Communications

Communications sent to the campus from the Associate Vice President for Student Affairs/Dean of Students will be posted to this page.

2021 - 2022 Messages

We’re Back – 9/15/21

Subject: We're Back

My Husky Friends,

Wow.  Just wow.  You’re here.

Convocation was magical.  So was the Sophomore Welcome.  So was the start of class.  Magical.  And you were the reason why.  If you are new to UConn, welcome.  If you are returning, welcome back. It’s been a minute.

As you know, we’ve been keeping an eye on things.  I have to say, it’s looking really good.  Here are a few highlights:

Our Health: We have opened the semester on a strong note.  Your efforts have resulted in a vaccination rate of 90% or higher on our campuses.  The volume of COVID-19 cases we have encountered are small.  Especially given the reality of the delta variant among all individuals, we know what to do to keep those numbers low: get vaccinated, wear a mask, and get tested if you aren’t feeling well.  

Remember that the University is currently in orange and will likely stay that way for some time given current state guidance and the prevalence of variants.  I know that may be disappointing for some, but we know what works for controlling disease spread on campus, and masking in indoor settings is an important part of our success.

We also know what doesn’t work: large gatherings off campus without prevention measures in place, close contact with others outside of a residential setting without wearing a mask, and ignoring symptoms when we are not feeling well.  If we want to avoid exposure and spread, folks should not cram into a small space and should wear masks indoors.

Our Community: It has been a joy to see all of you on our campuses.  The staff and faculty need you as much as you need them.  Being in community with one another has brought immeasurable joy to everyone.

Let’s remember that we have been through a great deal.  This isn’t back to normal per se.  This is bringing back a sense of normalcy after an unprecedented interruption.  During that time, we all made heroic decisions to protect the health of ourselves and countless others.  We’re back and we are stronger and more compassionate than ever.  Let’s not forget that the journey has been hard and is still ongoing, and make sure we grant each other – and ourselves - some compassion and forgiveness.

Advisers, faculty, staff, and fellow students are all here and we all care.  Let’s always remember to ask for help and a friend when we need one.  You matter and we are here.

Staying Connected: Looking ahead, I see nothing but amazing activities and events on all of our campuses.  The staff have gone to incredible efforts to ensure we remain connected as one UConn through safe and appropriate gathering guidelines.  Check it out here to learn more about our continued UKindness events that are both virtual and in person.

Finally, Dean’s Advisory will be meeting for the first time this semester this Thursday at 4 p.m. in the Rec Center.  There will always be a virtual option provided to students who are not able to attend in person.  Just email us at dos@uconn.edu for more information.  All are welcome.

All my best,

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

Welcome Back. We’re Ready – 8/20/21

My Dear Huskies,

I am so grateful to you and all that you have done to make it possible for UConn to open next week with the greatest confidence.   I also want to extend a warm welcome to our new students.  You are now part of a community that is driven by care for others and pride in being a Husky.  Welcome.

For those of you who know me well (and if you don’t, you are always welcome to stop by Dean’s Advisory), you know that, in my own words, what I’m really saying is this: You rock.  You are awesome.

We are unbelievably excited to welcome you to all of our campuses.  I thought I would take some time to review some details on medical readiness, move-in at our residential campuses, and connection this fall.

Medical Readiness:

Vaccination is absolutely the best weapon we have to beat COVID-19, including the variants that have emerged over the past several weeks.   All of you have taken steps to ensure your health and the health of others, and I am so pleased to report that student vaccination numbers are now significantly higher than the country and the state.  Currently, all of our campuses are above 80% full or partially vaccinated.  Nicely done.

Currently, around 3% of our 30,000-plus students have received exemptions.  Those students are very welcome on our campuses and will be required to observe additional safety measures such as surveillance testing and masking to provide for their health and the health of our community.

The CDC and our own state Department of Public Health continue to closely watch the presence of COVID in our community, state, and nation.  As such, we can always expect guidance to evolve as we know more.  This has caused the University to make some modifications in its plans:

  • I think it is now very fair to say that masking is essential in closed spaces, and it’s University policy that everyone must wear masks inside buildings whether they’re vaccinated or not.  The University will open in orange, and it is now very likely to remain that way until we have better news on the Delta variant.
  • All residential students granted exemptions from the COVID-19 vaccination requirement at the Storrs and Stamford campuses will be required to participate in weekly surveillance testing.  Failure to meet this expectation could result in a removal from housing.  All residential students are encouraged to review the Temporary Health and Safety Procedures provided by Residential Life. Off-campus Storrs students may be subject to holds at campus facilities such as the Recreation Center.
  • Per recent CDC guidance earlier this month, vaccinated students will need to be tested, but not necessarily quarantined, if they are identified as a close contact of a positive individual.  As always, anyone positive for COVID-19, regardless of vaccination status, will need to be isolated.

Connection and Community: Strong but not perfect (and that’s a good thing).

Last year, thousands of students told us what they hoped for when they resumed classes in the fall.  For our students returning for their second year, we are so pleased to offer a specialized WOW experience and a warm welcome on Saturday evening.

We are thrilled to be welcoming students back to all of our campuses and invite students to check their campus websites to learn more about all of our robust programming. Storrs students are encouraged to consult the WOW calendar.   Join us in celebrating each other and a successful fall semester.  The President is looking forward to welcoming you to UConn at Convocation and we will be sure to share highlights with all of you!

I had a chance to meet with our amazing Storrs RAs this week. In addition to expressing my gratitude for their commitment to all of you, I called upon us to embrace imperfection.  We are thankful to be together.  The pandemic has been both devastating and a reminder of how strong we are as a community that cares for each other.   Take the time to sleep, eat, ask for help, attend a game, make friends, find love… and, most importantly, to be imperfect.   We are a caring community that will need to forgive, listen, connect, and build compassion as we return after such a challenging year.

Move-In: August 27-29

Residential Students who are compliant with the requirement to either report vaccination status or secure an exemption have received information about move in from the Department of Residential Life. Students need to sign up for a move in slot.  Please adhere to the schedule provided to reduce the amount of time you will wait at the check-in site.  This year, there is no limit on the number of helpers a student can have moving them into their rooms. All individuals entering the building must wear masks and cannot linger in hallways or other congested spaces.  Please do not bring family pets with you during move-in.

As a reminder, residents who are not vaccinated or not fully vaccinated will be expected to observe a modified quarantine. A few key things to know:

  • This quarantine may last up to 10 days.
  • Residential students are not permitted to have guests during modified quarantine.
  • Students are permitted to attend class, work in person, and participate in essential research functions conducted at UConn.
  • Meals are grab and go only.

As students, you have always shown us the way over the course of the past year.  We have overcome so much and accomplished even more.  We have done that together as a community.  Here’s to a better tomorrow.

Welcome back, UConn.

Eleanor JB Daugherty, EdD
Associate Vice President and Dean of Students

Getting Prepared for Fall – 7/28/21

Subject: Getting Prepared for Fall

Dear Huskies,

I can’t believe it’s almost August.  I hope that you have all been enjoying a restful summer.

I had a recent conversation with my advisory group about student feelings around returning for the fall.  The following thoughts came up that I wanted to share with you:

  • We are not the same community that left in the Spring of 2020, hoping we would return in a few weeks.  We have demonstrated care and concern for each other and our families.  We have been afraid and we have witnessed inequity throughout our world as we battled the impact of this pandemic in our lives. We are changed. I hope that, despite the hardship, we are better for it.
  • We are have been consistently driven by compassion.  I hope that you return to campus in the fall with that same compassion and care for each other that kept us going for over a year.  As you all shared with me and my colleagues last year in the “do over” survey, returning to our campuses in the fall is not a simple adjustment.  We are excited, apprehensive, confident, impatient, and a little worried.  All at the same time.  And that’s ok.  When we welcome each other back in the fall, our planning is intended to allow us time to come together (finally!), compete in club sports, have a roommate, attend classes, and be the community we wish to be.
  • We have worked hard for our good health.  Our vaccination rates indicate that we are oriented towards being a healthy campus in the fall.  Please remember that it is important that you report your vaccination status to us by August 1.  Students who do not complete this reporting requirement may be subject to holds, inability to use the Recreation Center, and unable to move into campus housing.

When we return, we will observe additional precautions like mask wearing in indoor settings for all students and a modified quarantine for those not fully vaccinated.  This will allow us to establish a baseline of good health as we welcome students back from all over the world and the country.  We will open cautiously, in orange.  Following the safe return of our students and the establishment of their good health, we intend to progress to yellow.  We will always keep you informed of our health through the University dashboard.

I’m thankful to the Student Activities staff for the incredible programming that has been developed for HuskyWOW.  Be sure to check it out.

Finally, a sincere thank you to all of you who have seen us through this challenging time.  I recognize that fall will be a period of transition for all of us.  I know it will also be a time when I celebrate my great pride in being part of such a wonderful Husky community.

See you soon!!

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

2020 - 2021 Message

Plans for Fall 21 Re-Opening – 6/28/21

June 28, 2021

Subject: Plans for Fall 21 Re-Opening

Dear Huskies,

We’re back this fall.  It’s happening.  I’m so very happy to share with you some of our fall plan.  I’m going to talk through a lot of these details below.  You are also warmly invited to attend our upcoming student town hall tomorrow, Tuesday, at 1pm or our “Bring Back the Pack” conversation Wednesday at the Hartford campus.

We are one of the best universities in the country and the world.  That means that we will welcome our best and brightest from all over the world this fall.  In doing so, we will be safe, healthy, and grateful to be an in-person learning community again.

Preparation for fall means that we accept that COVID-19 is not over.  We recognize that variants can jeopardize our health and safety at UConn.  As a global university, we will open cautiously and safely this fall with all of this information in mind.

Here’s what we are doing and where I need your help:

Move-In:

Move-in will occur August 27-29.  Students who are not fully vaccinated will be required to participate in re-entry testing and vaccination appointments will be available.  Some family members are very welcome to help their student move into our residence halls.

Vaccination:

COVID-19 vaccinations for all UConn students engaged in in-person learning is required.  Requests for exemption must be submitted by July 15.  Vaccination status, whether complete or partial, is required to be reported to SHaW by July 31.  Currently, only 67% of Storrs students have reported vaccination to SHaW.  We will report regional numbers once fall enrollment is released in mid-August.

Vaccination status is protected health information and will not be publicly disclosed.

Medical Care:

Fully vaccinated students are those who have received all recommended doses of an FDA-authorized or WHO-listed COVID-19 vaccine.  Fully vaccinated students will not need to participate in quarantine or surveillance testing.  Vaccinated students will be required to be tested if symptomatic for COVID-19.

Vaccine exempt, including medical and non-medical exemptions, and non-fully vaccinated students will participate in arrival testing, ongoing surveillance testing, quarantine when indicated, and follow preventative measures while on campus.  These requirements will be provided in confidential communication between the student and SHaW by August 14.

Student Activities and Programs:

Club sports are back! WOW is back! The list goes on and we are looking forward to hosting in-person events on all of our campuses.  We will be opening in a cautionary period that will be guided by the return of the color-coded system.  More to come in August once we have a better sense of vaccination status of our students.

Residential Life:

We are happy to announce that the trajectory of vaccination rates in our residential community will allow us to release some beds held for quarantine and isolation.  This is good news: apartments and suites like Busby, Hilltop, and Charter Oak will re-enter the housing stock for the room change process that will begin July 6.

It is very important that students upload their vaccination information into the SHaW patient portal. To encourage you to do this we are offering a contest awarding one lucky student with free on-campus housing for the fall 2021 semester.  All residential students are eligible who upload their vaccination record or exemption request by July 7th.

Things are coming together, my friends, and we couldn’t be more excited to welcome you back in the fall.  Enjoy your summer, get vaccinated, and get ready: we’re back.

All my best,

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

Bring Back the Pack – 6/21/21

Subject: Bring Back the Pack

Dear Huskies,

We have always been One UConn.  One team that faces all odds together: whether it’s facing Duke on the court, finishing that last final before break, and even COVID-19.

The end is in sight and we want to find some time to talk about it.  As you know, UConn announced a mandatory vaccine requirement earlier this month.  Currently, over 65% of our Storrs residential students are vaccinated.  The vaccination rate among students attending our regional campuses is also very promising.

We heard you when so many of you responded to the “Do-Over” survey earlier this spring: you’re eager for a return to normal, but a little anxious too.  That’s understandable.  We’ve been through a lot and returning to a pre-pandemic normal while we all cope with the impact of this global pandemic is going to take a minute.

So, let’s talk.  The Hartford and Waterbury campuses are happy to invite you and your family to attend Bring Back the Pack.  This is an event that will provide a space to talk with campus leaders, medical experts from UConn Health, students, and community leaders.

