August 31, 2021
Dear Faculty and Staff -
It has been great to see the increasing activity on our campuses over the past few weeks. While it is difficult at 90 degrees (as I write this) to say “fall is here,” this signals that summer is over and we will soon be in full swing in Durham, Manchester and Concord.
As you know, we are much closer to normal campus life than we were last year. While we will continue to wear masks in classrooms and similar settings, and we are continuing our testing program, we are planning on many more in-person events, including academic, athletic, and social activities.
Our optimism about our ability to enjoy a normal semester is based on our expectation of a high rate of vaccination—and a low rate of infection—among our community. Please remember that the best place to learn about any COVID-related guidance and information is our web page, which now includes detailed information on isolation and quarantine expectations . As you can see from today’s dashboard, of 13,215 students arriving at one of our campuses, 88% have provided proof of full vaccination. In addition, 77% of faculty and 70% of staff have confirmed they are vaccinated; this includes people who are not on campus but have shared their vaccination status with Health & Wellness. With these numbers, you can be confident that most people around you have done what is necessary to protect you, as well as themselves. If you are not yet vaccinated but wish to be, click here for instructions for securing one. If you would like to confidentially share your vaccination status with UNH Health & Wellness (this is how we know what percentage of people are vaccinated), please click here. It is also important that you continue to test as scheduled, or more frequently if you prefer. You received your testing schedule at the Whittemore Center when you picked up kits and it can also be found on your Wildcat Pass.
I know that this is a difficult time for many of you. We hoped that COVID would be over by now, and it is not, yet. Faculty and staff who have children or aging parents may be struggling with keeping them safe. While the CERP program was important for our financial sustainability, it means that we have lost a number of valued colleagues, which makes it difficult sometimes to know who to call to get things done. Our reorganization of finance and new purchasing system add additional challenges along these lines. Finally, while people appreciate our new, more flexible working arrangements, it is another source of change among many others.
The UNH senior leadership team and I are working to address the challenges we are all facing. While it was necessary to make these changes to ensure our financial future, I regret the disruption they have caused. We are working on plans to make it easier for everyone to get their work done, and I ask for your patience in the interim. I will be back in touch soon with specific measures we are taking.
I hope that you had a good summer and got some rest and relaxation. I have had some wonderful times with my family and friends and am ready to return to a full slate of UNH campus activities.
Please accept my very best wishes for the semester,
James W. Dean Jr.