Dear Members of the Campus Community,
Our periodic Friday updates are devoted to addressing our pandemic-related response. This week, I am deeply saddened that I must open this one by acknowledging and condemning the horrific act of violence that occurred earlier this week in Georgia, resulting in the death of eight people, six of whom were Asian women.
The Asian American Pacific Islander community continues to endure racist bigotry and attacks associated with the pandemic, fueled by hateful rhetoric from prominent voices in our country and the continued escalation of gun violence, racial and religious discrimination, mental illness, and other life-and-death issues that we as a nation are called to address if we are to end the tragic cycle of mass shootings, violence, and harm inflicted upon our fellow human beings.
A virtual campus vigil to mourn the loss of life and support the Asian American Pacific Islander community will be held Tuesday, March 23, at 5 p.m. All are invited to attend. For additional support, please remember that Counseling, Health, and Wellness Services offers same and next day appointments that students can schedule every weekday. Resources are also available for faculty and staff members through our Employee Assistance Program.
Please see below for important information related to Puget Sound’s pandemic response as we work through this challenging time together.
Town Hall Meetings
Please mark your calendars for a series of town hall meetings focusing on pandemic-related issues of concern for various members of our community, including Commencement, vaccine availability, and what we anticipate in terms of campus operations for summer and fall.
Vaccines and COVID-19 Testing
Some students, faculty, and staff members may be eligible and beginning to receive the vaccine for COVID-19 according to Washington state guidelines. Please note that those who have received the vaccine still must adhere to all the COVID-19 health protocols and expectations on campus, and continue participating in the required asymptomatic testing program.
CHWS has received authorization to provide vaccinations to eligible individuals within the campus community at the appropriate time. However, we don’t yet know which vaccine we may receive, or when it will be available. Additionally, the university will make space available for the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department to use as a mass vaccination event site for the broader community if needed. We will continue to keep you updated, and expect to have additional information before the end of the month.
Spectators at Athletic Events
Consistent with state, local, and Northwest Conference rules, we have not yet been able to have spectators at our athletics events this semester. I am meeting with the Northwest Conference Presidents’ Council next week to discuss a proposal that would allow very limited attendance for spectators at outdoor athletic events in April, including baseball, softball, and lacrosse. Any decision must also be in accordance with local and state requirements. More information will be forthcoming from Athletics if a decision is reached that approves any change.
Commencement and End-of-Semester Activities
Many across campus are working hard to prepare for in-person commencement ceremonies for last year’s and this year’s graduating classes, as well as incorporating hooding of our graduate students into the ceremonies. Making these special events possible relies on our continued diligence as a campus community in following public health guidelines, as well as permission from Washington state. Look for more information on Commencement shortly after April 1.
Meanwhile, please note that in order to safely support the ceremonies and move-out weekend, we will not be able to allow any other in-person events the weekend of May 14–16. Our interim policy on campus events remains in place, and departmental and other events must remain virtual throughout the remainder of the semester, with the exception of a very small number of activities for which accommodations have been made, including senior music recitals and the senior art show. The restrictions on in-person gatherings includes all events that are sponsored by or affiliated with the university, whether on or off campus.
Thank you for everything you are doing to minimize the impact of the virus on our campus, and keep yourselves and one another healthy. We got this, Loggers!
Isiaah Crawford, Ph.D. | President