Fall 2020 Communication to Students

November 19, 2020: Results of Exit Testing

Dear Huskies,

Over the past five days, nearly 7000 students have exit-tested for COVID-19.  Through these actions, I see the caring individuals that you are and I thank you for your commitment to each other and a healthy return home to those you love.

Now that most of those exit test results are in, I want to share with you what I know:

Graph showing COVID-19 positivity rates for State of Connecticut, National, On-Campus Population, and Off-Campus Population

Our off-campus positive testing results reached a high of 40 yesterday.  Our on-campus testing results have not seen a similar increase.  These results validate the concern repeatedly expressed by Governor Lamont and Dr. Deborah Birx, White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator, about an increase of COVID-19 cases in the country.  I share that concern.

As a result, some UConn students will need to spend the holiday in isolation or quarantine.  SHaW has worked directly with those students who require our care to provide for their continued medical needs.  For all of us, this is a stern reminder of this seriousness of COVID and the spread of this virus as we enter the ninth month of the pandemic.

Our off-campus clusters continue to be the result of small off-campus gatherings that occurred during the nicer weather we experienced last week.  Those gatherings remind us of the risks we take when we come together and fail to take proven precautionary measures that reduce the chance of exposure to this virus, which has devastated us personally and as a world.  The choices we make –and the impact they have upon those we love- could not be more important now as we approach travel for the Thanksgiving holiday.

It is essential that I emphasize the caution expressed yesterday by Governor Lamont.  Specifically:

“The combination of rising cases across the country – including in the northeast – due to increased transmission of COVID in small, residential settings and Thanksgiving travel has created the perfect storm for viral spread. If people proceed with celebrations in small gatherings outside of their immediate families, they risk generating a dramatic spike in cases after Thanksgiving. All governors are urging their residents to stay home and celebrate small this year in an effort to help eliminate the risk of unchecked COVID-19 spread in the coming weeks.”

I strongly advise you to follow DPH holiday guidance and persist in your observation of precautionary measures like quarantining following extended travel, mask wearing, exit testing, hand washing, physical distancing, and refraining from attending gatherings –particularly those that are indoors.  As a reminder, a negative test reflects just one moment in time.  Your ability to become exposed and infected by COVID-19 can happen instantly. As a result, the Connecticut Department of Public Health advises that “it is very important for students to quarantine away from their families for 14 days before mingling or socializing with family members in their home environment.”  This is particularly relevant for our off-campus students who have not been impacted by the recent residential quarantine.

Some of you have been approved to remain on campus for medical or personal reasons.  We are here for you.  Dining will be available at McMahon as well as several retail locations.  Quarantined students will need to eat at McMahon during designated hours.  SHaW will continue to provide medical care and testing for those students.  Please be sure to respond to the messaging you receive from Residential Life and Student Health and Wellness.

A colleague of mine at UConn always reminds me, “one team, one fight.”  As a first responder who exemplifies our fight at UConn, he could not be more right.  The only way to do our best work right now, to fight the virus and keep our families safe, is to do it together.  This virus has entered our lives, uniting us in our fight to keep each other safe and well.  You, my friends, have fought hard for three months.  You have earned this break and time away. But we can’t stop fighting now.  There is too much we love at stake.

Be well.  Come back soon.  I’ll see you in January.

Yours in the fight,

 

Eleanor JB Daugherty, EdD

November 13, 2020: Quarantine and Exit Testing Information

11/13/20

 

Dear Resident:

As was communicated in an email that was sent this morning, all UConn Storrs on-campus residential students are currently in quarantine. The message explained that many students are in a modified quarantine while some are in residential quarantine and others are in a medical quarantine, which means they are under the direct supervision of the SHaW medical team.

This message has two purposes. To clarify which residential buildings are classified as in a residential quarantine meaning the students living in the buildings cannot attend classes in person. And second to share specific information about exit testing.

 

The following is a list of buildings currently in residential quarantine:

  • Alsop A
  • Batterson
  • Belden
  • Busby Suites
  • Fairfield
  • Litchfield
  • Middlesex
  • Russell
  • Tolland
  • Werth Tower

 

As was noted in the email this morning, residential students are expected to be COVID tested and to receive a negative result before leaving campus for the Thanksgiving and Winter Recesses.

 

To avoid a long wait at the testing center the schedule below has been developed.  If you are unable to get your test at the time listed below, please know that exit testing will also be available on Monday – November 16 – Wednesday November 18, from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm.

 

If you plan to leave for break before your building’s testing time, please come at an earlier time. Or if you miss your scheduled time you will still be accommodated.

