Friday Update: Vaccines and Town Hall Meetings

Dear Members of the Campus Community,

As we enter the home stretch of the spring semester, I write to emphasize some key elements related to our collective response to the pandemic—beginning with appreciation for your tremendous effort to adhere to public health guidelines and keep the occurrence of the virus low on campus. You can find the latest information on the COVID-19 dashboard on our website.

In the face of what is developing as a “fourth wave” of transmission, it is absolutely essential that we continue to adhere to testing and public health guidelines.

Getting Vaccinated on Campus

  • We have been approved to administer vaccines to students, faculty and staff members through Counseling, Health and Wellness Services (CHWS), according to the eligibility guidelines provided by Washington state.
  • As of April 15, all persons ages 16 and over in Washington state will be able to register for a vaccination.  This includes students and others whose primary residence may be in another state.
  • On April 5, CHWS will be able to place an order for the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, which requires a single vaccination. It may take 10 days to receive confirmation of this order and when we can expect to receive the vaccine.
  • We expect to be able to administer the vaccine during several full-day mass vaccination events on campus in April and May, with the majority occurring before the end of the semester. Information on how to register to receive a vaccination through CHWS will be available after we receive confirmation of our order.
  • In addition to administering the vaccine through CHWS, the campus will serve as a Pierce County mass vaccination site on selected dates. We do not know which vaccine will be available at these events, which are expected to begin no earlier than mid-May.

Getting Vaccinated Off Campus
Vaccine availability in Pierce County has increased significantly. While we wait for the arrival of the vaccine on campus, please avail yourselves of the opportunity to sign up for vaccination through nearby pharmacies, health care offices, and mass vaccination sites in our area. More information is available on the Washington State vaccine locator website.

Campus MultiCare Clinic
I hope you saw the announcement last month that MultiCare is operating a respiratory clinic on campus to augment our efforts in serving our community’s health care needs. The clinic is available by appointment to students, faculty and staff members, as well as the local community.

Town Hall Meetings
Please mark your calendars for a series of town hall meetings focusing on pandemic-related matters, including Commencement, vaccine availability, and what we anticipate in terms of campus operations for summer and fall. Zoom meeting links are available on the Puget Sound website (pugetsound.edu/internal).

  • Town Hall Meeting for Faculty: Tuesday, April 6, 12:30–1:30 p.m.
  • Town Hall Meeting for Staff: Thursday, April 8, 12:30–1:30 p.m.
  • Town Hall Meeting for Students and Families: Monday, April 12, 5–6:30 p.m.

Spring Events on Campus

  • Athletics. Athletic competition is continuing in adherence to strict health and safety guidelines put in place by the NCAA, the Northwest Conference, and Washington state public health officials, allowing our student athletes—especially our graduating seniors—to continue to benefit from this important part of their Puget Sound experience. Information is expected to be shared in the coming days regarding the Northwest Conference’s recommendations concerning allowing a very limited number of spectators at some outdoor competition. More information about the procedures that our athletes are following is available on the athletics website.
  • Commencement. Look for an announcement from the Commencement planning committee early next week with detailed information on our plans to move forward with ceremonies for those graduating in 2021, as well as those who graduated in 2020.
  • End-of-semester events. 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 approved by the provost and area vice presidents in accordance with policy and for which detailed plans and protocols are in place, including senior music recitals and the senior art show. The restrictions on in-person gatherings includes all events and activities that are sponsored by or affiliated with the university, whether on or off campus.

It is tempting to ease up on adhering to COVID-19 health and safety guidelines now that the vaccines are more widely available and the days are warmer and longer. Please remember that the virus is on the rise again, especially among younger people who have not yet had the opportunity to be vaccinated. We must continue to be vigilant over the coming weeks in order to keep our community safe and have a successful commencement for our undergraduate and graduate students next month. Let’s stick with it!

Thank you for everything you are doing to keep yourselves and others healthy.

Sincerely,

Isiaah
Isiaah Crawford, Ph.D. | President