might not yet have answers, but we will be prepared to share all that we know and what principles will guide future decisions.
For now, let me focus on a few things that matter most:
- We are here for you. While move-in has been postponed until the end of January, students who need to live on campus because they are experiencing demonstrated housing insecurity or are international will be approved. Students should apply for housing during the online period directly with Residential Life. All residential students will be contacted on this topic later today.
- Be well. The Omicron variant has an impressive rate of spread. It is so important to be vaccinated and boosted once you are eligible.
- As you know, boosters are now required for eligible UConn students on all campuses and must be uploaded into the SHaW Patient Portal. Your eligibility depends upon when you were vaccinated. Please review this chart from the CDC to determine your eligibility. Take advantage of this time to become boosted and arrive on campus fully compliant and protected. COVID-19 vaccines and boosters throughout the U.S. can be accessed HERE. Students who have not already received a COVID-19 medical or non-medical exemption are required to be boosted once they become eligible.
- All students who have received an exemption for the COVID-19 vaccination requirement will be exempted for the booster requirement. You do not need to resubmit your exemption form.
- I now want to sincerely address our international students who have been unable to return home throughout the duration of this pandemic. My colleagues in Global Affairs and I are committed to making UConn the best home it can be for you. International students will have flexibility to move into their on-campus housing according to the original move-in schedule. If you cannot access a booster in your home country, you can receive the booster after arrival. Please review full CDC travel requirements for noncitizen, nonimmigrant travelers here. ISSS will provide further information to international students.
- Campus Facilities will be limited. The Recreation Center will be closed during the online period with virtual fitness opportunities available. The Student Union will have limited dining and seating, but will not be hosting large in-person events or meetings. Campus Dining will be limited, but available to students approved to live in housing. Additional information regarding student organizations meetings will be provided next week and towards the end of this week.
Over the course of the next two weeks, I will be working closely with colleagues across campus to address questions I can imagine that you will have in the coming days. It will include things like access to testing and testing requirements, the booster requirement, as well as how we can continue to stay connected as a community.
My friends, I will miss not seeing you in two weeks. We will be back. It’s just going to take a little longer as we all work to stay healthy.
Be well, UConn.
All my best,
Eleanor JB Daugherty, EdD
Associate Vice President and Dean of Students