 

Students who have been approved to remain on campus after Nov.20th should still be tested but can do this between November 16 and 18.

 

Students who have been COVID tested between Wednesday, Nov. 11 and Friday, Nov.13 do not need another test.

 

Students who have had a positive COVID test result during the fall semester need not be exit tested.

 

COVID Testing will be done at the Field House between 9:00 am and 5:00 each day from Saturday, Nov. 14 through Wednesday, Nov. 18

 

 

Testing Schedule:

Belden, Brock, Eddy, and Watson                             Saturday, Nov. 14, 10:00 – 11:00 am

Buckley N, Buckley S and Shippee                            Saturday, Nov. 14, 10:00 – 11:00 am

Busby Suites                                                                      Saturday, Nov. 14 11:00 -11:45 am

Charter Oak Apartments                                              Saturday, Nov. 14, 11:45 am - 12:30 pm

Holcomb, Whitney, Sprague, Hicks                          Saturday, Nov. 14, 12:30 – 1:25 pm

Garrigus Suites and Husky Village                            Saturday, Nov. 14, 1:15 – 2:00 pm

Hale, Ellsworth, and Spring Valley Farm                Saturday, Nov. 14, 2:00 – 3:00 pm

Hilltop Apartments (all buildings)                            Saturday, Nov. 14, 3:00 – 5:00 pm

 

McMahon N and McMahon S                                     Sunday, Nov. 15, 10:00 -10:45 am

North Campus (all buildings)                                      Sunday, Nov. 15, 10:45 am – 11:45 am

Northwest (all buildings)                                             Sunday, Nov. 15, 11:30 am – 12:45 pm

Northwood Apartments (all buildings)                  Sunday, Nov. 15, 12:45 – 1:15 pm

Rosebrooks, Snow, and Wilson                                 Sunday, Nov. 15, 1:15 – 2:30 pm

Towers (all buildings)                                                    Sunday, Nov. 15, 2:30 – 4:00 pm

Werth Tower                                                                     Sunday, Nov. 15, 4:00 – 5:00 pm

West (all buildings)                                                        Sunday, Nov. 15, 4:00 – 5:00 pm

 

Sincerely,


Residential Life and SHaW Staff

 

October 29, 2020: Halloween Weekend Reminders

August 20, 2020: Transitioning from Quarantine Phase 1 to Quarantine Phase 2

Friends and Huskies,

This is an important announcement.  We have accomplished something together.  Phase 1 of the residential quarantine is over.  We have received test results for our residential students and we are happy to share that less than 1% of our residential students tested positive for COVID-19.

This is a relief, yes, and a reminder to us all that as we proceed to Phase 2, we must always be vigilant of our actions and how they can help preserve the health and safety of our community.  We know you care so much for the ability to be here on campus and return to –perhaps begin!- college.  Let’s keep doing what we do- protecting our community and preserving the college experience.

Importantly: now is not the time to let our guard down or relax our precautions – just the opposite. You have returned to campus and moved-in. Each of you must remain vigilant, careful, and cautious about your health and the health of others. Continued masking and distancing is the easiest and most effective way to keep everyone healthy in the weeks to come.  Keep up your good work!

We want to take the time to review what Phase 2 means and remind you of important behaviors for the next few weeks.

The Residential Self-Quarantine will continue through August 30th.  During that time, it’s important to remember a few important items:

  • Mask wearing and physical distancing is critical to our success.
  • You are welcome to interact with your ‘family unit’ in interior common areas like hallways, common rooms, and lounges, but please remember to keep an appropriate distance and wear a mask whenever possible.
  • Starting August 20, you are able to engage in limited outdoor activities with your family unit. Please talk to your RA and check the UKindness site for activity.
  • The UConn Promise
  • No guests are allowed in the residence halls throughout the residential quarantine.

               

Please keep in mind that each of you agreed to the Temporary Health and Safety procedures to live on campus. These are in effect and will continue to be enforced for the entirety of the fall 2020 semester. Please visit for more information on phases and guidelines.

It is realistic to assume that some student may become ill with COVID-19 over the course of the semester.  As a Storrs residential student, you may be contacted by SHaW and required to be isolated or follow medical quarantine.  It important for your own care and the well-being of others that you follow the medical instructions of SHaW.

We are doing this together and we are so very thankful to all that you have done to get us to this place. Don’t stop now.  A special thanks to the Residential Life staff who have worked tirelessly to keep you safe and healthy.  Thank you.

