Preparing for a successful spring
Dear colleagues and friends,
Happy New Year! I hope you enjoyed your time with loved ones and friends over the winter break and that you were able to get some well-deserved rest.
We are beginning 2022 much like we began 2021, with the continuation of the COVID-19 pandemic and a new variant of the virus. While this is not what we hoped for, we are well-prepared to once again navigate the challenges ahead. For more than 20 months, we have mitigated the spread of the virus within our campus community while offering a robust and engaging experience for our students. I firmly believe we can do so again this year, and we are committed to remaining open for on-campus learning and activities for our students.
Recent studies suggest that the Omicron variant is more easily transmissible yet less severe than the previous Delta variant, and also that vaccinations and boosters offer strong protection from serious illness and hospitalization. We know this means we will likely see an increase in cases on our campus this semester, but we also know that a high percentage of our faculty, staff and students are vaccinated and are choosing to receive the booster as well.
We will continue to offer free vaccines and boosters on campus, and we will continue to strongly encourage every member of our community to be fully vaccinated. We will hold clinics in Finch Fieldhouse Jan. 7 and 28, as well as Feb. 25, to make it as easy as possible for everyone to receive vaccines and boosters. Individuals who do not choose to be vaccinated will be required to test weekly, allowing us to track the presence of the virus on our campus and to move swiftly to address new cases.
On-campus testing is free and available to every member of our campus community including fully vaccinated individuals. I encourage everyone, regardless of vaccination status, to be tested weekly for the first two weeks of this semester.
Our shared responsibility
As has been the case for CMU throughout the pandemic, the health and wellness of our community rely on each of us choosing to do the right thing each and every day to protect ourselves and others. This means being vaccinated or tested weekly, wearing a mask, using the daily health screening app, and practicing good personal hygiene, such as handwashing and covering coughs and sneezes.
University leaders will continue to monitor trends in the virus carefully and keep abreast of the latest research and guidance from health officials. We will make decisions to protect the health and safety of our community while allowing us to continue our vital educational mission, and we will keep you well-informed of any necessary changes. Please check your email regularly and carefully review new information!
Coping with stress
This prolonged pandemic impacts each of us differently, but we all are affected by it in some way. Some of us manage stress easily, others may be feeling overwhelmed. You may even feel anxious or fearful — these are all valid, understandable emotions. There are many resources to help you manage stress and avoid burnout. Faculty and staff can take advantage of resources offered through the Employee Assistance Program, including mental and physical wellness programs.
We also can improve our mental health and well-being by practicing kindness. We are known as a community that lifts each other up. We can demonstrate our compassion for our colleagues and friends each day by practicing patience, offering a listening ear or a shoulder to lean on, and demonstrating support during challenging times.
We are ready to succeed
The phrasing is trite, but the meaning is not: We are all in this together. The path ahead will hold obstacles and frustrations for us all, but together we can overcome them. As we did in 2020 and 2021, we will address our challenges openly, adapt as necessary to continue our vital work, and serve our students to the best of our ability.
I am excited for the opportunity to work alongside you to make 2022 an outstanding year at CMU. Thank you for your dedication, passion and partnership.
Bob Davies, Ph.D.
Central Michigan University