The Spring 2021 semester is here, and we’re so excited to get back at it! I hope everyone had a great break and that you’re recharged and ready to tackle a new term. In addition, we’re thrilled to welcome nearly 250 new students to our campus community. All the best to our newest arrivals on campus.
We are coming off an unexpected journey in the fall. Our student body showed adaptability, resilience and leadership as the university navigated unprecedented challenges in order to protect the health of everyone in our community. Most importantly, you did all of that while continuing to make progress toward earning your degree. We are proud of how you persevered and moved forward.
Stay Focused, Stay Engaged
Now, a new semester calls for some reminders and caveats. With a condensed calendar, this semester will unfold quickly. For that reason, it is vital that you start this term strong from Day One. You know what you must do to succeed academically, so hold yourself accountable and don’t fall behind. Ask for help as soon as you think you need it. Reach out to your professors and advisors. Tap into the resources and support available to you across campus. We are here for you and want to see you succeed!
For campus life, we’re exploring creative ways to host programming, gatherings and opportunities to stay sharp and fit. The university continues to offer free COVID-19 asymptomatic testing for all students, faculty and staff, which helps us understand the COVID positivity rate and, in turn, inform decision-making about on-and off-campus gatherings. We will monitor testing rates from Jan. 19-Feb. 19 with the hope that social gatherings can take place after Feb. 19.
Vaccine Offers Us A Shot
We’re encouraged with the rollout of the two effective vaccines being administered throughout the state and country. While it remains unclear when college students can get the vaccine, I urge you to get vaccinated as soon as you are able. It will help you stay well while protecting your families, friends, classmates, neighbors and all of those you care about. This is one of the best ways each of us can do our part to have a healthy and safe environment for those around us.
In the meantime, hang in there! We are getting control of this virus, but we must remain vigilant. Last week, you received a letter from Student Affairs highlighting 10 things you need to know for Spring 2021. And I recently saw a tweet from U.S. Surgeon General VADM Jerome M. Adams sharing the five W’s of how we can get as many people as possible to the finish line, as quickly as possible:
- Wear masks
- Wash hands
- Watch distances
- Wait to gather
- When it’s your turn, get vaccinated!
Let’s Have a Successful Spring
The start of a new semester is always an exciting time on campus. We have a lot to look forward to including not one, but two Commencement celebrations! We can’t wait to honor the incredible achievements, character and spirit of our graduates for the Classes of 2020 and 2021.
On our campus, students learn in and out of the classroom. That was certainly the case in the fall as our community faced numerous challenges, and I take great comfort and pride in how our students, faculty and staff came through all of this together. Thank you — the strength of our students is a hallmark of our university. It is important that you know we are working creatively and diligently to provide you the best possible college experience during these extraordinary times. I’m looking forward to celebrating the outstanding and numerous successes that our students deliver each spring.
Glenn F. Boyce