Eleanor JB Daugherty, EdD                                                           Pamela Schipani, EdD

Associate Vice President for Student Affairs/                       Executive Director of Residential Life

Dean of Students

 

August 19, 2020: Health and Safety in Our Residential Community

Dear Residential Students,

Early this morning, several students were identified by Residential Life staff for an unapproved gathering in a residence hall room.  According to the report we reviewed this morning, students were not wearing masks, closely assembled, and endangering not only their own health and wellbeing, but that of others at a time when UConn is working to protect our community and resume classes in the context of a deadly global pandemic.

Today, these students are being issued interim actions and removed from housing while the University investigates the matter.

These actions do not represent or speak for the 5000 residents currently composing our residential community.  Our residential community has demonstrated an admirable commitment to follow universal precautions and keep our community safe.  In doing so, they have made considerable sacrifice.   We applaud and honor your actions during this quarantine.

As a reflection of that commitment, we need our students to know how sincere we are in insisting that our COVID-19 health and safety procedures as well as our quarantine procedures be followed.  We cannot afford the cost to the public health that is associated with inviting students into a room for a late night party. The vast majority of our students are doing the right thing – but every student needs to do the same.

Despite the circumstances, we are deeply grateful for the exceptional work of the Residential Life staff in building community and protecting health and safety.    As residents, we ask that you join them in this important task and not let the actions of the few endanger the health and safety of the many.

Be well.

Eleanor JB Daugherty, EdD
Associate Vice President and Dean of Students

 

Pamela Schipani, EdD
Executive Director of Residential Life

August 12, 2020: SHaW Medical Director Letter to Students

August 12, 2020

 

Dear UConn Students,

 

Student Health and Wellness (SHaW) is looking forward to welcoming you back to UConn this fall. As the Medical Director of SHaW, my team and I are focusing on the health and safety of all of the members of our community. We are now in the final stages of preparations for welcoming you back. This letter is intended to provide details to you and your family on the health and safety plans this fall.

 

SHaW- Medical Care has been closely monitoring updates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and has been working in collaboration with our local and state departments of public health regarding COVID-19 as we operationalize our plans to support our fall opening. As a result, we developed a multifaceted approach for how to monitor the health of our community. Below are some of the specifics which apply to both graduate and undergraduate students.

 

Testing Requirements:

 

Storrs Residential Students: All Storrs residential students will be tested for COVID-19 upon arrival to campus. SHaW will be set-up in the same location where you will be assigned for your Residential Life Move-In process. The COVID-19 test will be collected in coordination with your residential life check-in. You do not need to do anything separate from your residential move-in process. Arrival testing will be followed by a 14 day residential self-quarantine.

 

Stamford Residential Students:  All Stamford residential students will be tested for COVID-19 soon after arrival to campus.  UConn has arranged for on-site testing for August 18, 2020.  Stamford residential students will receive detailed instructions for how and when to obtain the test by August 14th.

 

Residential Self-Quarantine (August 14-30): Residential students on the Storrs campus, as well as all students arriving from a state on the CT Travel Advisory List, are required to self-quarantine for 14 days:

 

  • Students will electronically submit a daily symptom survey to SHaW – Medical Care.
  • Students will remain in their residence halls until they receive a negative test result for approximately 2-3 days.
  • Asymptomatic students will be allowed to leave their residence to pick up meals from designated dining halls.
  • Students will be allowed to engage in limited outdoor activities with other members of their designated family pods starting on August 20th.
  • No guests will be allowed in the residence halls during residential quarantine.

 

Students from states under the travel advisory:

  • Students have been directed to be tested within 14 days of travel.
    • Positive COVID-19 PCR test result – Do not travel to Connecticut until you receive medical release from isolation.
    • Negative COVID-19 PCR – 14 day self-quarantine after arrival to Connecticut.
      • A negative test does not change the self-quarantine requirement.
    • Residential students from states under the travel advisory will be tested again upon arrival and will be quarantined in separate residential housing for the 14 day residential quarantine period before moving into their previously assigned residential housing.
    • Off-campus students traveling to UConn for in-person learning from CT Travel Advisory states (CT Travel Advisory List) will need to participate in testing and surveillance processes as instructed by SHaW.  As a reminder, upon coming to Connecticut, you are required to complete an on-line travel health form within 24-hours of arrival.  You can find that form at gov/travelform.
    • One family member is permitted to assist a student during move in. Families traveling from states indicated on the CT travel advisory should spend less than 24 hours in CT. If overnight stays are necessary, families should have a test prior to arrival (per the “unable to quarantine” provision in the Advisory) and limit their activities to those required for moving students into their residential facilities, on or off campus.