Bring Back the Pack: A Discussion on Re-Opening and the COVID-19 vaccination

June 28, 2021
5:30-6:30pm
Waterbury campus

Register for Waterbury here: https://waterbury.uconn.edu/student-forum/

June 30, 2021
5:30-6:30pm
Hartford campus

Register for Hartford here: https://uconntact.uconn.edu/event/7125056

This event is open to all students, on all campuses.  Space is limited so we do need you to RSVP.  Please note each student is limited to no more than 3 guests.  We also want to know what’s on your mind and important for us to address as a community.

Finally, if you wish to receive it, our colleagues from UConn Health will be available beginning at 5pm to offer vaccination.

Thank you, UConn.  Talk soon.

Eleanor JB Daugherty, EdD
Associate Vice President and Dean of Students

William Pizzuto, PhD
University Campus Director, UConn Waterbury

Mark Overmyer-Velazquez, PhD
University Campus Director, UConn Hartford

COVID-19 Vaccine: Student Requirement and Process – 6/4/21

June 4, 2021

Subject: COVID-19 Vaccine: Student Requirement and Process

Dear Huskies,

We are almost there.  We are so close to a time of connection, good health, and less restrictions.

As you know, earlier today, the Board of Trustees approved a policy that requires COVID-19 vaccination for all UConn students on the Storrs and Regional campuses engaged in in-person instruction in the fall.   Having a vaccinated campus is how we are able to return to the ‘normal’ that we all have missed so much over the course of the past year.

Getting vaccinated should be an informed choice and not one that all of us can necessarily choose.  As a result, UConn has developed a two-part exemption process for students that is specific to the COVID-19 vaccination requirement.

I want to take some time to review how you can learn more about vaccination and how to request an exemption.

First, it’s so important to make an informed decision.  Please take the time to review the informed guidance provided by the CDC on the benefits of vaccination.  Also, additional information is available from SHaW that reviews questions we think you might have and how to submit your vaccination record.

Second, I want to review how to request an exemption.   This information is also available on the SHaW website.

Process for Requesting a COVID-19 Vaccine Exemption:

Immunization exemptions will be permitted under certain circumstances.  Students seeking an exemption must complete an exemption form by July 15, 2021.  Students will be notified of the status of their request by August 6, 2021.

Students who receive an exemption will be permitted to participate, in person, in classes and university activities subject to certain preventative measures as determined necessary by UConn.

Students receiving an exemption will be contacted directly by SHaW regarding preventative measures that are determined by the SHaW medical team, based on guidance from state and local health authorities, to be necessary for in-person participation in campus activities. Preventative measures may include, but not be limited to, required participation in surveillance testing, close contact quarantine, masking requirements, housing restrictions, etc.

Students seeking an exemption must follow the procedures described below:

Medical Exemption Process:

  • All requests for medical exemptions from the COVID-19 vaccine requirement shall follow the immunization exemption process established by SHaW, which includes validation by a medical professional.
  • Any student wishing to apply for a medical exemption must print, complete, and upload the Immunization Exemption Form to the SHaW Student Health Portal.
  • Students who receive medical exemptions may be subject to exclusion from campus in the event of a vaccine-preventable disease outbreak and may be required to take other health and safety measures including, but not limited to, participation in surveillance testing, quarantine, and mask-wearing.
  • SHaW will review and accept vaccination exemptions waivers for medical reasons only. A signed statement indicating specific medical contraindication from your medical provider is required for medical exemption.

Non-medical Exemption Process:

  • Non-medical exemption requests will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
  • Students who receive a non-medical exemption may be subject to exclusion from campus in the event of a vaccine-preventable disease outbreak and may be required to take other health and safety measures including, but not limited to, participation in surveillance testing, quarantine, and mask-wearing.
  • Any student wishing to apply for a non-medical exemption must upload a statement detailing your reason for requesting a non-medical exemption through the Non-Medical Exemption Request link .

The objective of this vaccination requirement is to provide the safest and heathiest return to campus possible in the fall.  It is also to ensure that we accommodate and welcome those who are unable to be vaccinated.

We have done so much together, Huskies.  You have taught me so much about what it means to be a Husky and the choices we make for the health of ourselves, our friends, and our loved ones.  Thank you.

Let’s take this final step together and return home to UConn this fall.

All my best,

Eleanor JB Daugherty, EdD

She/her/hers
Associate Vice President and Dean of Students

May Planning Update – 5/21/21

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

Weekly Update 4/7/21

Dear Huskies,

As many of you are moving out of the residence halls this weekend, this will be my last weekly email to you.   In May, I will update everyone on our vaccination progress and update you on fall planning.  I have to say, the sooner I see us all together in fall, the better.  I have high hopes for a healthy return in the fall.

I also share your enthusiasm for an in-person graduation ceremony next month.  Every year, graduation is a celebration.  This year, the chance to see each other and celebrate your incredible accomplishments is even more special.  It’s been a while since I’ve heard the Husky Chant fill a stadium.  Let’s make it count!

Our Health:

As you know, we saw an increase in our positivity rate at the end of last week.  That has continued into this week with 27 on campus positives and 18 off-campus positives reported from Monday through today.  As a result, the campus will remain in YELLOW.

The only way to contain spread is through quarantine of potential contacts, precautions such as mask wearing, and avoiding large in-person gatherings.  SHaW will continue to provide medical care for students who need to remain on campus for quarantine or isolation.  However, it is my greatest hope for all of you to leave UConn and return home healthy this weekend.  Let’s continue to do what we know works: masking, physical distancing, and avoiding gatherings.

Vaccination Update:

The UConn Dashboard is now publishing our student vaccinations along with employee vaccinations.  I am pleased to be counted among the list of employees who have begun the vaccination process.  Special thanks to my colleagues at UConn Health for running such an exceptional vaccination site for the community at Hawley.

Vaccination is a choice.  A powerful one that I encourage you to make after being well-informed on the risks and benefits of vaccination.  Information on vaccination is available through the CDC and the Connecticut Department of Public Health.

As a reminder, UConn students are not required to be vaccinated for COVID-19 at this time but it is strongly encouraged.  However, students are required to report their vaccination to SHaW.  As I shared last week, our vaccination rate will impact our fall planning decisions.  Students approved to remain on campus for the conclusion of the spring term will be able to receive their vaccination through SHaW once supplies are available. SHaW will also be prepared to vaccinate students upon arrival in the fall.

I truly look forward to our healthy return this fall semester and I thank you for being my partner in this challenging journey.  I wish you great success with the remainder of the semester.  Despite your departure, my colleagues and I always remain available to support you in the weeks ahead.

All my best,

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

COVID-19 Update: Recent Increase in on-campus positives – 4/2/21

Dear Huskies,

Over the course of the last two days, SHaW has tested and identified 35 on-campus positive cases. These cases appear to be centralized among the North, Northwest, and Alumni residential complexes.

Positive tests usually emerge within 3 to 5 days of exposure. This suggests that this spike in positives may be related to large off-campus gatherings that were reported this past weekend. These gatherings increase the risk of exposure and spread, which is much more likely to occur when we don’t follow universal precautions such as wearing masks and keeping physical distance.

We will need to take some additional steps to control for spread on campus.  As of 4 p.m. today, the Storrs campus will transition to YELLOW.

Also as of 4 p.m. today:

  • Eddy, Middlesex, Windham, Rogers, and Russell will be placed in residential quarantine.   Students under residential quarantine can still receive meals in our quarantine dining halls, but they are unable to attend in-person instruction or events. The Dean of Students office will be in contact with affected students to provide academic support if needed.
  • Guests will no longer be allowed in all remaining buildings in North (Fairfield, New London, New Haven, Tolland, Hartford, Baldwin, Hurley, Litchfield, and McConaughy), Northwest (Batterson, Goodyear, Hanks, and Terry), and Alumni (Belden, Brock, and Watson).

SHaW will manage the residential quarantine and determine when it can be lifted. Residential Life will continue to keep you informed on the medical progress of quarantined buildings.

It is reasonable to assume that these residential areas will remain in quarantine through the end of next week. Students who wish to move out early and complete their quarantine at home are welcome to do so and will receive information from Residential Life.

Students remaining on campus for the remainder of the spring term are reminded that they need to remain on campus for the duration of the term, including spring break.

As we reach the end of the in-person period of instruction, I am sorry that these steps are necessary. As you know, it is our shared goal to keep this community healthy and safe. Let’s continue to care for one another by wearing masks, keeping physical distance, and reducing spread.  We’re almost there.

My best,

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

Weekly Update 3/31/21

Hang on, Huskies,

This is going to be a long email. Why? Because it is time to move past COVID and share some of our plans for fall ‘21.

First, let me again say thank you.  Back in March 2020, we simply did not know what the future would hold.  You’ve shown me and countless others what it means to care for one another.  We have always had Husky pride, worn the sweatshirts, and cheered for our favorite teams. But we have never been tested like this and chosen to be so relentlessly committed to keeping each other healthy and safe.

So, thank you.  For choosing to always care for another.  Thank you for making friends, participating in activities, and continuing in your educational journey at UConn despite making endless compromises.  Thank you for showing us all what being a Husky truly means.  Let us never lose sight of that.

Now, it’s time to deliver on the hope we all have for a fall that is rich in in-person activities. Remember to complete the “Do-Over” survey that was sent to you last week to help inform our planning processes for the fall.

It’s going to take a bit of reading, but I want to focus on:

  • Our Health: Latest testing data
  • Our Care: Vaccination strategy for UConn students
  • Our Home: Residential living during the fall term

Our Health:

Our Care: 

Please, please, please get vaccinated once appointments are available.  Getting a vaccine will require patience since appointments are limited, but our nation’s distribution systems have already administered millions of doses across the United States.  Once vaccinated, please upload your vaccination records on the SHaW patient portal.   Notifying SHaW of your vaccination is required for all UConn undergraduate and graduate students.  Information on how to schedule an appointment, report your vaccination, and a general FAQ is available here.

Students remaining at UConn for the remainder of spring semester after spring break and over the summer will be vaccinated through SHaW once vaccine supplies become available. SHaW does not anticipate receiving the vaccine prior to the end of April.  Neither SHaW nor the Hawley site, operated  by UConn Health, are available as a walk-in site.  Appointments are required.

While we strongly encourage you to get vaccinated over the summer, students who are unable to receive a vaccine will be vaccinated when they return to the University in the fall.  Priority will be given to our residential and international students.

Our vaccination rate and our increasing knowledge of the success of the vaccine will ultimately determine the exact strategy for the fall.  I will share that with you later in the summer.  However, COVID-19 will not entirely disappear and our plans will include some form of modified quarantine for those not fully vaccinated, as well as some degree of surveillance testing.  Assuming we are a vaccinated community, the use of quarantine and surveillance will be significantly less than what you experienced in this academic year.

Our Home:

10,000 beds.  That is our goal for the fall semester and a significant increase from the 4,500 residential students who are currently living on our campuses.  We might be able to do better and increase that number further, but I will need your help.

Fall planning requires that we accept that COVID-19 will still be present.  As a result, we will still need to hold beds from the general population that will be intended for quarantine and isolation of students.  However, the number of beds we’ll need to hold is tied closely to the percentage of students vaccinated.

Right now, Residential Life is holding 10% of the targeted bed count for quarantine and isolation.  That’s a lot of beds and, by medical necessity, those beds need to be located in our suites and apartments.  I know that is the housing that our upper-division students (juniors and seniors) want most.  While some apartment and suites remain in the current housing selection process, availability will be limited. More specific information will be sent from Residential Life later today.

I know that’s not something you want to hear.  Here’s how we are working to make that news better:

  • We need to keep communicating with one another.  The closer we get to a 100% vaccination rate among the residential population, the sooner we can reduce – but never eliminate -- the number of quarantine and isolation beds for the fall. As a reminder, students are required to report their vaccination to SHaW.  We will constantly evaluate those reports and post them on the COVID dashboard.  I will update you in May and June about those vaccination rates.
  • Housing selection will begin on April 9 and will include a room change process for all students in June. The complete timeline is available here.
  • On July 1, Residential Life will notify upper-division students (juniors and seniors) of any increased availability of suites and apartments and of their eligibility to change their housing.

Here’s what matters: Tell us your vaccination status by July 1.  That is not a hard deadline – we are prepared to vaccinate you when you return to campus -- but it helps us make the best decision on returning suites and apartments to eligible juniors and seniors.

Thank you, friends.  Our strategy for fall is based on us talking to one another, sharing what we know, and always listening to guidance from our colleagues in the state Department of Public Health.  That has worked well for us so far, and I know that partnership will continue over the summer as we finalize our plans.

