Wesleyan Public Health Update 5_20_2020

From: Tom McLarney, MD <announcement@wesleyan.edu>
Sent: Wednesday, May 20, 2020 9:30 AM
To: Renee Johnson Thornton <rjohnson01@wesleyan.edu>
Subject: Public Health Update

To the Wesleyan Community,

Ask any driver about what irritates them, and you are likely to hear about other drivers who drive too slowly, and those who drive too fast. These tend to be subjective observations, but speed limits do give us objective guidance as to the appropriate speed of travel.

Unfortunately, there are no posted speed limits or minimum speeds listed for reopening a state. This week in Connecticut, Governor Ned Lamont has announced a phased-in reopening beginning today, May 20. I would like to discuss this from a public health perspective.

As some offices, retail businesses, restaurants, and other establishments begin to re-open, my take-home message to you all is: proceed with caution. If at all possible, continue to stay home. I urge continued self-isolation even more strongly for anyone over 65 years of age, or those who have medical conditions that place them at high risk.

At Wesleyan, the majority of faculty and staff will continue to work from home for the time being. In his announcement, Governor Lamont has permitted university research labs to reopen. As with the other sectors, this is not a mandate to reopen. Wesleyan is making plans for faculty and staff to return to work including reopening research labs in accordance with state guidelines, and detailed information is forthcoming.

On its website, the state has posted rules for each sector of the economy on reopening. General guidelines for all sectors include:

  • Promote social distancing by placing tables, chairs, etc. 6 feet or more apart.
  • Many facilities will have a 50 percent capacity limit, and no waiting areas.
  • When applicable to the business, service by appointment only.
  • Employees and patrons will be required to wear face coverings (which may be removed if eating or drinking).
  • Employees will be required to stay home when ill.
  • Staggered shifts for employees.
  • Employees should work at home if possible.
  • Touch-free appliances (soap and paper towel dispensers, automatic doors, etc.).
  • Meticulous sanitizing between customers/patrons.
  • Businesses to log employee shifts and whereabouts to help with contact tracing, if needed.

It’s important to remember that even if a business is complying with all the reopening recommendations, there is no guarantee of how safe it is to visit. It may be prudent to wait two or three weeks before going to a shop or restaurant, for example, to see if there is a spike in Covid-19 cases after the reopening. If there is, then we would suspect safety measures aren’t working.

If you do go out, do your best to maintain a 6-foot distance (imagine an inflated inner tube around your waist), don’t touch your face, and try not to touch things such as paper towel dispensers, sinks, door handles, etc. Take the stairs rather than the elevator, when possible, and never enter a crowded elevator. In a business setting, don’t use any shared equipment (phones, keyboards, etc.) when possible, or at least disinfect between users. Follow the instructions on the state’s website, follow your gut, and err on the side of caution.

From a public health perspective, it is anticipated that any re-opening in our state will result in an increase of Covid-19 cases. These need to be kept at a minimum and preparations must be in place to address increased cases. Once again, I urge you to proceed with caution and to consider staying home if at all possible, especially if you have added risk factors.

In closing, I wish you all health and safety. We are all suffering from “pandemic fatigue,” but try to embrace the positives, such as more time with family and the beautiful spring weather. I also want to congratulate all the members of the Class of 2020.  As you wrap up your time at Wesleyan, you deserve extra recognition for your strength, flexibility, and resilience these past few months.  Best wishes for success in your future endeavors!

Tom McLarney, MD

Wes COVID-19 Public Health Update 4_15_2020

From: Tom McLarney, MD <announcement@wesleyan.edu>
Sent: Wednesday, April 15, 2020 4:56 PM
To: Renee Johnson Thornton <rjohnson01@wesleyan.edu>
Subject: Public Health Update

To the Wesleyan Community,

I trust this note finds everyone in good health. I write today with another public health update on the coronavirus pandemic.

Since my last update, the CDC has announced that there will be antibody testing available within the next few weeks, which will measure two antibodies: Immunoglobulin M (IgM) and Immunoglobulin G (IgG).

Let me offer a quick Immunology 101 lesson: When we are exposed to an illness, our body produces IgM to fight it. During our recovery period, we produce IgG, which in many instances (but not all) gives us lifetime protection against the illness.  If a person is IgM negative and IgG positive, this suggests they had the disease and are now recovered with hopefully long-term protection.  If one is IgM positive and IgG negative, this suggests that they have the active disease and have not yet produced the protective antibody. If one is IgG and IgM negative, this suggests they have never been exposed to the disease or are incapable of producing antibodies. If one is both IgG and IgM positive, they may be early in the recovery phase or one of the tests is a false positive. What does all this mean? In theory, from a societal point of view, if one is IgM negative and IgG positive for COVID-19, they may be able to return to work without fear of contracting COVID-19. If one is IgG negative, they remain at risk for contracting COVID-19 and need to avoid exposure.

