As you know, winter term classes will return to their originally scheduled formats on Monday, January 31, and we expect the rest of the term will resemble the experience of fall term before Thanksgiving. While a few undergraduate and graduate courses were originally scheduled and will continue to be held in a virtual or hybrid format, for most students, this means a return to in-person instruction on Monday. I am excited to see you back on campus, but I want to recognize that many members of our community are concerned about returning in person next week.
The university’s decision to return to primarily in person instruction is based on data indicating that the recent surge in Omicron infections is receding. This does not mean that the pandemic is over and there is no risk of transmission, which is why we continue to have several measures in place to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. These measures include: requiring vaccinations for all students, faculty, and staff; entry testing for all students who will be physically on campus; regular testing for residential students; a Face Covering Policy; and the required daily Safe Start Heath Check, which helps us to identify and isolate cases as quickly as possible. In addition, if you have a specific disability-related concern as we return to in-person instruction, please contact Disability Services to discuss what accommodations might be available to you.
Should you experience symptoms of COVID-19 or come into close contact with someone who tested positive, please get tested as soon as possible and notify your faculty members if you need to miss class, and campus job supervisors if you work on-campus. Your faculty will advise you on how best to engage in the coursework while you are absent. If you test positive, please report your test result to email@example.com. Learn more about public health guidance for symptoms, isolation and quarantine here: https://www.seattleu.edu/coronavirus/testing-guidance/.
Please also understand that faculty may sporadically pivot a class session to virtual or make other temporary changes due to COVID and students should continue to be flexible in those situations.
As we return to campus next week, I am grateful for your continued commitment to each other and for acknowledging the varying levels of comfort with this transition. You can help ease our transition back to an in-person experience by remembering our community’s responsibilities related to disease prevention. As a reminder, compliance with these policies is required per section 2.33 of the Code of Student Conduct:
Mental Health Resources
If you have experienced increased stress, symptoms of anxiety or depression, or other mental health-related concerns, you are not alone. I highly encourage you to check out the mental health resources available through Wellness & Health Promotion and Counseling & Psychological Services. If you are concerned about a friend or would like to request non-emergency support for yourself, you can also submit a referral to the university’s CARE Team using this referral form.
I recognize that these last two years have been exceptionally challenging for students, faculty, and staff, and that there is much uncertainty about how these next few months will unfold. I’m also grateful for your commitment to each other’s health and wellbeing as we continue to manage these difficult circumstances. If you have any questions, I invite you to contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
James Willette, Ph.D.
Written by James Willette, Ph.D.
January 27, 2022