From the Desk of President Elfred Anthony Pinkard
2022 Spring Semester Opening
I hope your holidays were joyful and restful. As the 2021 holiday season comes to an end, it is time to turn our attention to welcoming our students, faculty, and staff for the Spring semester. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic remains an ever-present threat to our safety and well-being and the emergence of the omicron variant has occasioned renewed vigilance and intention to careful and informed decision-making and action. As they have been since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, our decisions and actions will be informed by the prevailing scientific and medical information and public health recommendations and protocols. We will also note the decisions and actions of our peers while we consider the uniqueness of the Wilberforce University institutional culture. Keeping all members of the university campus community as safe as possible will always be at the center of our decision-making and actions.
Given the virulence of the omicron variant and increasing infection rates across the nation, we have made the following decisions regarding the Spring semester; please read carefully:
· The University will open for the Spring semester on Monday, January 3, 2022. All University personnel are expected to report to campus to resume the operations of the University. We will adhere to the COVID-19 protocols already in place to maintain a safe workplace environment, which notably includes, wearing masks in all buildings at all times. The message from the medical and public health communities is that the current COVID-19 pandemic, including the emergence of the omicron variant is largely a pandemic of the unvaccinated. While the University has not yet mandated vaccinations, we strongly encourage you, for your well-being and that of all members of the University community to be regularly tested and vaccinated. Testing and vaccinations will be available at the Wilberforce-Premier Health Student Clinic on campus. We will continue the four -day in person work week and virtual Fridays until further notice.
· For students and faculty, virtual instruction will begin on Wednesday, January 5, 2022. In-person instruction will begin on Tuesday, January 18, 2022. Students will not return to campus until January 18, 2022. A communication from the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. Johnny Jones and the Vice President for Student Engagement and Success, Dr. Parris Carter, will be sent to students outlining their options and the timeline and requirements for returning to campus. Students returning to campus will be required to provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 test within 48 hours of returning to campus.
The decision to delay in person instruction until January 18, 2022, and to require evidence of a negative COVID-19 test from returning students are two additional steps in our overall strategy to contain the spread of COVID-19 on our campus. However, while the University can establish protocols and policies to assure our safety, each member of the University community must also assume personal responsibility for adhering to the protocols and making intelligent choices about your individual health. To that end, there is compelling evidence that being regularly tested and vaccinated can save your life and significantly decrease morbidity if you are infected.
With intelligence, care, and vigilance, we can keep our campus community safe from the spread of COVID-19. Let us each commit to doing our part in keeping each other safe and healthy; that is the true meaning of community.
I extend a warm welcome back to campus and all good wishes for a safe and successful Spring semester.
We are Wilberforce: The First and The Future.