 

Off-Campus and Commuter Students (Storrs and Regional Campuses): Off-campus and commuter students, both graduate and undergraduate, for all UConn campuses who are registered for in-person instruction or who will be regularly working or doing research on campus are required to submit verification of a COVID-19 negative test result prior to attending in person classes. This test must be collected within 14 days of the start of classes, which for most students the 14 day period begins on August 17th.

 

The university is making COVID-19 PCR testing available through a mail-in option at no cost. An email will be sent to this email address between August 13–16 with information on how to obtain testing through our partner, Vault Medical. Students may also obtain testing on their own at their own expense and upload the results through the SHaW Patient Portal.

 

Any student who tests test positive will need to submit a medical clearance from isolation form to SHaW prior to coming to campus.

 

UConn enforces Governor Lamont’s Executive Order 7III.  We will enforce the Governor’s Executive order and our Student Code of Conduct with mindfulness towards the unique health and safety implications of endangering behaviors to our campus community in the context of this pandemic.

 

Residential Student On-Going Testing (Surveillance Testing): In addition, as is required by Connecticut regulations, there will be weekly testing of selected students who are not symptomatic. Students will receive notifications when they need to obtain a COVID-19 test. The test will be provided by SHaW in the newly refitted field house testing site. Specific instructions for how and where to obtain that test will be sent to selected students each week. There will also be additional surveillance testing through environmental monitoring strategies, which may guide additional testing efforts.

 

Symptomatic Testing: Any student who experiences symptoms of COVID-19 should seek immediate medical evaluation and testing before engaging with the campus community. Use the CDC Self-Checker for a list of symptoms and to help you make decisions and seek appropriate medical care.

 

Additional Health and Safety Measures:

 

Self-Isolation: If you are diagnosed or presumed positive for COVID-19, you will be recommended to self-isolate at home. For those Storrs Campus residential students who cannot self-isolate at home, they will be placed in self-isolation in one of the dedicated reserved isolation spaces on campus. Individuals in self-isolation must remove themselves from face-to-face interactions with others until they are recovered. SHaW will provide daily telemedicine visits for Storrs students in isolation. Food will be delivered by UConn Dining Services for Storrs based residential students in isolation.

 

Contact Tracing and Close Contacts: The timely notification of close contacts of individuals diagnosed with COVID-19 is a crucial strategy in limiting the spread of disease on campus. Close contacts are defined as household members and anyone who was closer than 6 feet for longer than 15 minutes. Close contacts will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days following the last point of contact. Students in self-quarantine will be supported by SHaW-Medical Care or their local health departments.

 

Communication: All of these strategies rely on the SHaW Medical Care team being able to contact you. Notifications for on-going testing will be sent by text and email that will link to a secure message in your patient portal. SHaW will call you directly if you test positive for COVID-19 or have been identified as a “close contact.” SHaW will be here to support you in the event that either of those situations occur. Responding to our communications will help keep you and our community safe.

 

Any Storrs student who needs to transition to an online format due to being directed to self-isolate or self-quarantine should email the Dean of Students Office to request instructor notification. The Dean of Students will notify the instructors and work with the student to provide support when life circumstances are impacting their ability to focus on courses and/or their UConn experience.

 

Any Regional campus student who needs to transition to an online format due to being directed to self-isolate or self-quarantine should email the Student Services staff at their home campus to request instructor notification. The Students Services staff will notify the instructors and work with the student to provide support when life circumstances are impacting their ability to focus on courses and/or their UConn experience.

 

For more detailed information and additional questions, SHaW has provided FAQs on our website. SHaW also has created a resource page for Managing Mental Health during the pandemic.

 

The health of our campus fundamentally depends on our commitment to the behaviors that will continue to keep our community safe. In addition to the use of a deliberate testing strategy, physical distancing, the use of facemasks and face coverings along with regular hand washing are highly effective ways to reduce the transmission of COVID-19.

 

Best Regards,

 

 

Ellyssa Eror, MD

Medical Director, Student Health and Wellness

 

August 10, 2020: Community Expectations During Quarantine

Message sent to all resident students on August 10, 2020

Dear Student,

As you are preparing to move on campus, we want to clarify the community expectations during the quarantine period from August 14-30, 2020. The University continues to monitor the pandemic and adjusts the plans with a focus on student safety.

 

The objective of the 14 day self-quarantine for students in residential housing is to create a potential area of protection in a place where control measures such as social distancing and universal masking are not always possible. Limiting potential outside exposure to the SARS-CoV-2 protects everyone in the residential community

 

The following conditions of quarantine must be observed during the period of August 14-30 to ensure your ability to participate in classes on August 31.

