Dear faculty and staff,
As we embark upon the Spring 2021 semester, I want to extend my sincere appreciation for all that our university community has accomplished — not only this past fall, but since the onset of the pandemic. It is hard to comprehend that we are approaching the one-year mark since we began this journey together. You kept our university going, displaying an incredible work ethic and commitment to the continued success of the university and our students. For that, I’m truly inspired by and grateful to you.
While this semester will largely feel similar to the fall semester, I’m heartened by the rollout of the vaccines being administered throughout the state and country. I’m also hopeful that the vaccine rollout means our operations will begin to return to normal by this Fall, but we will continue to put the safety of our community at the forefront of every decision made.
Understandably, I have heard from many of you who are anxious to learn when the vaccine will become available on our campus. We do not currently have a definitive timeline of when University Health Services will receive doses from the state to administer to our employees. However, I’m supremely confident in the thorough and thoughtful groundwork being laid by the Vaccine Distribution and Administration Task Force to be ready the minute we are notified when we are up.
I want to encourage all members of our university community to get vaccinated as soon as you are able through other channels provided by the state of Mississippi. It will help to protect you, but even further it will help to protect your families, friends, co-workers, neighbors and all of those you care about. This is the best way in which each of us can fulfill our responsibility to contribute to upholding a healthy and safe environment for those around us.
Since this rollout is evolving rapidly, we will continue to keep you updated on developments as we learn them. For now, the best way to stay current is to monitor our vaccine update page and read the COVID-19 newsletter published each Wednesday. Our very own Dr. Jean Gispen, staff physician with the Employee Health Center, penned a blog about her experience with the vaccine as a healthcare provider. She shares great insight about the science of the vaccine.
Parameters and Protocols for Spring 2021
We have shown that our on-campus parameters and protocols are effective. While we can celebrate this fact, we must understand that we must all continue to remain vigilant. It will be several months before the protection of the vaccine is widely administered. During that time, it is vital that all of us continue to wear cloth face coverings, stay distanced, monitor our health and practice all COVID-19-related safety measures. I commend our faculty and staff who have fully embraced this responsibility.
Provost Noel Wilkin shared a message recently with faculty, staff and graduate instructors with helpful reminders for the semester related to classroom protocols, instructor supplies, class attendance and the condensed spring schedule, among other items. I encourage you to review this important planning guidance.
Contributing to a Successful Semester
The start of a new semester is always a significant and invigorating time in the life of a university. We have much to look forward to including not one, but two Commencement celebrations — truly the pinnacle of our academic year that honors the incredible achievements, character and spirit of our students.
My deepest thanks to you, our dedicated faculty and staff, for all that you have already delivered and for the tremendous work that lies ahead. I look forward to another incredibly successful spring semester at the University of Mississippi.
Glenn F. Boyce