Wilkes University

Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Dear Members of the Campus Community,

I write to you today in awe of our collective success keeping our campus community safe during one of the most challenging health situations of our time. As you know, creating a safe environment has required us all to make tremendous sacrifices. As scientists and medical experts raced to deploy new and existing discoveries to introduce effective vaccines, we were required to significantly change the way we live, learn, work and interact with others. We now know that the only way to truly combat COVID-19 is through mass vaccinations, particularly as new and concerning variants become the dominant strains.

As the global health situation has evolved, so too have our campus protocols. I am writing to share new University requirements that will allow us to enjoy the experiences, connections and activities that make Wilkes a special place.

Starting this fall, the University will require all students, faculty and staff to report their COVID-19 vaccination status. This policy applies to any students (undergraduate and graduate), faculty or staff members who will be on campus for any period of time after Friday, Aug. 6. Proof of vaccination must be uploaded to our online form. Those electing to submit a formal exemption from the vaccine for health reasons or religious or personal beliefs must complete the vaccine waiver form.

Proof of your vaccination, or the waiver form, is due three days before you return to campus. If you are partially vaccinated, but will be fully vaccinated by the time you return to campus, please upload your vaccination card within three days of your return.

This decision was informed by a series of discussions with key University stakeholders, including members of our COVID-19 task force and daily response team, students, faculty and staff.

Please take note of additional changes to campus protocols:
  • Unvaccinated individuals will be required to present the results of a COVID-19 test taken no earlier than 72 hours before their return to campus for the fall 2021 semester. If you have had COVID-19 within 90 days of your return to campus, proof of your positive test result is also acceptable.
  • Unvaccinated members of the campus community will be required to participate in routine, scheduled assurance testing. We anticipate testing unvaccinated individuals every two to three weeks.
  • Individuals who submit a vaccination exemption waiver will be required to quarantine when exposed to the virus. Anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 will be required to isolate, whether or not they are vaccinated.
  • Visitor restrictions in residence halls will be lifted, allowing family, friends and fellow Wilkes students to visit our residential students.
  • At this point, student-athletes will be asked to follow these reporting guidelines; however, we anticipate additional guidance from the NCAA in the coming weeks. More information will be shared at that time.
  • As I shared with you last week, the mask requirement has been lifted for both indoor and outdoor locations. Unvaccinated and partially vaccinated individuals are asked to continue wearing masks in an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19.

It is important to note that members of our community who are returning to campus partially vaccinated will also need to participate in these protocols until they are fully vaccinated. Fully vaccinated means that two weeks have passed since your final dose of the vaccine. As a reminder, Pfizer and Moderna require two doses. Johnson & Johnson/Janssen requires one dose.

As a higher education institution, we choose to trust and follow the science that asserts the effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccine. If you are eligible to be vaccinated, we strongly encourage you to take the steps necessary to protect yourself and those with medical vulnerabilities who cannot be vaccinated.

If you have already been vaccinated but have not provided the University with a copy of your vaccine card, please do so via our online submission form. An FAQ page, which may answer some of your questions, is also available. If you have specific questions, please email covidupdate@wilkes.edu. Our Colonels Combat COVID-19 guidebook and related web pages will also be updated in the weeks ahead. The positivity, flexibility and kindness of this community provides me with hope each and every day. Widespread availability of the vaccine and actions that display a concern for others will allow us to turn the corner to a more vibrant, traditional Wilkes experience. Let’s continue to work together in support of each other and a shared normalcy.

Sincerely,

Dr. Greg Cant
President