 

Initial period of Quarantine - All students will be tested for COVID-19 upon arrival to campus prior to moving into their residential assignment. After moving in, students will remain in their residence halls until they receive a negative test result. We anticipate this will be for approximately 2-3 days. During this initial period of quarantine, students will be able to leave their residence halls to pick up meals from designated dining halls.

 

Students living in apartments on the Storrs and Stamford campuses, without access to a meal plan should arrive on campus with the necessary food and supplies for the initial quarantine period of 3 days. During this time, you will be expected to remain in your apartment and not travel to get food.

 

Throughout the initial phase of quarantine, there will be virtual engagement opportunities for students. Information about some of these opportunities are included at the end of this message.

 

Second phase of quarantine – Once everyone has received the results of their COVID-19 test we will enter the second phase of the quarantine period. During this time, students who received a negative test result will have the ability to engage in limited outdoor activities with other members of their designated family units. We anticipate this will begin on August 20.

 

Remaining in your family unit will help to create a quarantine “bubble”. You must remain within your family unit throughout the quarantine period.  The family unit term describes groups of individuals living in close proximity to one another within university residence halls. Within the ‘family unit’ structure, students are able to operate as they would in a home environment. Family unit include 1) Residents in apartments, 2) residents in a suite (two rooms connected), and 3) residents assigned to a residential floor (floor section) who share a communal bathroom.

 

Following the quarantine expectations is necessary to help keep our community safe. During this residential quarantine, guests will not be allowed in the residence halls and residents will not be permitted in buildings to which they are not assigned.

 

Student Engagement during Quarantine

During this period, we will be offering engagement activities aimed to help the students living on campus to connect. A few programs are highlighted below:

 

UKindness – Is a University-wide initiative intended to inform, engage, and connect with students throughout the University during the COVID-19 pandemic? The UKindness website has a great deal of information which students may find helpful.

 

HuskyWoW – Typically we offer large scale, in person activities during the HuskyWow program but this year we are unable to follow our standard format. Staff have worked throughout the summer to redesign the HuskyWOW program to meet the needs of the community while abiding by the state of Connecticut and UConn Covid-19 guidelines. The HuskyWowschedule is available online.

 

Student Community Connection Ambassadors - UConn students are available to chat with students online to answer questions about the following - Updates on the Calendar of Activities, Student Organizations at UConn, Accessing Resources Around your Campus, Links to Important Information, Tips from one UConn Student to another Husky. This program is available now online.

 

This is just a sample of the engagement opportunities that will be available to students during the quarantine period. You will receive more information when you arrive on campus.

 

Please remember that we are taking student health and wellness very seriously, working together to offer a positive experience under challenging circumstances. It will look different from our typical fall opening but our goals of offering a rich educational and student life experience remain unchanged.

 

The steps we need to take for the fall 2020 are certainly not what any of us expected or planned to navigate but together we can each step up and do our part to keep the UConn community on track and moving forward to provide a positive and enriching experience for students.

 

Sincerely,

Residential Life

June 25, 2020: Reassignment Process Email

Message sent to all resident students on June 25, 2020

Dear student,

I know you share with us an excitement to return to campus in the fall.  This email seeks to inform you of our process for reassignment of residential spaces for the fall.

As you know, our ongoing concerns regarding student safety and the risks associated with the COVID-19 virus have required us to reduce our available beds for the fall of 2020.  This decision currently only applies to the fall and is our greatest hope that we can resume full occupancy for the spring of 2021.

Before beginning the process of reassigning beds, it is important that we confirm your interest to be living on campus in the fall.  We also want to share with you the additional safety measures you will need to follow including COVID-19 testing, quarantine, social distancing and mask wearing.

The University is offering robust online course offerings in the fall in addition to in person learning.  Additional information will be shared with you by the Registrar early in July.  We also fully understand that your individual needs may not allow for you to return to residential living in the fall.  Students choosing not to remain on campus for the fall will not be charged the cancellation fee and will be welcomed back into on-campus housing in the spring if the university is able to return to full occupancy.

You have been given access to the Fall 2020 Housing Confirmation form, located in your MyHousing account under “Applications”.  Please submit this form by July 6, 2020 if you are interested in living on campus for the upcoming fall semester.

Your submission will be considered along with the priorities expressed by the institution and the number of available spaces on campus.  Those priorities include areas such as academic areas of study, class year, and distance from campus.  If approved, you will receive a notification from livingoncampus@uconn.edu in mid-July.

We understand that we are asking a great deal of one another to ensure the safest fall possible.  Thank you for helping us in this important work.

 

Sincerely,

Department of Residential Life