I’ll be in touch next week with an update on the vaccination process.

All good things,

Eleanor JB Daugherty, EdD
She/Her/Hers
Associate Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students

Weekly Update 3/24/21

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:

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

Weekly Update 3/17/21

Dear Huskies,

Blue.  It looks good on you.  Forgive the sentimentalism, but I remember developing the color system over break and thinking: blue. That’s our goal.  When I shared it with colleagues, they agreed (and were quite particular in determining that it be the UConn blue, not the North Carolina blue that was present in earlier drafts.  My bad).

So, we’re here.  UConn blue.  Here’s what we know one week after transitioning to blue:

Off-campus.  Really? You were nailing it!  You still can, but I can’t help but note that, one week after hearing about gatherings off-campus, our positives off-campus are rising a bit.  This is not to say that those are a direct correlation, but there is cause for concern as the weather improves and we seek to connect with one another.

Let’s connect AND care for the health and safety of each other.  Whether or not you have recovered from COVID, attending a large gathering and not wearing a mask puts everyone at risk.  Most importantly, it jeopardizes our ability to stay blue.

IT’S TIME FOR HUSKYTHON!!! Every year, I choke back tears when I speak on the HuskyThon stage.  I am ALWAYS humbled by UConn students choosing to contribute to something so much greater than themselves.  The tears come as I realize the power that comes from coming together to make a difference.  HuskyThon will not be stopped, but has needed to convert to a hybrid format.  Please check it out and contribute to this great UConn tradition.

Finally, as we wrap up Fresh Check week, I thank the many of you who took part in the virtual Stamp Out Stigma walk as well as the remaining events and discussions.  As you know, I am continually struck by the care we have for each other as a community.  Our mental health matters and it is important we all embrace the tools and spaces that enable us to truly commit to our collective health and well-being.

Be well, UConn.

All my best,

Eleanor JB Daugherty, EdD

She/her/hers

Associate Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students

Weekly Update 3/10/21

Dear Huskies,

One year ago, I remember participating in a forum addressing this new COVID-19 virus and the need to temporarily send students home for two weeks.  Two weeks.  You left UConn and I looked forward to seeing you again in April.

April 2020.  Not 2021.  This ‘anniversary’ is one that I approach with mixed feelings.  You.  Are.  Missed.  I miss popping into student meetings and saying hello.  I miss events -- even the muckiness of Oozeball and my athletic incompetence.  I want to visit the Stamford residence halls, see the view from Avery Point, and sit in a conference room with colleagues and students making actual eye contact and offering real high fives.  I know I’m not alone in feeling this way.

Our collective work for the past year has kept us safe during an incomprehensible time.  I thank you – so sincerely -- for your persistent commitment to the health of others: wearing masks, participating in testing, following medical guidance, and keeping physical distance.  For the majority of our students, this has been the lesson of COVID-19 and the UConn Promise: We choose to change our behaviors for the health and safety of our UConn community.

Both I and my UConn colleagues choose to believe in the actions of the many UConn students, not the few.  But there have been some exceptions:  most notably, the information the University recently received from Connecticut State Police regarding a gathering on Birch Road last weekend. When those exceptions occur, our University will both provide for the health of our students and hold students accountable to the Code, and the health and safety procedures that have been created in response to the pandemic.

Here’s what we know today about our overall health on the Storrs campus:

As you can see, we continue to maintain a lower positivity rate, but there has been some concerning testing this week.  Given our overall good health and the advice of my colleagues, I am choosing to transition our residential status to BLUE.  This is a cautionary victory that reflects the success of our continued care for another and reducing exposure and spread of COVID-19.  Please remember our status is reviewed weekly and can change at any time.

As part of this status, the following will go into effect beginning Thursday, March 11:

  • Guests permitted in the residence halls. Residential students are permitted one guest, which does not include overnight (past 11:59 p.m.).
  • Movement activities permitted outside, such as vocal performance and dance performance.

In accordance with the Governor’s recent announcement, additional capacity changes for the blue designation for indoor and outdoor events will go into effect on March 19 and April 2.  Although maximum event/activity capacities will be increased, we may still need to limit some event capacities based on room limitations when applying 6-foot physical distancing.

In the coming weeks, my colleagues and I will share more information on Commencement plans and our framework for approaching fall planning.  I am thrilled that Residential Life has already announced plans to support students returning in the fall with roommate selection.  Let’s continue to enjoy our good health and the transition into blue.

As we enjoy these signs of our success, let us also never lose sight of the disruption and concern this virus has caused.  COVID-19 will, I hope, continue to fade as vaccination rates continue to rise and prevention efforts maintain good health.  We should, however, never forget the cost of COVID-19 and the care we will always have for one another.

All my best,

Eleanor JB Daugherty, EdD

She/her/hers

Associate Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students

Weekly Update 3/3/21

Dear Huskies,

This is a meaningful time for us right now.  Our loved ones with high-risk demographics are now, finally, being vaccinated.  I can’t imagine what a relief that is for all of you as your loved ones – parents, grandparents, first responders - are now achieving immunity.

Today, I want to:

  • Review the latest testing data
  • Discuss the impact of the state’s recent vaccination plan on students with pre-existing medical needs
  • Share updated information on access to off-campus surveillance testing

Here is the latest testing data at Storrs. More information is available on the COVID dashboard.

Nice job, off-campus (again).  We did have a number of on-campus positives present earlier this week.  Let’s continue to do the right thing: avoid gatherings, wear masks, and keep our physical distance from one another.  It’s the only way, my friends.  Keep it up.

If we can continue to do so, I’m hopeful that we can change our current color of yellow on the Storrs campus and allow some changes to residence hall COVID-19 restrictions.  More to come next week if our on-campus health improves.

Impact of State Vaccination Plan on UConn Students with Pre-Existing Conditions

As you know the Governor has released an updated, age-based vaccination plan.  This means that traditionally aged students will not receive access to the vaccine until May.  I am reminded that our concern for others has always been our greatest strength as a university during this pandemic.  I know this will continue to be our truth moving forward as we wait for our vaccination.

While we wait, SHaW will continue to advocate and provide for those students under our care who have significant pre-existing conditions.  Fortunately, at UConn that population is relatively small.  Those students, like you, have maintained their good health through the dedicated practice of mask wearing, physical distancing, and good hygiene.  Let’s keep that up and, most importantly, know that you can rely on your medical providers, such as SHaW for our Storrs students, to provide you the excellent care that maintains your good health.

Off-Campus Storrs Surveillance Testing Strategy Effective March 1:

First, surveillance testing will occur at the north side of the Field House and will be appointment-based only. Testing appointments can be scheduled through the SHaW Patient Portal.  COVID-19 surveillance testing will not be available on a walk-up basis. As advised by DPH, 25% of the off-campus population with an ongoing in-person commitment will be identified for testing on a weekly basis.  In addition:

  • Off-campus students with an on-campus commitment will have access to five self-requested surveillance tests in addition to any testing requested by SHaW.
  • Off-campus students without an on-campus commitment will have access to three self-requested surveillance tests in addition to any testing requested by SHaW.

Second, saliva-based pooled gargle testing is available on a volunteer basis to off-campus Storrs students with an on-campus commitment.  Click here for more information and to sign up to participate. Any student in a COVID-19 positive pool will be directed to individual, diagnostic, rapid PCR testing by SHaW within 24 hours of the positive result.

Finally, any Storrs student who experiences symptoms of COVID-19 should seek immediate medical evaluation and testing by contacting SHaW directly before engaging with the campus community.

Regional students are reminded to notify SHaW of any positive COVID test results through the SHaW Patient Portal, follow the guidance of your medical primary care provider, and contact the Student Services office on your campus for academic support.

Stay Connected

All of our campuses are encouraged to participate in activities that keep us virtually connected.  Wherever you are, join us in enjoying the connectedness and community that we call UConn.

All good things,

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

Weekly Update 2/24/21

Dear Huskies,

Well, off-campus, you’ve done it.  You are currently healthier (1.44%) than the on-campus residential population (2.38%).  Just saying.  The good news is the overall campus community and the state are proving to remain healthy despite our concern for the presence of variants.

Here’s the data:

COVID data

Given this data, our color-coded system plans for some flexibility and students have asked how much longer we will remain in yellow.  Fair question.  The answer for us now lies in the participation rate in surveillance testing such as the pooled sampling effort in our residence halls.  Last week, our participation was 67%.  This is below what we would need participation to be if we were to progress to blue.

This can be done. Your behavior and care for one another has consistently shown me how to successfully face the challenges of this pandemic.  So, let’s work on our participation.  I’ll keep you posted on how those rates improve.

Second, I’ve been asked to talk with you about eating in the dining halls. I really need you to not move chairs around and crowd around tables.  As we know, spread of COVID-19 occurs when we are in close contacts without masks on.  Let’s work together to be respectful of the seating arrangements in our dining halls.   As the weather improves, give some thought to heading outside, spreading out, and enjoying the company of your friends.

Finally, we are all hoping for a fall 2021 that is closer to pre-COVID times.  The University has just begun what will have to be a lengthy planning process.  I am hopeful that we will be able to share a framework with you of our preliminary plans sometime in April.  As you know, the day to day realities of COVID require us to be vigilant and nimble in our plans.  Your patience is always appreciated.  That being said, I know you rely on us for information and transparency.  We’re on it.

All good things,

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

Weekly Update 2/17/21

Subject: Weekly Update

Dear Huskies:

I want to take a moment to echo the thoughts that have been widely shared in the media.  As a campus, a state, and a country we have been fortunate to see an overall decline in our positivity rate.  I do want to be forthcoming in sharing that this is not over and to use this email as an opportunity to talk about why.

Here is the data as of yesterday.  Today, we are reporting 9 on-campus positives and 7 off-campus positives.

I have appreciated the frequent and good guidance that I have received from our SHaW medical team and the Connecticut Department of Public Health: More variants are coming and their ability to increase the spread of disease is both worrisome and unknown. Unfortunately, nearly a year into a lengthy and taxing pandemic this calls for more, not less, vigilance.

Mask wearing and surveillance testing matter.  A lot.

We know how to do this: mask wearing, physical distancing, and participating in surveillance testing.  We also know that, at UConn, COVID is primarily identified through surveillance testing of students who are asymptomatic.  Students who feel completely fine are testing positive through random surveillance testing.

Currently, about 60% of our students are participating in surveillance testing (pooled sampling in the residence halls, at-home testing for off-campus students, and random testing at the Field House).  That’s good but, when positive students are identified through these testing methods, our participation needs to be higher if we want to isolate COVID-19 on campus and reduce spread.  Please help us stay healthy and participate in our surveillance testing.

Finally, we still have some friends gathering in the residence halls and not wearing masks.  My concern for Northwest remains.  Let’s remember to keep our distance and wear masks or we may need to take common areas temporarily off line.

Housing:

Based on preferences submitted through a student survey, housing selection for the fall 2021 term will begin after spring break.  ResLife is continuing the housing selection preparations for fall semester at full capacity.  The ResLife website is being updated with selection information and timelines, and students will begin receiving communication about housing selection in early March.  For detailed information, please visit this site:  https://reslife.uconn.edu/housing-selection/

As a reminder, all students who submit the 2021-2022 housing application by Feb. 28, 2021, will be considered on-time applicants.  The deadline to cancel housing for fall 2021 with no fee will be July 31.  Beginning Aug. 1, 2021, the fee will be $500 for any students who cancel their fall housing.

Pack Ambassadors:

As I’ve mentioned in past emails, we have started the Pack Ambassador Connection program.  Students in isolation, quarantine or who are remote can fill out a form and request a contact from a Pack Ambassador.  Here is the link to the form for students: Pack Ambassador Connect - Google Forms

The PackChat program has begun!  Pack Ambassadors will be staffing a chat room through WebEx on Mondays from 7 to 9 p.m. and Thursdays from 6 to 8 p.m.  This is open to all students from all campuses.

I know it’s hard to meet people during COVID.  Both of these opportunities, in addition to Jonathan’s Challenge, keep us connected even when physically apart.  Try it out!

Also, my advisory group and I are curious: What needs to be on the bucket list for our current first-year students who have missed some key UConn traditions this year? Tweet me at @EllyJBDaugherty and let me know!

All good things,

Eleanor JB Daugherty, EdD

She/Her/Hers

Associate Vice President and Dean of Students

Weekly Update 2/10/21

Subject: Weekly Update

Dear Huskies,

Welcome to February – a month I frequently find ironically feels like one of the longest in New England.  We are certainly getting our fair share of snow.  Thankfully, I’m so happy the weather is optimal for our new ice skating rink (special thanks to the student staff who cared for the rink so it’s operational – I hear many late nights were involved!).