While this testing offers important information for the eventual re-opening of society and return to “business as usual,” there are still many critical questions left to answer. What are the sensitivity and specificity of these tests? In other words, what is the chance of getting a false positive or negative? Does a positive IgG correlate with lifetime immunity (as we see in chicken pox, measles, mumps, etc.) or will we be at risk for reinfection (such as influenza or strep throat)? When a vaccine is available and is given to those who are IgG negative, how long will it take after the injection for the full effect? And what is the percent of people who will be fully protected from the vaccine?

Fortunately, we have many bright scientists working to answer all these questions.  In many cases, it is a matter of time.

On another note, I had the pleasure of speaking with Father Bill Wallace, Wesleyan’s Catholic chaplain, last week.  He reminded me that the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life (OSRL) is a wonderful resource to help our students who are dealing with the stressors of isolation, fear of contracting COVID-19, and the major and abrupt changes in routine we are all experiencing.  Our emotional, behavioral, and spiritual well-being is certainly being put to the test. We are lucky to have both the OSRL and Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) here on campus.  Contact information for all the University’s chaplains can be found here, while CAPS can be reached at counseling@wesleyan.edu or (860) 685-2910. Faculty and staff may contact the Employee Assistance Program at (800) 854-1446.

I would be remiss if I didn’t continue to stress the principles of physical distancing.  Presently this is our best (if not our only) option to ‘’flatten the curve’’ and this appears to be happening.  We cannot let our guard down now. It’s important for everyone to follow these steps:

  1. Wear a face covering when in public. This is to decrease the risk of spreading COVID-19 as infected people can be asymptomatic for two days prior to symptoms or may be completely asymptomatic.
  2. Maintain a distance of 6 feet (2 meters) from others.
  3. Do not meet in groups of over five people.
  4. Wash hands frequently.
  5. Do not touch your face. Be especially cognizant when donning or doffing your masks.
  6. Cough into the crook of your arm.
  7. Avoid people who are ill.
  8. Wipe down frequently touched surfaces, such as door knobs.

We will continue to forge ahead caring for ourselves and others while maintaining appropriate distancing. We are in this together and will take each day as it comes.

Stay well, be safe, be kind,

Tom McLarney, MD

RCF Rebate Update 3_19_20

From: All Students on campus <all_studenton-l@wesleyan.edu>
Sent: Thursday, March 19, 2020 12:41 PM
To: All Students on campus <all_studenton-l@wesleyan.edu>
Cc: Christopher Olt <colt@wesleyan.edu>; Robert Mirabal <rmirabal@wesleyan.edu>
Subject: Refund of Residential Comprehensive Fee

Dear Students,

The Student Accounts Office has started to process adjustments to Residential Comprehensive Fees (RCF) for students who have turned in their keys to Residential Life.  Please review the student FAQs for more information regarding turning in your key, which will initiate the RCF process. 

As a reminder, students who have been approved to remain on-campus will not receive an RCF adjustment.

For students with outstanding account balances, the RCF adjustment will first be applied to that balance.  In cases where the RCF adjustment creates a credit balance, these balances will remain on the student account and will be applied to future charges, unless a cash refund is specifically requested.

A cash refund can be requested by completing this form.  All refunds will be made via direct deposit to the student’s bank account on file.  If direct deposit has not been set up, a check will be mailed to the student’s home address.  Please be sure to review your home address in WesPortal for accuracy.  

Students with direct deposit on file should expect to receive their refund within 3-5 business days.  Students without direct deposit should expect a check to be processed within 7-12 business days of requesting the refund.

Students and authorized participants can review account activity via your Student Account Center in WesPortal or via wesleyan.afford.com.

If you have any questions, please contact the Student Accounts Office at student-accounts@wesleyan.edu


Robert Mirabel

Director of Student Account

Chris Olt

Associate Vice President for Finance

Move-out Expectations 3_16_20

From: All Students on campus <all_studenton-l@wesleyan.edu>
Sent: Monday, March 16, 2020 12:12 PM
To: All Students on campus <all_studenton-l@wesleyan.edu>
Subject: Please Leave Campus ASAP

Dear Students,

 You may be aware that the COVID-19 global pandemic is rapidly evolving and concern is rising that domestic travel may be restricted in the coming days.  If you have not already done so, I encourage you to please leave campus as soon as possible.  You may leave your personal belongings and make arrangements with Res Life to collect them at a later date.

The Student Affairs team is completing review of petitions submitted by students wishing to remain on campus and responses should go out this afternoon.

