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Important Message from Provost Regarding Safety Standards

Updated February 1, 2021

Dear Faculty Colleagues,

Thanks to each and every one of you, Western New England University reopened last week and is poised to deliver high-quality learning experiences for our students!  I cannot tell you how grateful I am that you have chosen to ply your trade at this great institution -- now in its second century -- and how proud I am that you adjusted your teaching methods under really difficult circumstances last semester continuing into this term.  Indeed, you have proven to be adaptable and resilient in delivering a top-quality education!

Still, as an institution we are confronted by the urgent challenge of maintaining a safe and healthy campus community through the remainder of the term.  Observations and reports indicate that we are not strictly adhering to the well-established public health protocols and University policies across the board.  For example, people have not uniformly heeded entrance- and exit-only classroom building designations, nor have they consistently respected the directional arrows up and down staircases and through the hallways.  There has been reporting that people – students and faculty – have pulled down their masks in class to take a drink of water despite the prohibition against eating/drinking during class sessions.  In addition, some people have been careless about keeping their masks above their nose, while others neglect to physically distance themselves outside of the classroom.  In a pandemic and especially in a phase of new virulent strains, it is not good enough to comply some or even most of the time; we must take a zero-tolerance approach and be at the top of our game 100% of the time.  

Call to action:  I ask that you redouble your own efforts in this regard and urge your students to resist the temptation to congregate, both on and off campus, and to confine their geographic footprint to the greatest extent possible.  In addition, people need to be reminded how to properly wear their mask, of the importance of washing hands frequently, of reporting to Health Services when notified for testing, and of never attending an in-person class when feeling sick.  As a faculty member, you have the biggest megaphone in the classroom in addition to the power of persuasion and influence with your students.  To a person we must take this Covid-19 threat seriously because we are all susceptible and community spread is a real and imminent threat.  In addition, some within our community are immunocompromised while others are deathly afraid of transmitting the virus to their loved ones at home.  Remember that we are all in this together and as we demonstrated last fall, it will take the entire University community being on the same page to see our way safely through to the end of the semester.

Thank you in advance for answering this call!

Kind regards,

Curt Hamakawa
Interim Provost & Vice President for Academic Affairs