With thanks to the great input from my advisory group (which all students are welcome to join), I write this week to update you on:

  • Our COVID-19 positivity rate on and off campus
  • Updates on COVID-19 vaccination for students with pre-existing conditions
  • Details on access to COVID-19 testing when the university is closed for weather

Here we go.  First, how are we doing?

Bottom line: not bad.  Although I’m sure you will agree that it is worrisome to see UConn’s positivity rising over the past few days –while the state is decreasing.  This is most notable in our off-campus population.

Second, it’s early, but I don’t want you to be surprised.  There are some cases emerging from Northwest and South that have us concerned.  Sounds like some floors are hanging out together and not following the right precautions.  We’re watching it closely and may need to launch some residential quarantines if the trend continues.

Second, when can you get vaccinated?

If you are a healthy student and not currently involved in a clinical placement, the answer remains: not for a while.  College and university students without a unique circumstance (such as a pre-existing medical condition - more on that in a moment) are not considered for vaccination until we enter Phase 2. The state is anticipating the earliest we will enter Phase 2 is this summer.

UConn is following the State of Connecticut’s Vaccination Plan.  As you have probably noted in recent media coverage, the state’s plan continues to evolve based on such factors as vaccine availability and additional federal and state guidance for when students will be vaccinated.  As students become eligible for a vaccination phase, they will be messaged with specific details on how to obtain the vaccination.  More to come as the State of Connecticut provides updates on availability, eligibility and access to the vaccine.

But what if you have a pre-existing condition that makes you more vulnerable to severe illness?

Storrs students with underlying medical conditions with increased risk for severe illness are included in Phase 1B and will be notified individually by SHaW when vaccines are available.  Students with increased risk are encouraged to contact SHaW directly with any questions.

I know that the gap between the existence of the vaccine and receiving one personally feels quite significant right now.  Hang in there and continue to closely follow all of those precautions described in the UConn Promise that have kept us safe as a community.  UConn continues to work very closely with the Connecticut Department of Public Health to ensure we are always aligned with their directions on vaccine distribution.

Finally -- and thank you to the students who reached out to me -- I wanted to share information on how to access COVID-19 testing when the university is closed for severe weather:

If you had a scheduled appointment for surveillance testing in the Field House, you will receive a secure message instructing you on how to reschedule your COVID testing appointment.

If you are participating in the residential pooled gargle testing, continue to submit your sample on your scheduled day.

If you are dropping off and picking up the Vault at-home COVID test kits in the Student Union, please drop off and pick up your kits any other day during that week Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Student Union.  If the inclement weather occurs on a Thursday and you were unable to participate earlier that week, drop off and pick up your kit at the SU on Monday the next week.

Symptomatic testing remains open as an essential service during inclement weather, but please call SHaW before coming in for an on-site appointment.  If you’re feeling sick, we want to help.  Whatever the weather.

Let’s keep doing this, UConn.

All good things,

Eleanor JB Daugherty, EdD
Associate Vice President and Dean of Students

Weekly Update 2/3/21

Subject: Weekly Update

Dear Huskies,

I’m so happy to share that we have completed our residential quarantine and, despite the challenges of our snow day on Monday, have successfully begun in-person instruction.

There are a few important highlights in our testing results.   As you know, when we opened the residence halls we reported 76 positive COVID-19 cases as a result of our pre-arrival and move-in testing.  Since that time, 26 additional students have tested positive through surveillance testing. As a result, our total residential positivity, including pre-arrival and move-in testing, is 1.24%.

I’d like to dig a bit deeper into that data with you and highlight a few areas where I need your help:

  • Our residential surveillance testing during quarantine had a positivity rate of just over 2.5%.  That indicates the importance of measures that I know you are all too familiar with.  When mask wearing and physical distancing doesn’t happen, we get sick.
  • You know, as I do, that most UConn students who test positive are not symptomatic.  You feel relatively fine, you show up for surveillance testing or pooled sampling, and we find out together that you are positive.
  • Our participation rates in surveillance testing have not been as good as they need to be.  I appreciate how spitting in a tube or showing up at the Field House is challenging –even annoying- but it keeps us healthy by identifying illness and preventing spread to vulnerable populations.
  • So far, we have identified 65 positives among the off-campus population with a positivity rate of around 2%.  If you have not yet participated in re-entry testing and are expected to be on campus, this link reviews access to required testing and surveillance.  Please review it closely.

With this data in mind, I have consulted with our medical team and the residential community and student activities are operating in yellow.  The staff have eagerly developed programs –and UConn’s first ever ICE-SKATING RINK!- to keep us connected as a community.  All of these activities and much more can be found at our uKindness site and are completely free (including the skates)!

I encourage you to get outside, enjoy some hot chocolate, take a class at the Rec Center, join a Jonathan’s Challenge activity (anyone who participates is eligible for prizes!) and, most importantly, be safe.

All good things,

Eleanor JB Daugherty, EdD
Associate Vice President and Dean of Students

Weekly Update 1/27/21

Huskies,

We are almost done with our residential quarantine and period of online instruction.  Thank you for your commitment to each other and your health and wellness.

As a reminder, tomorrow is the last day of re-entry testing for off-campus students with an on-campus commitment at the Student Union.  If you have not already been tested, please come to the Union between 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.

End of Quarantine: Over the course of the quarantine we diagnosed 11 residential students with COVID-19.  These cases were predominantly the result of students exposed to COVID prior to move-in.  This is a reminder to all of us the insidiousness of this virus and how important it is for us to continue to follow the UConn Promise and the residential Temporary Health and Safety Procedures.

Over the weekend, I will consult with my colleagues on the medical team and student activities to determine what ‘color’ we will designate the residential community.  That information is available on the COVID dashboard and will be updated on Monday.

Staying Connected: The UConn Pack Ambassadors are excited to be launching several new programs this semester.  First, beginning later this week, students in COVID-19 related isolation or quarantine will be provided with information about connecting with a Pack Ambassador and their programs.  If students in isolation complete the form, a Pack Ambassador will connect directly with them to provide peer-to-peer connections and support during their period of isolation.  Our hope is to expand this option within a few weeks for one-on-one interaction to students in quarantine and those who are remote learners.

Second, beginning next week The Pack Ambassadors will be staffing a WebEx meeting room a few hours a week that will be open to all UConn students.  This will be an open space for conversation, activities, questions and interaction with peers.  More details on the hours and a link will be posted on the Pack Ambassador social media sites.  For more information please follow on Instagram: uconn_pack_ambassadors, Twitter: @UConnPackAmbas1.

Finally, the Pack Ambassadors are excited to be facilitating and co-facilitating a variety of remote activities for students at all campuses this semester.  They will include movie watch parties, games and discussion groups, an Improv evening, and programs for Black History Month and Sexual Assault Awareness month.

If you are interested in becoming a Pack Ambassador, or for more information, please contact Jenn Longa, Assistant Dean of Students for Victim Support Services & Bystander Initiatives, at jenn.longa@uconn.edu

Remembering Loss: We have been deeply fortunate to have a student body whose good health has prevailed despite the pandemic.  Yet some of our Huskies have tragically passed while we have largely been a remote community.  Their loss is felt and will be remembered.  In April, the University will hold a memorial service to honor those students we have lost during the past two academic years. Planning is underway for this service to take place in early April 2021 before students leave campus for the semester. Information about the memorial service will be posted in the Daily Digests in March. The event is being coordinated by staff in the Dean of Students Office and Student Activities.

We will need to work our hardest this semester to continue to follow COVID-19 related protocols, which I know can be challenging.  Stick it with it, my friends.  I know we can get there together.

My best,

Eleanor JB Daugherty, EdD

Associate Vice President and Dean of Students

Weekly Update 1/20/21

Subject: Weekly Update 1/20/21

Happy Wednesday - welcome back!

Move-In went so smoothly. Our re-entry testing again proved how much you care for one another.  Our arrival positivity rate was less than 1% and we are now well settled into our quarantine period.  I am so very grateful to my colleagues across the campus who welcomed you over the weekend and ensured your safe return to campus.  The testing results are evidence to us of the importance of the preventative measures we have all agreed to take as part of the UConn Promise.

Our residential campus will remain in red as reflected in our color-coded chart located on the re-opening page.  Residential status will be re-evaluated and updated following the completion of the residential quarantine period on Feb. 1.

Storrs off campus and commuter students (graduate and undergraduate) registered for in-person instruction or who will be regularly working or doing research on campus are required to have a COVID-19 reentry test in January before coming to campus and weekly testing through February.  Off campus Storrs students involved in in-person instruction will be notified via email today of how to obtain a re-entry test.  Visit the Spring 2021 UConn COVID-19 Strategy for more information.

During quarantine, there are a host of things to do including virtual game nights, on-line workshops, and more – including a Hamilton Trivia Night and an online Baby Grand Jazz Session...all of which can be found on uKindness.  More importantly, I hope you will join me in attending the MLK Jr. Living Legacy Convocation with Dr. Ibram Kendi.

I’ll talk more about quarantine next week, but feel free to drop by the virtual Wellness Workshops hosted by SHaW-Mental Health every Wednesday at 4pm.

Please remember that the University expects that students will adhere to the Governor’s Executive Order that limits the number of guests at indoor and outdoor gatherings. Hosting and attending a non-compliant gathering --whether on campus or off-- may result in a $500 fine per the Governor’s Order and potential disciplinary action from the University, including but not limited to restricting your access to campus while the matter is under review. The Office of Community Standards will review referrals with special attention to the unique health and safety implications of endangering behaviors to our campus community during the pandemic. If you’re unsure how to report a concern to the University, please visit www.inform.uconn.edu.

Regardless of your country of origin, I encourage all of us to utilize the activities of today’s Presidential Inauguration to reflect upon the democratic process, the transition of power, and the inequities that all of you as future leaders are inspired to resolve.  This is a day of reflection and inspiration.   I am thankful to all of you for allowing UConn to be part of your own transformation as scholars and individuals.   I honor your commitment to building a better future and am grateful to have you as a part of the UConn community.

Be well, my friends. Talk to you next week.

Eleanor JB Daugherty, EdD
Associate Vice President and Dean of Students

Welcome Back Message Spring 2021 – 1/11/21

Subject: Welcome Back Message Spring 2021 - 1/11/21

Welcome back, my friends.  As we approach the start of the Spring semester, I wish you a healthy and safe return to instruction and, when applicable, to campus.

We’ve learned so much as a community and I thank you for your care of each another. I want to share a few reminders and updates as we approach reopening:

First, my favorite websites for staying connected and up to date:

Now for that long email of key topics - many of which reflect how much you have taught me over the course of the past semester and our commitment to all of you:

Communicating During COVID: I enjoyed my emails to all of you last semester.  It was an opportunity to connect and share what we knew and ensure that you were aware of decisions as they were being made.  That being said, to some of you, those communications appeared to be a perpetual message of rising concern.  With that in mind, we are implementing a color-coded system for residential students on the University dashboard.  This system will keep you informed as a community, aware of our current health status, and any impact it has upon the student experience (such as community quarantine, access to in person activities, etc.).

I do want to stay connected with all of you to celebrate our good work and share my concerns when warranted. Starting the week of Jan. 18, I will email all Storrs students a weekly Wednesday afternoon email.  Students are also ALWAYS invited to attend my Dean’s Advisory group meetings.

Re-Opening: Move in will occur Jan. 16 to 17 with all residential students required to participate in testing prior to arrival and a second test upon arrival. Information on move-in and testing requirements for residential students was sent by Residential Life and can be found here.  Please review it carefully and let us know if you have any questions.  In addition, SHaW sent a separate email to Storrs and Stamford residential students last week with instructions and a link to obtain the Vault mail-in test for pre-arrival testing.  Students must complete and submit these tests prior to arrival to live in university residence halls.

Off-campus Storrs students, both graduate and undergraduate, who are registered for in-person instruction or who will be regularly working or doing research on campus are required to be tested prior to coming to their on-campus commitments. On-site testing will be held on the Storrs campus Jan. 25, 26, 27 and 28 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.   An email with specific information and instructions for in-person testing will be sent the week of Jan. 10th.

Off-campus and commuter regional campus students, both graduate and undergraduate, for all UConn regional campuses who are registered for in-person instruction or who will be regularly working or doing research on campus are required to submit verification of a COVID-19 negative test result collected within 7 days of the start of in-person classes.  The University is making COVID-19 PCR testing available through a mail-in option at no cost through Vault Health.  SHaW will send an email the week of Jan. 17th with specific instructions and a link to obtain the Vault mail-in test.

For more detailed information about all spring semester testing requirements, please visit the SHaW website here.

