Protecting Our Community: Starting the Semester Safely and Strong
Dear Morgan Community,
I am writing to provide an update on vaccinations, University safety protocols, and compliance expectations as we prepare to begin fall classes, starting on Monday, August 23, 2021. For nearly 18 months, our campus has been shuttered as COVID-19 ravaged our city, state, nation, and world.
In the wake of many tough decisions that have been made along the way, including mandating vaccinations for everyone here at Morgan, we have finally reopened our campus. And for those few among us who were granted medical and religious exemptions, these exacting but necessary measures, including requiring a rigorous testing cadence of twice per week for all unvaccinated individuals, are all to safeguard our campus community.
Where are we today?
We are operating under a vaccine mandate. As a result, I am pleased to share that our most recent data indicate approximately 95% of the students living in University-managed housing are vaccinated with the remaining having an approved exemption. The same mandate also applies to students not living in University housing and the Division of Student Affairs will be monitoring and tracking student compliance and determining, based on our policies, any necessary follow-up actions.
Likewise, 75% of all full-time faculty and staff have been fully vaccinated. For those who have not yet documented their vaccination stats, HR has issued the following guidelines for staff and faculty to follow which can be accessed online here.
For our remaining colleagues who have not yet completed the vaccination documentation, your immediate compliance is expected. Unless you have an approved exemption, you will need to be vaccinated and/or have submitted the proper documentation for verification by no later than September 17, 2021. Failure to comply can result in progressive disciplinary actions.
With regard to our students who are not compliant with our University’s vaccination documentation mandate (or exemption request) you will be referred to the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities (SRR) for the appropriate disciplinary action. All students who have not uploaded vaccination documentation for verification, please do so immediately here.
Remember, we do all this in service to the health and well-being of our community. The most important message that we can convey is simply, vaccines work. The risk to the vaccinated is small – whether to be infected or to infect others. Masking is the second layer of effective protection to help reduce that risk. It is the unvaccinated who are most at risk, which is why we have put in place a vaccine mandate.
Allow me to express my profound appreciation to the overwhelming majority of our students, faculty, and staff who have taken the precautions and become vaccinated, thus reducing the likelihood of community spread on our campus.
What will classrooms look like?
All individuals are required to wear masks or face coverings while indoors, in compliance with our local health ordinance requiring indoor masks, regardless of vaccination status. This means that all students in classrooms are required to wear a mask, as well as all faculty and staff while indoors as well, whether in shared office settings or classrooms.
Any student who fails to comply with our University’s indoor mask practice and appears in a classroom setting without a mask will be asked to leave. Further violation will result in progressive discipline, including referral to SRR or campus public safety authorities (if warranted). Masks will be available for distribution at all security desk locations to accommodate those in need of a facial covering.
For those faculty, staff, and students who have received exemptions, they MUST comply with the COVID-19 protocols of the University. Testing protocols may be found online here. Simply put, individuals with exemptions are required to be tested twice per week with no exceptions.
Online and Remote Classes: Morgan Flex
Approximately 800 course sections are being offered online or through Morgan Flex. I urge you to check the course schedule to make sure you know which classes are being offered in one of these modalities. We are currently planning for the majority of classes—particularly those upper-division, laboratory-based, and highly technical classes—to be offered face-to-face at this time. To learn more about remote options and Morgan Flex for this fall, click here.
Visitors to Campus Must Wear Masks
Morgan is requiring all visitors to the campus to wear a mask. This includes contractors who are working in confined spaces, as well as guests who are coming to the campus for any events. As a campus community, we are fully embracing the wearing of masks and urge all our guests to do the same while within in-door spaces on our campus.
Finally, should the University see breakthrough infections amongst the vaccinated or those unvaccinated individuals who have received exemptions, those individuals must follow appropriate protocols, including isolation, per CDC guidelines. Please visit our COVID-19 dedicated page on the University’s website for more information surrounding our protocols and vaccination compliance measures as this page reflects the latest updates.
I fully recognize that the last 18 months have been a very challenging and traumatic period for so many of us—the pandemic has had a lasting impact. Despite this, I know that we are more than ready to reclaim what COVID had rather abruptly taken away. I am reminded of this during my walks across campus. I can feel the excitement permeate the air as the anticipation percolates. Students, faculty, and staff collectively are most certainly abuzz as we stride toward reuniting under our great Morgan family tent. We cannot cede this positive energy and momentum but rather safeguard it and maximize its potential. Keeping our campus community safe is paramount and encouraging compliance with the protocols and procedures that we have put in place is our first step in achieving that goal.
Please let me know if you have any questions. Either I, or a member of our leadership team, will address them expeditiously. Let us move forward, together as one Morgan family, and have a terrific fall semester, understanding that during a pandemic the best-laid plans are always subject to being modified or rethought. After all, COVID and its variants—Delta and Lambda, particularly—continue to keep us nimble and receptive to the latest developments, and always prepared to adjust accordingly.
Stay positive. Channel the excitement. Have a wonderful fall semester at The National Treasure! #ReuniteRespectRenew