Dear Wilmington College Community,
Wilmington College is a special place that we all love and want to keep safe. Our Quaker Core Values guide our commitment to the greater community where each of us makes sacrifices for the whole.
At the beginning of this academic year, I shared with campus our COVID-19 protocols and indicated that we would be reviewing our protocols monthly beginning in September to determine if any modifications needed to be made.
I also shared that it is our responsibility to ensure that our campus is doing everything possible to reduce the spread of this virus and keep our community of students, faculty and staff safe.
The Delta variant of the COVID-19 virus has contributed to an increase in cases across the country, Ohio, Clinton County and on our campus. As of the week of September 13, we have had 31 students and 7 employees test positive this semester with others in isolation or quarantine. Last year at this same time we only had 2 students and 1 employee test positive. The vaccine rate among our campus community is below where we hoped to be at this point (Faculty 88% – Staff 72% – Students 35%). The Clinton County vaccine rate is 42%. Our goal moving forward is for our campus to be fully vaccinated by the Spring 2022 semester to support the health and safety of all.
There is significant evidence that the COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective. The FDA granted full approval for the Pfizer vaccine last month and other vaccines are seeing similar progress. The vaccines can help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and prevent severe illness or death.
On September 9, 2021, the federal government issued a mandate for all employers, including private colleges and universities, with over 100 employees to either mandate the COVID-19 vaccine or have weekly testing.
We have continued to take many factors into careful consideration to update our policies and protocols related to the COVID-19 virus, including but not limited to receiving feedback and input from our campus COVID-19 Response Team and Safety Committee, the Clinton County Health Department, legal counsel and many other sources. Today, I am announcing, with the support of the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees and Administration, that Wilmington College will be requiring all students, faculty (including adjuncts), and staff to be fully vaccinated or have an approved exemption prior to the start of the Spring Semester 2022.
For those students that are currently fully vaccinated, thank you for taking steps to protect yourself and our community. Students that are not fully vaccinated, we will continue to take steps to make the vaccine available to you to make the process as convenient as possible to get vaccinated.
All students will be allowed to register for Spring classes. All students are required to be fully vaccinated or have an approved exemption to return to campus and begin all classes in the Spring 2022 and beyond. Those students not providing vaccination documentation or approved exemption by December 22, 2021 will be withdrawn from Spring classes, and will not be allowed to move into the residence halls.
For those faculty and staff that are currently fully vaccinated, thank you for taking the steps to protect yourself and our community. All active faculty and staff including full, part time, adjuncts, and volunteers are required to be fully vaccinated or have an approved exemption by December 14, 2021.
Students, faculty and staff may request a medical or religious exemption from the vaccination requirement. Exemption requests will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. All exemption requests must be received by November 1, 2021. Information on requesting an exemption will be provided in a separate communication.
All individuals who receive an exemption will be required to be tested on a weekly basis. Information on testing will be provided separately.
To assist with the vaccination process, Wilmington College will be holding vaccine clinics on campus during the months of October, November and December. Additional information on these clinics will be announced from the Offices of Students Affairs and Human Resources.
In addition to this update, Wilmington College will maintain all other current COVID-19 protocols until otherwise updated.
We will be holding both faculty/staff and students/family webinar discussions on Thursday, September 23, 2021. In the meantime, we invite you to please feel free to send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will use these questions to add to our FAQ and will do our best to address as many of questions as possible at the webinars on September 23. The FAQ will be added to the College’s COVID-19 webpage and we will continue to add to it as new information becomes available.
Again, it is our highest priority to ensure a safe environment for all employees and students and I thank each of you in advance for continuing to express our core values, particularly of Respect for All Persons, by your individual actions to help keep our community safe. We will get through these challenging times, together.
Trevor M. Bates, President of Wilmington College
Facial Coverings – All individuals (vaccinated and unvaccinated) will be required to wear a facial covering while inside any campus building (except for being alone in a private office or private residence). Facial coverings may be worn by any individual on campus at any time but are not required outdoors. As mentioned above, we will begin monthly reviews of our campus COVID-19 situation in September to determine if changes can be made to lift some requirements.
Social Distancing – Classrooms and meeting rooms will continue to be set to allow for social distancing and signage will be displayed to indicate where seating is and is not allowed. This also requires capacity restrictions in some spaces. The CDC and local health officials indicate this is the most important and effective mitigation against COVID-19.
Dining Hall – The dining hall will have reduced capacity. Most of its operations will return to normal. There will continue to be an entrance and exit restrictions. Facial coverings will be required when not eating.
Travel – Individuals requesting to participate in foreign travel opportunities will be required to be vaccinated and comply with current foreign travel guidelines. Domestic travel will be allowed under current US COVID-19 protocols. Usage of campus vehicles will require occupants to wear facial coverings.
Campus Activities/Meetings – Student and Classroom campus activities will continue to be monitored and managed the same method as last academic year utilizing the Event Registration Form. Opportunities for off-campus activities will be available.
Testing – COVID-19 testing will continue to be utilized for those individuals identified with symptoms. Isolation and quarantine protocols will follow current CDC guidelines. Students and employees that are tested positive or identified as a close contact will be required to stay off campus during the isolation or quarantine period. On campus isolation/quarantine for out of state and international students will again be available as needed. Athletics will continue to follow both NCAA and OAC guidelines.
Library, Harcum Art Gallery, Quaker Heritage Center, and Peace Resource Center – All of these facilities will be available under regular hours and services for faculty, staff, students, and the public.