Connection: During the break, my colleagues across the university came together to talk about one thing: you.  Under the guidance of Assistant Vice President Joe Briody we have reviewed our programs and opportunities to connect and have come up with the following for the Spring semester (also featured and updated on the uKindness site).  Wherever you may be over the course of the Spring semester, we are one HuskyNation and we are committed to staying connected, whether in-person or virtually.  Here are a few highlights:

  • Skating in Storrs!!!: We are building an outdoor skating rink on the Great Lawn that will be available once the residential quarantine is complete. No joke.  Bring your skates to campus or plan on “renting” them for free!  Please remember to keep physically distant on the ice as you slip and slide all over the place.  J
  • Jonathan’s Challenge: Earn points, win prizes, and be recognized for participating in a host of virtual and in-person events and activities throughout the semester. Come take the Jonathan Challenge, a new university-wide initiative for students at every campus! #JonathansChallenge #DeanIsIn
  • Community Connectors – You’re invited to connect with our peer Community Connectors beginning Jan. 11, to share your interests, ask questions, and be connected with programs and engagement opportunities across campus.
  • Pack Ambassadors: Pack Ambassadors are trained volunteer students who provide messaging and activities to encourage others to maintain healthy behaviors associated with COVID-19 prevention, and who connect with students to extend care and community with a goal of working together to Protect Our Pack. Using social media, remote and in person platforms they provide information and interaction to their peers. Pack Ambassadors may be students at any of the UConn campuses and may be undergraduate or graduate students.  They can be taking courses in person or remotely and live on or off campus. For more information, or to become a Pack Ambassador please contact Jenn Longa, Assistant Dean of Students for Victim Support Services & Bystander Initiatives, at jenn.longa@uconn.edu.

Our Mental Health:

Finally, COVID-19 vaccination for our general student population will occur in Phase 2, and not for some time.  Many of us have the fortune of good health and we must prioritize the elderly, medically at risk, and first responders identified through the Phase 1 distribution plan. Our time will come and we are working closely with the Department of Public Health on plans to administer the vaccine to students once available.  That time is weeks if not months away and it is critical that we continue this one, I hope, last push of choosing to keep each other safe through our behavior of mask wearing, physical distancing, testing, and symptom monitoring.

Thank you for the exemplary behavior and care that you have continued to practice towards one another.  Let’s do this.

Eleanor JB Daugherty, EdD
Associate Vice President and Dean of Students

Staying Connected: Virtual Resources for Students – 12/2/20

Subject: Staying Connected: Virtual Resources for Students

Dear Huskies,

I hope that you are all safe with your loved ones.  You are already missed and I look forward to your return to campus.

These past few months have been challenging for many students and their loved ones because of the COVID-19 pandemic and heightened visibility of racism throughout the country.  I am grateful to all of you for your commitment to something greater than yourself.  By choosing the health, safety, and wellbeing of others, you demonstrated true compassion and care during unprecedented hardship.  This moment unites us in our commitment to each other and to UConn.

Like many of our students who stayed home and remained online throughout this semester, we are now all living physically apart from one another as we conclude this semester.  But our connection remains.

I know that time away from campus also has its challenges.  Those who love us will also aggravate us, the internet will crash, and many of us may find ourselves having to remain far from home due to the constraints COVID-19 places upon travel.

UConn isn’t going anywhere.  If you need us, we are here.  A few highlights that I want to share:

Mental Health: SHaW Mental Health remains available to you as a virtual resource.  If you need a virtual drop-in appointment or to speak with a member of the staff, please visit their site for additional information or call 860-486-4705.

I am particularly excited to announce that SHaW-Mental Health will be offering all UConn students Winter Wellness Workshops beginning this week and continuing throughout winter break on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 4 - 5p.m. Join us for support about living at home, forming connections, feelings of anxiety and isolation, worry about others, and other challenges.  We look forward to your participation.

UKindness: Our UKindness initiative reflects the virtual activities that will continue throughout the semester.  Check out the site and attend a mindfulness workshop, meeting, or event.  All are welcome!

Internet service: The Keep Learning website provides students with tips, strategies and resource information for all course modalities. If you need technical help (connectivity, issues logging in, course/enrollment status, etc.), please contact the UITS Technology Support Center:

If you need assistance with HuskyCT, please contact Blackboard Support by phone: 1-855-308-5616 or online: http://huskyct24x7.uconn.edu/

The staff in the Dean of Student Office and the Regional Campus Student Services offices are available to help. These staff provide support without judgment and recognize that every student's experience is unique. Reach out with questions and our team will work with you to try to identify solutions. To connect with the Dean of Students Office staff, email dos@uconn.edu or visit our website to sign up for an appointment. Regional campus students needing to connect with someone for support and/or resource information should click on this link to make an appointment with the Regional Student Services staff from your home campus.

I wish you good health and the best of luck as finals approach.  If you need help, ask.  We are here.

All good things,

Eleanor JB Daugherty, EdD
Associate Vice President and Dean of Students

P.S. Who wants to share ideas about staying connected? I loved the virtual 5k and virtual classes that UConn Rec hosts. How else can we share our adventures with one another and maintain our connection as Huskies? Let me know! @EllyJBDaugherty or Instagram.

Heading Home: COVID, Testing Results, and Care of Those We Love – 11/19/20

Subject: Heading Home: COVID, Testing Results, and Care of Those We Love

Dear Huskies,

Over the past five days, nearly 7000 students have exit-tested for COVID-19.  Through these actions, I see the caring individuals that you are and I thank you for your commitment to each other and a healthy return home to those you love.

Now that most of those exit test results are in, I want to share with you what I know:

Our off-campus positive testing results reached a high of 40 yesterday.  Our on-campus testing results have not seen a similar increase.  These results validate the concern repeatedly expressed by Governor Lamont and Dr. Deborah Birx, White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator, about an increase of COVID-19 cases in the country.  I share that concern.

As a result, some UConn students will need to spend the holiday in isolation or quarantine.  SHaW has worked directly with those students who require our care to provide for their continued medical needs.  For all of us, this is a stern reminder of this seriousness of COVID and the spread of this virus as we enter the ninth month of the pandemic.

Our off-campus clusters continue to be the result of small off-campus gatherings that occurred during the nicer weather we experienced last week.  Those gatherings remind us of the risks we take when we come together and fail to take proven precautionary measures that reduce the chance of exposure to this virus, which has devastated us personally and as a world.  The choices we make –and the impact they have upon those we love- could not be more important now as we approach travel for the Thanksgiving holiday.

It is essential that I emphasize the caution expressed yesterday by Governor Lamont.  Specifically:

“The combination of rising cases across the country – including in the northeast – due to increased transmission of COVID in small, residential settings and Thanksgiving travel has created the perfect storm for viral spread. If people proceed with celebrations in small gatherings outside of their immediate families, they risk generating a dramatic spike in cases after Thanksgiving. All governors are urging their residents to stay home and celebrate small this year in an effort to help eliminate the risk of unchecked COVID-19 spread in the coming weeks.”

I strongly advise you to follow DPH holiday guidance and persist in your observation of precautionary measures like quarantining following extended travel, mask wearing, exit testing, hand washing, physical distancing, and refraining from attending gatherings –particularly those that are indoors.  As a reminder, a negative test reflects just one moment in time.  Your ability to become exposed and infected by COVID-19 can happen instantly. As a result, the Connecticut Department of Public Health advises that “it is very important for students to quarantine away from their families for 14 days before mingling or socializing with family members in their home environment.”  This is particularly relevant for our off-campus students who have not been impacted by the recent residential quarantine.

Some of you have been approved to remain on campus for medical or personal reasons.  We are here for you.  Dining will be available at McMahon as well as several retail locations.  Quarantined students will need to eat at McMahon during designated hours.  SHaW will continue to provide medical care and testing for those students.  Please be sure to respond to the messaging you receive from Residential Life and Student Health and Wellness.

A colleague of mine at UConn always reminds me, “one team, one fight.”  As a first responder who exemplifies our fight at UConn, he could not be more right.  The only way to do our best work right now, to fight the virus and keep our families safe, is to do it together.  This virus has entered our lives, uniting us in our fight to keep each other safe and well.  You, my friends, have fought hard for three months.  You have earned this break and time away. But we can’t stop fighting now.  There is too much we love at stake.

Be well.  Come back soon.  I’ll see you in January.

Yours in the fight,

Eleanor JB Daugherty, EdD

Associate Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students

Campus Quarantine: We Need to Contain This – 11/13/20

Subject: Campus Quarantine: We Need to Contain This

Dear Huskies,

We don’t have the COVID spread under control.  I need us to do more to ensure that we are able to return home to our families healthy.  Please read this email (it’s long, I know) carefully.

The bottom line: UConn is implementing a modified quarantine for our entire residential campus beyond the buildings already quarantined, and residential students must receive a PCR exit test before leaving for Thanksgiving break.

Let’s walk through this together.

Here is the latest testing data and the recent increases that we have seen over the past week:

As I shared on Wednesday, there are additional steps that we need to take.  First, today’s test results indicate that existing residential quarantine protocols need to be extended beyond the halls named Wednesday to include the following halls:

  • Busby Suites
  • Russell Hall
  • Alsop A
  • Fairfield Hall
  • Litchfield Hall

Students who live in the residence halls listed above must continue to follow all the quarantine protocols including online learning.

IN ADDITION: Our efforts to contain spread require us to take additional measures as a residential community.  As a result, all other Storrs residential students not currently in residential quarantine will need to follow a modified quarantine beginning today at 5 p.m. and lasting until the residential system closes on Nov. 21 at 5 p.m.

A modified quarantine means that all quarantine procedures apply to these remaining students with the exception that they are permitted to attend class in person, participate in clinical placement, and participate in essential research functions conducted at UConn. You must continue to wear masks, follow medical advice, refrain from gatherings, and remain in your rooms.  You may go to class or other academic activities, pick up food at the dining halls, participate in COVID testing, and go for walks outside away from other people.

If you have been contacted by SHaW and placed under a medical quarantine or isolation please follow the instructions in your secure messages.  Students who are under medical quarantine or isolation will be advised by SHaW if they need to remain on campus beyond Nov. 20 for medical reasons.

Given how close we are to the Thanksgiving holiday, it is now required that residential students be exit tested prior to checking-out of the residence halls and returning home.  SHaW will be providing exit testing at the Field House, every day, including weekends, from Nov. 13 through Nov. 18 for Storrs students.  Residential students will be tested over the weekend.  Residential Life will provide more detailed information to residents by Friday evening.

Students already tested after Tuesday, Nov. 10 do not need to obtain an exit test.

In person student activities and use of the Rec Center will also be suspended through Nov. 20.  All dining halls will be considered quarantine dining and will convert to take-out by 5 p.m. today.

Finally, the State of Connecticut Department of Public Health continues to provide guidance to college students traveling during the holiday.  Please review this carefully as well.

This is about family, my friends.  We all want to go home and be with our loved ones.  It is essential that we return home to our families in our best health.  The only way to achieve this is by containing the current spread on campus and obtaining testing results through SHaW.

As a reminder, a negative test result does not eliminate the importance of physical distancing, wearing masks or face coverings, and frequent hand washing. These are the measures that truly keep everyone safe.

We are your family, too, Huskies.  As always, if you are unable to return home for medical reasons, we will support you.  Let’s continue to take good care of one another, contain this virus, and be with those we love.

Yours,

Eleanor JB Daugherty, EdD
Associate Vice President and Dean of Students

COVID Increase at Storrs: additional quarantine needed – 11/10/20

Subject: COVID Increase at Storrs: additional quarantine needed

Dear Huskies,

This morning, I was made aware of 11 on-campus and 23 off-campus positive test results.  Unfortunately, our good health and this good weather may have invited some of us to be more relaxed in our behaviors. This is our highest number of positive cases reported in a single day since testing began at UConn.

With the holidays so close, it is essential that we take significant steps to contain the spread of this virus at UConn. We do this not only for ourselves, but for those loved ones we are so eager to see in good health.

All of our most recent on-campus positives have been scattered through five residence halls. Starting tomorrow morning at 7:00 a.m., the following residential buildings will be under quarantine until further notice:

  • Belden Hall
  • Batterson Hall
  • Tolland Hall
  • Middlesex Hall
  • Werth Hall

Students living in those buildings will be required to follow quarantine procedures including testing, take-out dining from our designated quarantine dining halls and online education.  If the quarantine period extends beyond Nov. 20th, when the residence halls close for winter recess, students will receive guidance on how to quarantine at home if they choose to do so.  Students who are unable to return home for quarantine will be accommodated through SHaW.

