From the President, re: Transitioning Back to Campus

June 22, 2021

Dear Colleagues:

Summer is upon us and our Orientation sessions for new students are proceeding in person as we begin our preparations for the fall semester. As you transition back to working on campus, I encourage you to get out and about on a NSO day; they offer a vibrant reminder of the campus life we have missed over the last 15 months.

As we look ahead to the fall, I want to share with you what we know to date. Many of the health and safety restrictions that we now have in place will be lifted for vaccinated individuals. Masking and social distancing will not be required and distancing in the classroom will be three feet between desks, not six. Unvaccinated individuals will still be subject to masking and distancing requirements, along with the potential for random testing throughout the semester.

The CSCU Board of Regents is expected to decide this week on whether all students will be required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 before they arrive on campus.

With this in mind, employees are strongly encouraged to get vaccinated to keep yourselves, your families, and your coworkers as safe as possible when you fully return to campus. For information on COVID-19 vaccination and how to make an appointment, please visit the CT COVID-19 Vaccine Portal at: https://portal.ct.gov/Vaccine-Portal .

As you know, Aug. 2 is the date when staff are expected to return to their on-campus work stations on a full-time basis. While discussions are ongoing between the state and the various bargaining units about the continuation of limited telework on a transitional basis, it is important that we are ready to personally engage with and assist our students as they return to on-campus learning and living.

During the coming days, I ask that you speak with your supervisor about what you will need to make a successful transition back to campus and how you are planning to do so. If you have equipment at home, please contact IT soon about reinstalling it in your campus office.

As was the case during the past academic year, employees seeking a medical waiver to remain working remotely should contact Human Resources. Please direct any such requests to Jennifer Napiello at: napielloj1@southernct.edu

For some of us, particularly those who have been away for a long time, the transition to campus may feel awkward as we acclimate to a new way of working. But we now have a great opportunity to take the lessons we have learned during the pandemic and apply them in helpful, creative ways in an in-person, team-based environment. So please take the opportunity to catch up with your colleagues and reestablish the sense of connection and community that distinguishes us at Southern.

I hope that you are enjoying your summer and taking the opportunity to rest and revitalize after a long, challenging year. And, I look forward to welcoming everyone back to campus as we work together to prepare for a successful and rewarding fall semester.

Sincerely,

Joe Bertolino
President