Safe travels!

Dean Mike

Michael J. Whaley (he/him/his)

Vice President for Student Affairs

Wesleyan University

220 North College

Middletown, CT 06459


Bookstore Information 3_15_20

From: Wesleyan RJ Julia Bookstore <announcement@wesleyan.edu>
Sent: Sunday, March 15, 2020 11:14 AM
Subject: Message from Wesleyan RJ Julia Bookstore

Dear Wesleyan Students,

These are unprecedented times. First and foremost, please know that all of us at Wesleyan RJ Julia Bookstore wish good health to you, your family, and friends.

As we all adjust to the sudden changes facing us this semester, Wesleyan RJ Julia Bookstore is here to be responsive to your needs.

 ·       We recognize that you may still require course materials to complete your course work. All purchased course materials will be shipped to you free of cost.

·       Textbook Buyback: Wesleyan RJ Julia Bookstore will buyback textbooks and course materials beginning immediately and continuing indefinitely.

·       For an estimate on the buyback value of your textbook(s), please contact the Course Materials Manager, Heidi Schoenfeldt, at the bookstore at (860) 685-3939 or by e-mail, hschoenfeldt@wesleyan.edu.

·       If you’re able to bring your textbooks to the store for buyback, we will give you cash for your textbooks.

·       If you’re unable to visit the store, you’re welcome to ship your books to the store. There are two payment options for buyback by mail: a check for the full buyback value OR a Wesleyan RJ Julia gift card for the full buyback value, with an additional 10% bonus on the gift card total.

·       If visiting the store soon or shipping is not an option, we will buyback upon your return next semester.

·       Lastly, rental textbooks and materials need to be returned/shipped back to the bookstore, postmarked by May 18th. If this is not possible for any reason, please contact the Course Materials Manager, Heidi Schoenfeldt, at the bookstore at (860) 685-3939 or by e-mail, hschoenfeldt@wesleyan.edu to see what alternative arrangements can be made.

Additional information:

·       All purchases completed at wesleyanrjjulia.com will be shipped for free.

·       Wesleyan RJ Julia Bookstore hours have been adjusted for the foreseeable future. Hours are now 9am-5pm daily or 24-hours daily at wesleyanrjjulia.com.

We thank you for your patience as we work to address and react to daily, often hourly, developments. If you have any questions, concerns, suggestions, or if we can be helpful in any way, please do not hesitate to contact us.

(860) 685 – 3939 or books@wesleyan.edu.

Be well,

Roxanne J. Coady

Founder, RJ Julia Booksellers

Public Health Update from Wesleyan Medical Director 3_13_20

From: Tom McLarney, MD <announcement@wesleyan.edu>
Sent: Friday, March 13, 2020 5:38 PM
To: Renee Johnson Thornton <rjohnson01@wesleyan.edu>
Subject: Public Health Update

To our student body:

As we transition from in-class learning to distance online learning, the University is promoting social distancing to ensure the safest environment for all. This includes picking up your personal belongings on campus. As this is difficult for any of us as social human beings, I feel you should know the medical rational behind this.

Dr. Anthony Fauci from the NIH gave an excellent answer to this question when he recently testified to Congress.  The essence of his presentation:

The best way to decrease the spread of this virus is to prevent person to person transmission.  College-age people who are in generally excellent health may carry the virus with minimal or no symptoms.  If we practice measures that decrease the possibility of person to person spread, we will hopefully see a decrease in cases and eventually resolution of this disease.

In addition to the annual recommendations of hand washing, cough etiquette, and no sharing of water bottles, we are ramping up prevention practices:

1)     Avoid touching your face. This will decrease the chance of exposing yourself and others to the virus.

2)     Maintain a 6 foot (2 meter) distance from people.

3)     Avoid hugs, handshakes, and high fives. If you must greet someone, use an elbow bump (although this breaks the 6 foot rule).

4)     Sanitize high touch areas frequently (Lysol and Clorox products are felt to be appropriate for this).

5)     Avoid crowded areas (no one has determined what a safe number of people together is).

This is why we are requiring students coming to collect their belongings to do it quickly and efficiently without ‘’hanging out’’ with others and not staying overnight.

With a virus strain newly discovered in December causing a pandemic without a medication to treat or a vaccine to prevent, we have to do everything in our power to curtail spread.