Testing continues to be available to all students Monday through Friday at the Field House.  Additional information on signing up for a testing appointment can be found hereIt is important that all quarantine students be tested.  SHaW will be sending all quarantined students information on testing through secured messaging.

The measures announced today may only be a first step.  The University continues to vigorously monitor testing and waste water to determine if additional measures are necessary.

UConn is not immune from the risk of COVID and the dangers it presents to ourselves and those we love.  Recent events at nearby universities remind us that large gatherings and failing to follow universal precautions can have a dramatic consequence on our ability to be a Husky family.

It is of critical importance that we stay strong, stay connected and continue to care for the health and safety of others.  We know how to do this.  Our success, to date, has been earned through your great work.  Let’s not put that in jeopardy.

Yours,

Eleanor JB Daugherty, EdD

Associate Vice President and Dean of Students

It’s Our Time: UConn Voices in the Election – 11/2/20

Subject: It's Our Time:  UConn Voices in the Election

Dear Huskies,

We’ve waited four years for this – the United States Presidential election of 2020.

Tomorrow, Americans will vote for one of the most important positions in global governance while also selecting leaders in community, state, and other federal roles.  Our international friends are equally committed to the role the United States will play as host to students from throughout the world.

Now is the time to be heard and, in keeping with President Katsouleas’ and Provost Lejuez’s earlier message, we encourage you to participate in this important election.  Participation certainly means voting but it also means that we must gather, connect, and support each other during such a critical time.  This is a call to care for and respect the many individuals that comprise the diversity of identity and ideas that are the UConn community.

With that in mind, we invite you to participate in activities that are being hosted on and around Election Day.  Of note, USG and PIRG will be hosting a watch party featuring Provost Lejuez and Sara Lejuez, a long time journalist with global expertise, at 7 p.m. in the Ballroom of the Student Union with a visit from President Katsouleas at the start of the event.  Registration is required and the event is only available to UConn students.

We want all students to feel connected and part of the UConn nation regardless of whether you are an online learner at home or an in person learner living on campus.  For those who are unable to come together in person, Student Affairs and the Office of the Provost will be hosting a virtual watch party at 7 p.m. with live participation from numerous UConn faculty including Professor Joe MacDougald from UConn Law, Professor Mohamad Alkadry from the Department of Public Policy and Professor and President Emeritus, Susan Herbst from the Department of Political Science.  To attend the event beginning at 7 p.m., click here and enter the password UConnVotes.

Finally, Residential Life is hosting a series of watch parties for residential students featuring members of the faculty and the Hall Director staff.

We will come together and participate in some of the greatest traditions of higher education tomorrow: celebrating the rigorous and respectful exchange of ideas that define the democratic experience.  Yet, this year, I fear we do so with great caution.  On too many occasions, certain individuals or groups have demonstrated a lack of care and respect for the diverse identities we hold, with the most recent events negatively targeting difference within the contexts of religion, race, and gender.

UConn is a community that cares for and protects the identities of all students.  In doing so, we will not tolerate acts of discrimination, bias, or intolerance.  Join us in upholding the UConn Promise, coming together as a campus community, and choosing to care for each other.

Always,

Eleanor JB Daugherty, EdD

Associate Vice President and Dean of Students

Michael Hernández

President, Undergraduate Student Government

COVID-19 on the rise at UConn – 10/30/20

Subject: COVID-19 on the rise at UConn

Dear Huskies,

I’m worried. Earlier this morning, the medical team informed me that we have nine reported off-campus positive cases among our students, in addition to three on-campus.  This presents a jump in the off-campus positivity rate to 5.6% and is UConn’s highest single day total in weeks.

There is no indication that these cases are related to one another or stem from a common source, meaning they are scattered. This is cause for even greater concern, especially in light of the fact that the state’s positivity rate has jumped in recent days.

Here is the information that was shared with me:

On campus we continue to be healthy and there is no indication in the waste water or in testing results that we are seeing a comparable increase in COVID-19.  It is also important to note that the recent increase in off campus positive cases is not affiliated with an event or gathering.  This is the reality of COVID-19 as it surges throughout the state of Connecticut, our country, and our world.

I have no choice but to insist that on campus residential students be prohibited from attending off campus social gatherings through Nov 4 at 8am.  This is essential to our health and safety.  On campus residential students who attend off-campus social gatherings will be referred to Community Standards by Connecticut State Police.  Please note this only applies to social gatherings and does not apply to voting on Nov 3.

Further, off campus students are strongly encouraged to participate in surveillance testing today from 9am to 3pm at the Field House.    Surveillance testing and point of care testing for symptomatic students is available throughout the semester.

As students, you have done incredible work in caring for others and being safe.  The University does have a number of events planned for Halloween weekend, and I encourage you to participate.

We are in this together.  Always.  I am so grateful for all that we have done to keep UConn safe and healthy as the virus aggressively spreads among our communities.  Please join me in redoubling those efforts.  We’ve got this.

All good things,

Eleanor JB Daugherty, EdD

Associate Vice President and Dean of Students

UConn’s Critical Time: Staying Safe and Having Fun – 10/29/20

Subject: UConn’s Critical Time: Staying Safe and Having Fun

Dear Huskies,

Good news.  Again.  As COVID cases continue to rise across the state, our country and our world, your actions have allowed us to continually present a low percentage of positive COVID-19 cases on our campuses.  Thanks to the incredible staff at Student Health and Wellness, here’s what we know:

What you can see is that UConn is doing very well, but the virus continues to be present in small upticks around campus that reflect close contacts not following university precautions through small, unmasked gatherings.  More concerning is the continued rise of cases in our own state with recent news that the state of Connecticut’s positivity rate has rapidly increased to 4%.  We must be vigilant in our good work.

Our regional campuses exemplify the practice of mask wearing and distancing and have also reported little illness among students. To date, the University has been notified of 7 total positive student cases among all regional campuses.

Our success, however, lies in each of you.  Testing, while an effective measure of positive cases, is a poor measure of preventative behavior.  Our numbers are low throughout our campuses because each of you chooses to do the right thing: wear a mask, maintain physical distance, and let us know when you are feeling sick.

Which brings me to Halloween and something I have shared earlier: There are no days off from COVID.  There is no doubt that UConn students enjoy Halloween.  But this year enjoying Halloween can’t mean a friendly visit to a residence on Hunting Lodge Road without following universal precautions and the Governor’s orders on gatherings.  The Connecticut State Police, the Office of Community Standards and I are firmly aligned on this point.

If UConn is notified that you have hosted a gathering in violation of the Governor’s orders, Community Standards will issue an immediate campus restriction pending a complete investigation.  We know too much: Gatherings that exceed guidance where universal precautions are not observed cause the COVID-19 virus to spread.

What Halloween does and should mean is taking time to enjoy trick or treating on Fairfield Way, the Jack-O-Lantern walk at Mystic Seaport, rock climbing in your costume at the Rec Center, and, most importantly enjoying the drive-in movie that RHA and SUBOG organized in W-lot (nice job, Kailee!!).

Please celebrate this time together while always making safe choices that protect your health and the health of others.  Remember to follow all of the COVID guidance provided by SHaW and your medical provider.

Thank you for all that you do for each other and for UConn.  The data is clear: Your actions are making a difference.

Yours,

Eleanor JB Daugherty, EdD

Associate Vice President and Dean of Students

Storrs Campus COVID Positive Test Rate Comparative Report – 10/14/20

Subject: Storrs Campus COVID Positive Test Rate Comparative Report

Dear Huskies,

I’ve got some (more) great news.  I know you appreciated seeing your data the last time I wrote you.  With that in mind, the SHaW medical team and I put this together.  Take a look:

UConn Storrs Campus COVID Positive Test Rate Comparative Report

That’s right.  We have not had one on-campus residential positive COVID-19 test in 8 days.  That includes all “point of care” tests (students who come to SHaW for care when they are feeling sick) and surveillance testing (students who are not symptomatic and are selected to come for testing in the Field House, or who come to be tested on their own). This includes the results of over 2000 tests since October 1st.  Our residential population is healthier than the country and the state.

Wow.  I feel really confident about this measure of our health.  There has been some concern expressed in the state about students getting tested off campus and not disclosing results to their university.  Fortunately, at UConn we have two great partnerships going for us.  First, our relationship with the Connecticut State Department of Public Health and the Eastern Highlands Health District is such that any COVID positive UConn student test result is shared with SHaW – regardless of where you are tested (although the tests are free at UConn).

The second partnership with Microbial Analysis, Resources, and Services (MARS), Facilities Operations, and the Institute for Systems Genomics shows us that our waste water testing present trace levels of COVID-19.  Even if you aren’t tested through surveillance testing at UConn, well, you do contribute to our waste water system.  We are healthy.  And I am so proud of our collective efforts to be healthy and together as a community.

However, I want you to look at the second line of the graph.  The off-campus testing results.  Also impressive and below the state and national levels.  Yet higher than the on-campus rate.  I want you to know why.

Not entirely, but that’s the result of one off-campus gathering that was in violation of the governor’s orders for indoor gatherings. Five positive cases resulted.  We cannot take chances.  When we take off our masks and gather closely together, we get sick.   Sick with an illness that has touched the lives of millions and hobbled our country. When student actions are reported to the University that endanger the health and safety of others, they will be referred to Community Standards for review.

That brings me to Halloween.  It would be nice to have a day off from COVID. I’m afraid we can’t.  The off-campus data shows us that’s just not the case.

Walking around campus, I see how UConn perseveres through your actions: virtual communities, S’mores, movie nights at Sherman field, and fitness classes show how we continue to build community and be our best Huskies during this challenging time.  As students, you have brought that life to campus, you have shown everyone how much your university means to you, and you have kept us safe and healthy.  Please continue to stay active and involved in our uKindness initiative.

I know this is hard and can take a toll on your mental health.  Monday night, participants in the UConn NAACP chapter’s town hall reemphasized the need for us to do all we can to support the mental health of our students. I agree and this is something UConn works at every day. As Dean Heller and I conclude the final report of the President’s Mental Health Task Force, we will have more to share about this important topic.  For now, please know that SHaW Mental Health is available to you and there is availability for telemedicine appointments.

I am so grateful to all of you and how much you care for one another.  Let’s keep it up, UConn.

My best,

Eleanor JB Daugherty, EdD
Associate Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students

COVID at UConn: Continuing On Our Path to Success – 10/6/20

Subject: COVID at UConn: Continuing On Our Path to Success

Dear Huskies,

We keep doing this.

I wanted to take a moment and share with you that, over the course of the last several days, our positivity rate has dropped to less than one percent.  These results include over 1,400 COVID-19 tests administered by Student Health and Wellness on the Storrs campus during the period of September 28-October 2.

COVID test results table

The students included in this testing include residential and non-residential students on the Storrs campus.  This low positivity rate is supported by our pooled and wastewater sampling.

In a time of increased rates of infection, UConn has proven to be an outlier.  With one of the largest residential populations and rate of in-person learning among flagships in the region, we have one of the lowest rates of COVID infection as of today.

We have done this together and I am particularly grateful to the students who have joined our exceptional medical and residential teams in this work.  Together, we have followed universal precautions such as mask wearing and physical distancing.  Together, you have made sacrifices including periodic quarantining, participating in pooled and surveillance testing, and, when necessary, isolation.

I am incredibly grateful to our students.  UConn’s plans, protocols, and practices can only be effective if our community follows them. The vast majority of you did. Thank you for all that you have done to keep us safe and open.  You have consistently made concessions and sacrifices as you keep yourself and other Huskies safe.  We all love UConn and, because of your efforts, we remain open.

But: this is not over. There is much ahead.  Your continued due diligence always matters.  As Halloween approaches, please keep in mind recent DPH guidance.  It is critical that we avoid large gatherings and smaller inside gatherings.  I know UConn loves Halloween and I’m thankful to students and colleagues who will be announcing safe and fun programming throughout Halloween weekend on the uKindness website.

As students, you have defied all stereotypes associated with risky behavior.  Of course you have.  You should be proud and I am thankful for the future you will lead following the challenges of this pandemic.

I remain grateful to all of you.  And concerned for your health.  Please continue to be safe, care for one another, and follow our UConn Promise.

Yours,

Eleanor JB Daugherty, EdD

Associate Vice President and Dean of Students

Provost’s Message: Working together to move forward – 10/2/20

Dear UConn Community:

COVID-19 and the return to the UConn learning experience have presented our university with unprecedented challenges. We write today to celebrate our ability to maintain our core values, give you more information about the presence of COVID on our campuses, and indicate our path forward.

COVID-19 at UConn

We have learned a great deal over the past several weeks about balancing community well-being and educational progress in the midst of COVID-19. Together, we have used our strength as a research university to solve a complex problem and reopen UConn safely. We are grateful to the partnerships that have emerged throughout our campuses, administration, student and campus services, UConn Health, and the academic schools and colleges.

Our current infection rate is around 1%. This is a remarkable accomplishment. To date, our spread among students is because of small interactions such as card games, common meals, and other informal interactions. For all of us, our risk of spread is avoidable through our own individual actions, as expressed in the UConn Promise. This includes monitoring your health, participating in random surveillance testing, following guidelines for mask wearing, hand washing, and physical distancing, and heeding medical guidance provided by your primary medical provider. These are all especially important as we head into colder weather and spend more time indoors.

While we are hardly declaring victory, it is important to acknowledge the hard work of our community to promote safety in maintaining a largely safe and healthy environment on our campuses.

UConn Research and Innovation

As we planned for reopening this fall semester, we benefitted from workgroups that were enriched by the research talents of many partners, including InCHIP, Institute for Systems Genomics, MARS, CLEAR, and our epidemiology expertise in UConn Health.

We encourage you to learn more about these intersections of research and practice through upcoming events. InCHIP is hosting a series of panels, detailed on their website. The Provost’s Office is also hosting a research forum that features panelists involved in the innovative work in wastewater testing and pooled sampling on the Storrs campus, managed collaboratively among MARS, Institute for Systems Genomics, CLEAR, and Student Health and Wellness. This forum is scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 14 from 5 to 6 p.m. More information is available on the Provost’s Office website. We welcome suggestions for future panels via provost@uconn.edu.

The Path Forward

Plans are underway for the spring term, which we are approaching with optimism and humility, working closely with many organizations, including the Senate Executive Committee, AAUP, UCPEA, and USG. We expect to make key decisions prior to the opening of registration in late October building on what we have learned from the fall semester.

Spring will likely be quite similar to the fall with continued decreased residential occupancy (currently around 5,000 students at Storrs) and continued medical due diligence through testing and surveillance. Students received a message today with more details on housing availability, including the option to retain their housing assignment from fall to spring.

Student events and activities continue to be guided by activities and program information that is available here. We have learned that building safe and connected campuses is enhanced by small in-person and virtual activities, examples of which appear on the uKindness site. We welcome all campuses and departments to submit events and activities to uKindness.

We are grateful to students, including leadership in USG and GSS who have shared thoughts on maintaining a meaningful connection between instructors and students in the spring, and many other critical university actions.

Our physical and mental health are deeply entwined and many are experiencing stress during this time. Students are reminded and encouraged to utilize SHaW-Mental Health resources. Faculty and staff are reminded of the support provided through the Employee Assistance Program.

Thank you, UConn, for your combined effort in keeping us safe and allowing us to return to in-person learning and research. Thanks to all of you, we are in this for the long haul.

Sincerely,

Carl and Elly

Carl Lejuez
Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs

Eleanor JB Daugherty
Associate Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students

Good News for UConn’s Health

Subject: Good News for UConn's Health

Dear Huskies,

I am happy to share that, due to the conscientious actions of our Garrigus residents, the building has been lifted from residential quarantine.

As you know, over two weeks ago the positive COVID-19 cases confirmed from Garrigus testing resulted in a disproportionately high number of positives when compared with the remainder of the campus.  Student Health and Wellness determined that it was necessary to test the entire building, continue surveillance testing, and place the building in quarantine.  That quarantine prevented students from engaging in in-person learning and in-person dining until our spread was contained.

After careful monitoring and compliance, we have achieved our goal of halting the spread of the virus in Garrigus.  This is a heroic undertaking for everyone.  Together, we flattened the curve.

Our residential community has been open, safe, and healthy for four weeks.  A month.  It is honest to say that many of us wondered if we would reach this place as a community.  The only way we have been able to achieve this success, so far, is through our collective care and concern for one another.  We must not stop.

As always, I remind you that the spread of COVID-19 at UConn is up to us to control.  We have consistently reported low infection rates of less than 1% in our residential community.  As students, you have been vigilant and you have given up a great deal to maintain a healthy campus.  That being said, spread occurs at UConn among those who are not consistently wearing masks and not keeping 6 feet of distance from one another.  The spread of COVID-19 is not forgiving: the efforts we need to take are both that simple and that important.  Let’s keep doing what we do: staying open and staying healthy.

A couple of reminders:

  • Medical Clearance:  Any student who is in isolation needs to be medically cleared by SHaW.  Once cleared, their health is no longer considered a risk to themselves or to the campus community and they should be welcomed back to the UConn community. Students in quarantine may re-enter the campus community when they reach the end of their quarantine period. No clearance is necessary.
  • Community: Student Affairs has done incredible work building safe and healthy ways to connect virtually and in person as a community.  Please continue to refer (and submit!) to the uKindness
  • Dining:  Effective Wednesday, September 16th at 7:00 am, Putnam Dining will return to normal operations and will be open to all students that have a meal plan. We would like to thank everyone for their flexibility while Putnam was utilized for the residents of Garrigus Suites.
  • Address information: It is important, particularly for off campus residents, that we have your current local address.  Please update your “current address” field with your Storrs/Mansfield address if you are living off-campus.

As I write this, I am mindful that COVID-19 is not over.  We are in this for the long haul and much will continue to be asked of all of us.  As you know, the Oaks apartment complex is now in quarantine.  They, too, must take the same steps taken by the Garrigus residents to ensure their health is safeguarded.

Be safe, my friends.  Be well.  Let’s do this.

Eleanor JB Daugherty, EdD

Associate Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students

Labor Day Concerns

Subject: Labor Day Concerns

Dear Huskies,

I need to bring serious concerns to your attention immediately.

I have just completed a call with our outstanding Student Health & Wellness medical team.  Our most recent surveillance test results of over 350 students have revealed 13 new positive cases.  This is a concern as we enter the Labor Day weekend.

I learned this morning that state police responded to two different off-campus gatherings last night.  These gatherings will be reviewed by the Office of Community Standards for violations of the Student Code.  An initial update from the state police is not definitive, but it is worrisome.  Please be assured that off-campus activities are as endangering to the health and safety of others as on campus and they will be reviewed in that light.

The vast majority of our students are being careful and following health guidelines. However, those who aren’t are getting sick or getting others sick.

The majority of these 13 positive cases were already identified by SHaW as being a close contact of another positive student and were in quarantine.  This is a good indication of the success of contact tracing in anticipating the likelihood of future positive cases and reducing risk to the greater community.  Second, it is another point of affirmation that our students are freely disclosing their close contacts when interviewed by SHaW staff and ensuring their friends are provided prompt access to care.  For that, as always, I thank you for your due diligence and care for one another.

Whether the gatherings are large or small, I must again share with you that these exposures occur when individuals are in close contact with one another – less than six feet – and not wearing a mask.  This is as simple as having a few friends in your room and playing card games, video games, watching Netflix – things that I am sure many of us can relate to.  These acts appear innocent and understandable during a time when so much has been sacrificed.  They are not innocent and they are putting your health and the health of others at risk.

Today is a beautiful day.  I want you to enjoy it.  But we must not relax the universal precautions that we know keep our community safe: wear a mask, stay with your family unit, maintain physical distance, and remain on campus this weekend.

Be safe, my friends.  We’ve made it this far- let’s not stop now.

My best,

Eleanor JB Daugherty, EdD

Associate Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students

Student Access to Testing

Dear Storrs Students,

Our combined commitment to keep our campuses healthy and halt the spread of the COVID-19 virus in our community continues.  I write today to update you on our work to practice routine surveillance testing.

For large residential campuses such as ours, practicing routine surveillance is an obligation of the reopening plan provided to the state Department of Public Health.  UConn-Storrs surveillance obligations include routinely testing non-symptomatic students on our campus.  Students are randomly selected to participate in surveillance testing by Student Health and Wellness.  All students are encouraged to be tested regardless of whether they have been randomly selected.

NON-Symptomatic Testing:

On-Campus Testing:

September 8-10:

Hours: 9am-1pm
Location: South Campus tent, in front of Rome

September 14-November 20
Hours: 9am-3pm
Location: Field House
Note: Student will be able to schedule a testing appointment beginning later this week through SHaW.

Off-Campus Testing (organized by Eastern Highlands Health District):

September 9
Hours: 2-6pm
Location: Betsy Patterson Square

Pooled Sampling Testing:

Student Health and Wellness is involved in an innovative partnership with the UConn Institute for System Genomics and MARS that will launch a pooled sampling strategy for non-symptomatic students.  This approach significantly increases the number of individuals that can be tested in a short period of time.

Starting this week, SHaW will launch and eventually expand pooled sampling.  Students will provide a saliva sample in a tube.  Samples from multiple individuals are then pooled together or batched into one sample and then tested.  If a pooled sample is negative, all individuals in that pooled sample are deemed negative.  If the pooled sample is positive, then all the individuals in that pool will need to have a CoV2 diagnostic test provided by SHaW. For residential students, pooled sample saliva kits will be distributed and collected in your residential hall.  The expanded pooled sampling will include designated sites for saliva sampling around campus for non-residential students that will be promoted through the Daily Digest.

Symptomatic Testing

If you are a student experiencing any symptoms, regardless of whether you live on or off campus, please contact the SHaW Advice Nurse at 860-486-4700.  The Advice Nurse is available to Storrs students 24 hours a day/7 days a week.

Coming Up:

Your continued good health matters –particularly as we enter flu season. SHaW will be in touch regarding flu clinics later this month.  It is important that you receive the flu vaccine.

Our connection to each other and building a health-minded community is so important during this time.  I am happy to share that, because of our good health and precautionary behavior such as mask wearing and physical distancing, Student Activities will begin hosting small in person activities while also increasing awareness of virtual and in-person events through the uKindess site.  More to come!

In closing, I thank you for your commitment to the UConn Promise and to caring for one another.  Remember that a test result reflects your health in a moment in time.  A test result should never be seen as replacing the need for universal precautions such as mask wearing, physical distancing of 6 feet, and good hygiene.

Thank you for all that you do to keep us healthy, open, and safe.  Every action makes a difference.

All good things,

Eleanor JB Daugherty, EdD
Associate Vice President and Dean of Students

A Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion at UConn

Subject: A Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion at UConn

The following message is being sent from Associate Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Eleanor JB Daugherty and Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer Frank Tuitt:

The beginning of the academic year is a time when we are reminded of the uniqueness of our UConn community.  We are proud that UConn is a place where people are able to learn about and appreciate the diverse backgrounds and perspectives of all of our students.

Over the course of the past several months, we experienced the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic—economic insecurity, loss of life, and uncertainty about the future. As a nation, we witnessed the brutal murders of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and Ahmaud Arbery.  This dehumanization of Black people and the senseless violence against people of color are not new. However, the documentation of these killings prompted some of the largest demonstrations in U.S. history against White supremacy, systemic oppression and anti-Black racism. In these unprecedented times, we more than ever need to be intentional about creating spaces for our community to be able process these experiences, learn about the history and impact of such events while holding each other accountable for the harmful behaviors that contradict an antiracist and inclusive environment.

As a university community, we must embrace the expression of varied opinions while also insisting that expression occur in an environment of mutual respect.  The exchange of ideas that occurs throughout our community creates a spirit of dialogue that is not only welcome, but absolutely necessary on university campuses like UConn in order to offer the most engaging and vibrant educational experience to our students. It is through inquiry, the exploration of ideas, and exposure to opinions and opportunities that are new to us that UConn is able to thrive as an academic community in ways that are both challenging and rewarding. This allows us to grow, increase awareness, and inspire change in a complex world.

To facilitate such an environment, our students need to feel empowered and equipped to engage in healthy and effective dialogue on issues such as racial justice, equity, and systemic racism. Consequently, we continue to provide opportunities for our students to learn about and participate in programming that would promote an inclusive and equitable community. For example, the Welcome to the Pack video-based module provides critical information about bias, microaggressions, prejudice, and stereotypes.

It is the responsibility of all of us to steward these values throughout the course of our experience at UConn and beyond.   Through our collective efforts, UConn remains a home for discovery that enables us to fulfill our mission for our students as well as for our state, the nation, and the world.

While free expression is important in having productive dialogue, the University acts when harm occurs to members of our community.  In January of 2015, the University developed its Bias Response Protocol to support students who experience an incident that either is or appears to be bias-related.  Such incidents are shared with the University of Connecticut Police Department and the Office of Community Standards to review for possible criminal and/or violations of  the The Student Code.

In the past academic year, 82 bias referrals were made and all were reviewed by the University.  A summary of the complaints is exhibited here:

Please note that the previous chart reflects all forms of bias reported to the University.  This chart reflects incidents that may be reported twice because two or more actions occurred.