Tom McLarney MD

Medical Director

Wesleyan University

Moving Out Information 3_13_20

From: Frances Koerting <fkoerting@wesleyan.edu>
Sent: Friday, March 13, 2020 12:04 PM
To: All Students on campus <all_studenton-l@wesleyan.edu>
Subject: Updated moving out information

Dear Students,

As you are packing up to leave on or before 3/23, we wanted to send you some reminders to assist you with your planning:

  • Remove all belongings.  Check drawers, closets, under the bed, bathrooms, common areas, etc.
  • Remove all your items from refrigerators.
  • Remove all trash, recycling, compost/debris, and dispose in the proper containers.
    • See this page for more information on proper disposal of compost: Compost Information Link
    • See this page for locations of collection bins for clothing, food and book donations
  • Return keys to Residential Life.  If you are returning keys when ResLife is closed, we ask that you put your keys in an envelope and then place them in the key drop box between North and South College. If you are unable to return to campus to return your key in person, you must mail the key back to Residential Life as soon as possible, as any credit towards the RCF cannot be processed until it is received.   Keys must be mailed via priority/registered mail; a tracking number will help ensure we receive your key and that you are not charged for a lock change.
  • Check your WesPortal to ensure that your current room number is accurate and double check that the forwarding address for mail is up to date.  If the wrong room number is listed, send an email to reslife@wesleyan.edu , to avoid possible damage charges for a room in which you did not live.
  • If you are not able to remove your car from campus, make sure to park it in the Vine Street lot, at the end near the tennis courts.  Physical Plant has repairs scheduled for the other half of the lot.
  • A variety of options are available for help with packing, movement and/or storage of your belongings.  Storage Options Link.  Free boxes are available in Exeley 141 while supplies last.  UPS will be on campus beginning on 3/16 to assist with the purchase of packing supplies and shipping.
  • Free van transportation to local storage facilities is being provided by the university. Details can be found Here

In compliance with CDC recommendations, parties and other social gatherings are strictly prohibited on campus.

Please check out our Frequently Asked Questions page which provides additional information: FAQ Link

Please email reslife@wesleyan.edu or call us at 860-685-3550 if you have any questions.

The Residential Life Staff

Free Shipping Supplies at Cardinal Tech

From: Samantha Burr <sburr@wesleyan.edu>
Sent: Friday, March 13, 2020 11:36 AM
Subject: Free Shipping Supplies at Cardinal Tech

Cardinal Tech has free shipping supplies available (Boxes, tape and packing paper) for students. I’ve added this resource to the Mutual Aid Excel sheet – Res Life asked me to contact you to inform you of this resource. I’m also willing to work with students who require financial assistance in paying for freight/shipping charges. If you have students who require financial assistance for shipping fees, let me know.

Students who utilize the free shipping supplies at Cardinal Tech may pack their items and bring them to Wes Station for shipping.

Let us know what else we can do to assist, including extending hours at Cardinal Tech or Wes Station.




Move-out Information 3_12_20

From: All Students on campus <all_studenton-l@wesleyan.edu>
Sent: Thursday, March 12, 2020 6:39 PM
To: All Students on campus <all_studenton-l@wesleyan.edu>
Subject: Revised Information about Moving Out of Residences

Dear Students,

I’m writing to provide some revised information related to students moving out of their residences.  Given the news of the last 24 hours and after conferring with additional medical experts, we are adjusting our previous directions as follows:

Students living within driving distance to Wesleyan and who are able to go home should move out of their residences as soon as possible and no later than March 23.  If possible, we encourage travel by car rather than public transportation.  We discourage students from staying overnight unless necessary and please limit contact with others while on campus.  Please drop off your keys at the key box located between North College and South College.  Students who leave campus will be eligible for a prorated refund of their spring semester RCF fees, regardless of whether the student is on financial aid.

Students living beyond driving distance to Wesleyan and who are able to go home (or who are already at home) should leave campus as soon as possible and no later than March 23 or remain at home.  These students will have an extended window to move out of their residences and should plan to retrieve their personal belongings at any point prior to April 30.  We discourage students from staying overnight unless necessary and to limit contact with others while on campus.  Please submit this petition to let us know that you will move your belongings after March 23.  Options for packing/shipping/storage of your items so that you do not need to return to campus, are available here.  As above, students who leave campus will be eligible for a prorated refund of their spring semester RCF fees, regardless of whether the student is on financial aid.

Students requesting to remain on campus should submit this petition if they haven’t already done so.  Petitions should be submitted immediately, but no later than March 18th.  A Student Affairs committee including class deans and others will review petitions daily.  Decisions will be communicated on a rolling basis as requests are received, but no later than 5:00pm on March 20.  The focus of the committee’s assessment will be on students with housing insecurity or who cannot return home, those from countries with travel restrictions, and those with other extenuating circumstances.  Note that students approved to remain on campus may be relocated by Res Life so that they are not staying in a large residence alone.

Please be in touch if you have questions.  Wesleyan’s COVID-19 FAQs are being updated daily.

All best,

Dean Mike Whaley