UConn is committed to being one of the world’s leading institutions by encouraging the expression of ideas within a highly diverse community of scholars and students.  We welcome the voices of our students in this important work, and we look forward to another successful academic year.

Best,

Eleanor JB Daugherty
Associate Vice President and Dean of Students

Frank Tuitt
Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer

Garrigus Residence Hall 8/27/20

Sent: Thursday, August 27, 2020 4:46 PM
Subject:  Message from Provost and Dean of Students (Garrigus Residence Hall)

Dear Students and Colleagues,

Today the University made the important decision to proactively place the Garrigus residence hall under medical quarantine. This was a decision that was thoughtfully and appropriately determined by Student Health and Wellness, with the support of University leadership, after seeing a heightened presence of COVID positive cases among Garrigus residents. This rate is disproportionate to the positive cases we have seen among other residential locations.

Due to a heightened presence of COVID-positive cases among Garrigus residents and in order to minimize the risk and help to effectively control the spread of the virus, UConn Student Health and Wellness has determined that access to Putnam Refectory will be limited to residents of Garrigus Suites until further notice.

Beginning tomorrow, Friday, Aug. 28, all other students with meal plans who dine in residential dining facilities can obtain their meals only at South, McMahon, Northwest and North.

As we know all too well, this is a dynamic time for our campus, our community and our world. The presence of the COVID-19 virus has caused all of us to make sacrifices and adjust some of the fundamental ways we connect with one another.

As we return to class, we will need to do so with physical distance, masking, and virtual learning. These are the realities that we face as we return to in-person instruction. The UConn Promise details the measures we must all take to ensure health and safety.

We must also be vigilant in our care when illness presents among the UConn community. The University COVID Dashboard reflects the reality of positive cases among our students, faculty, and staff.

As we enter the academic term, we are prepared to again take these measures when we need to aggressively control spread of the virus. Students missing class will be accommodated through the Dean of Students office and our regional campus student services colleagues. Faculty will be directly contacted if a student requires some academic accommodation.

Despite our challenges, we look forward to a successful academic term and thank you for your commitment to a healthy UConn.

Our best,

Carl W. Lejeuz, PhD

Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs

Eleanor JB Daugherty, EdD
Associate Vice President and Dean of Students

Fall 2020 Welcome

Subject: Fall 2020 Welcome

Welcome back.

In many ways, I am amazed that we have gotten to this point of a return to in person learning.  I thank all of you –whether you will be learning on campus or from home- for your continued commitment to keeping us safe.  Your actions matter and I am grateful.

It took so much work for all of us to get to this place.  There is now, however, more work that needs to be done by all of us to keep UConn open.  I need your help.

You have heard me say on many occasions that I believe in you.  I do.  I believe in our love of being Huskies and in our compassion for one another.  I do need to take the time to review with you how seriously these COVID related measures are and how we will be enforcing these expectations during the fall term.

As you know, the world is experiencing a health crisis.  We must follow and enforce increased health and safety measures for the safety of our community.  As a result, it is essential that students observe universal precautions such as mask wearing and physical distancing, follow quarantine and isolation procedures as directed by the university and your medical care provider, and comply with university and state advisories on gathering.

As ordered by Governor Lamont, it is required that UConn students follow Executive Order 7III.  To that end: please note that “willfully refusing or failing to self-quarantine or complete the Travel Health Form truthfully and accurately shall be subject to a civic penalty of up to one thousand dollars.”

As a student traveling from any state impacted by the travel advisory, you are required to participate in the self-quarantine regardless of whether you are residing on or off campus.  As a reminder, upon coming to Connecticut, you are required to complete an on-line travel health form within 24-hours of arrival.  You can find that form at ct.gov/travelform

Now, more than ever, we are reminded of the potential harm poor choices can have upon ourselves and others.  As such, I remind you that your behavior is subject to the Code whether you live on or off campus.  Our enforcement of the Code’s description of endangering behavior is particularly relevant now and will be enforced by the University with mindfulness towards the unique health and safety implications during this pandemic.

The Student Code is available at www.community.uconn.edu.  It is expected that you will familiarize yourself with this document.

All students living in on-campus housing, whether on the Storrs or Stamford campus, will be required to follow the temporary health and safety procedures distributed to students earlier this summer and available on the Residential Life website.  Failure to do so will result in disciplinary action including removal from housing.

Being a college or university student is both challenging and exciting.  I think it is important to always remind you that you are never alone in facing – and conquering- those challenges. There are no perfect students at UConn.  The uniqueness of this community is found in how we support one another and ask for help when we need it.

Please make use of the extraordinary staff found in your school’s Academic Advising, Residential Life, Counseling, Student Health, and the Dean of Students office.  Areas like Residential Life, Student Health and Wellness Services and University Police offer 24/7 coverage during the academic year and are available whenever you need them.

My colleagues and I believe in all of you and the enormous potential you have in leading and transforming the future as UConn alumni.   Please let us know whenever you need us.

Best,

Eleanor JB Daugherty, EdD
Associate Vice President and Dean of Students

UConn’s Services for Students, Outreach Activities and Other Information Regarding Coronavirus

To the University Community:

We write today to update the UConn community with information related to coronavirus, now known as Covid-19, which has dramatically impacted many aspects of life and business worldwide.

The virus emerged at a very difficult time when many UConn students and scholars were home for winter vacation in China, where the outbreak has been centered. Some UConn students and scholars have faced a delayed return to campus for the new semester, and are understandably worried about family and loved ones at home.

UConn Nation is one caring and united community. We empathize with all of our community members who have been personally impacted by Covid-19, and we are here to support them.

While we understand that many people may fear for their health and that of their loved ones, we urge you to join us by advocating against hurtful, hateful and insensitive behaviors that are not appropriate in this global health crisis and contradict our values. There is no place for those behaviors on our campuses.

Many UConn students have inquired about what they can do to help. In addition to providing a welcoming environment for your peers, we encourage interested student organizations to work with UConn Community Outreach on relief and fundraising efforts.

We also believe it is important to recognize the efforts of various offices who have gathered information and conducted outreach activities related to the virus.

UConn Student Health and Wellness has created a coronavirus webpage and offers a phone hotline to provide the latest information on the virus. It has provided free individual health screenings to students who recently traveled to China, and has been diligently following federal and state guidelines for managing risk related to the virus.

UConn International Student and Scholar Services has worked to identify international students who are most at risk of being impacted by mobility restrictions caused by the virus. That office has also worked with campus partners to provide options and support for students and scholars who were unable to return from China for spring semester, and to guide students who returned late due to travel delays. In addition, it has worked with the Chinese Consulate in New York to identify resources for Chinese citizens in need due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

The Office of the Provost has also collaborated with deans and faculty members to offer support for students who were delayed in their efforts to begin their spring semester classes.

The University is preparing options for students who do not wish to travel outside the U.S. during the summer. We are working to ensure a productive and relaxing summer for these students, including opportunities for them to participate in dynamic courses and enrichment experiences. Once these options are available, we will announce them.

Please note, there have been no known cases of Covid-19 at the University of Connecticut or within the state of Connecticut. Students, staff and faculty who have recently returned from China should already be past the two-week quarantine period. As of Feb. 14, 2020, there are no UConn Storrs students who are in the 14-day coronavirus monitoring period.

We remind students to take precautions to stay healthy as we move into peak flu season, including by getting your flu vaccination if you have not already done so, washing hands frequently, and staying home if you are ill. With spring around the corner, we hope that the severe impacts of this virus are behind us.

Please let us know if there is anything we can do to further support you.

--

Nathan Fuerst

Vice President for Enrollment Planning and Management

Michael Gilbert

Vice President for Student Affairs

Daniel Weiner

Vice President for Global Affairs

Tragic Loss in Our UConn Community

Dear Students,

Over the course of the last several hours, our community has learned about a tragic incident on the Storrs campus. UConn student Tianyin Shang was discovered yesterday in the area of Mirror Lake by UConn Police. Her condition was grave and despite every effort to revive her, she did not survive and was pronounced dead at Windham Hospital on Monday afternoon.

A loss in our community like this is impossible to comprehend. Last night, my colleagues and I spent time with her friends and we will continue to reach out to those who knew Tianyin best.  I have learned that Tianyin, or Skyine as she was known to her friends, was proud of her Chinese heritage, excelled in math, was a friend to many in her residential community, and a rising star on the UConn Western Equestrian Team.

She is deeply missed, and many are struggling to understand her death. During the course of the next few days, we will remember, we will grieve and we will seek to cherish her contributions to our lives. The University has been in contact with her family and will provide all our support during this difficult time.

Her loss touches all of us in different ways.  Our grief for Tianyin’s loss – no matter how well we knew her -- will impact us in a myriad of ways.  Please know that the University is here for you:

  • Student Health and Wellness – Mental Health:  Mental Health Services is available to provide support to the Storrs student community at this time of loss.  Mental Health Services is located on the 4th floor of Arjona and their website lists information regarding their hours of service. Additionally on their website, you will find information on managing grief and loss.
  • On Call: A Counselor-on-Call and crisis information is available to you, all day, every day.  The Counselor on Call is available after hours by calling 860-486-4705.
  • Residential Life: The Residential Life staff team are available 24/7 to support members of the University residential population in need of support.  They can be contacted at 860-486-2926, or through the Resident Assistants on duty.
  • Dean of Students: The Dean of Students Office located on the 2nd floor of Wilbur Cross is available to assist students struggling with the loss of their classmate. You may make an appointment by calling 860-486-3426 or stop in to meet with a staff member during business hours, Monday – Friday from 8:00am-5:00pm. Staff in the Dean of Students Office are available to help you connect with support services as needed.
  • Student Care Team: If you are concerned about the well-being of a community member, call 911.  If it is not an emergency please complete a referral for the Student Care team.

Please take time to care for yourself and your fellow students during this difficult time. As a community we will support one another. I am continually touched by the students, faculty, staff, and organizations, like Active Minds, that seek to support each other.  I am grateful to be among such a community of compassionate Huskies.  Please, ask for help.  We’re here.

Yours,

Eleanor JB Daugherty
Associate Vice President of Student Affairs/Dean of Students

Spring 2020 Winter Welcome

Dear Students,

Happy New Year! We look forward to your return to campus.

As you pack, make sure your cold weather attire includes lined coats, mittens, hats, extra blankets and waterproof boots.  For those of you with cars, emergency supplies such as a flashlight, batteries, ice scraper and traction sand are important.  Water and non-perishable food will also be important to keep available for when you cannot easily leave your residence. If you are not feeling well or need a flu vaccine, please contact Student Health and Wellness.

When there are severe weather conditions, keep in mind that the campus is an enormous physical plant and our resources are prioritized when clearing snow.  Your safety is our top concern and we encourage you to monitor emergency messages on our campus Alert site at alert.uconn.edu and the Winter Storm Guide.   Please also be mindful of campus policies if you need to miss a class.  For those who rely on public transportation to get to and from campus, please stay aware of any transportation changes.

Facilities Operations is a department focused on keeping our buildings and grounds clear and safe during severe weather.  This department is available 24/7 to respond to emergencies and has a downloadable mobile app for requesting on campus work orders.  The workers you have come to know inside the buildings help with storm related issues outside.  Please be cognizant of them operating equipment, and recognize certain service levels may not be reached during inclement weather.

During severe weather, the clearing of snow is prioritized to focus immediately on:

  • Access for emergency vehicles (fire, police, and EMT)
  • Student access to critical areas like Student Health and Wellness and the Dining Halls
  • Emergency building repairs

Once the above priorities have been satisfied, Facilities Operations and Building Services will then work to clear roads and enable access for:

  • Transportation (i.e. UConn buses)
  • Access to academic buildings for classes
  • Waste Management
  • Parking Lots

We share this with you to stress that your health and safety are the University’s top priority.  It also means that some campus comforts may be delayed while we focus on making sure we provide for emergency services on campus.  During those times, it is important to stay safe, limit your activity outside, and follow the direction of University staff.  Any unsafe conditions on the UConn grounds should be reported to Facilities Operations and Building Services using the mobile app found on the MyUConn app or by calling 860-486-3113.

UConn is prepared to offer minimal disruption to classes and the functioning of the University.  It takes scores of individuals to keep the campus accessible and safe, and I know you will join me in appreciating their dedication to UConn students, staff and faculty.

Best,

Eleanor JB Daugherty

Associate Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students

Michael Jednak

Associate Vice President for Facilities Operations and Building Services

P.S.  Membership in the Dean of Students Advisory Group remains open to the student body.  The next meeting is February 11.  If you are interested in joining, please email Cathy Downs at catherine.downs@uconn.edu. All are welcome!