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Updates

2022

In our last Healthy Clark message of the semester, we would like to thank the community for continued persistence and flexibility in keeping yourself and fellow Clarkies safe and healthy, and we share a last round of updates. …

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As the end of the semester approaches, Clark continues to show low levels of COVID-19 positivity with no concerning transmission trends detected on campus. We continue to monitor data and trends at the local, regional, and national levels, including the results of wastewater tracking in Boston and the Upper Blackstone. …

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Today, we write to announce that masking inside classrooms will now be optional beginning on Monday, April 4. Faculty, however, are being given the authority, for the remainder of this semester, to set class-specific policies based on risks that they may be aware of but cannot, for health privacy reasons, share publicly with the class as a whole. …

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Nationally, more people are testing at home, fewer are experiencing symptoms, and fewer are testing in health care systems, which means that positivity rates are more difficult to interpret and less reliable indicators of overall Covid-19 levels. We now increasingly look to data and research about the severity of illness, hospitalizations and hospital capacity, and death rates. …

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On March 4, we shared plans for a move toward pre-COVID normalcy on our campus. This included changes in the University’s testing and masking requirements, making both optional.

Since our March 4 announcement, we have heard from a number of students, staff, and faculty that the simultaneous lifting of both the testing and masking requirements would leave them feeling particularly vulnerable when they are on campus. With the benefit of this additional input, we have decided to make the process more incremental.

Starting on Monday, March 21, mask-wearing will become optional indoors EXCEPT in classrooms, where masks will continue to be required at least through Friday, April 1. We will monitor the situation on campus over the next two weeks and announce by April 1 what our mask protocol will be starting Monday, April 4.

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Today, we want to share with you the important steps we plan to take toward normalizing University operations. Most significantly, beginning on March 21, indoor mask-wearing and COVID testing will be optional at Clark. …

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As noted in last week’s message from President Fithian and Provost Royo, Clark is taking a significant step toward returning to more normalized campus operations this semester. Beginning on Monday, February 21, Clark students will be required to test every 7 days, rather than the current requirement of once every 3 days. …

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We hope you are enjoying a productive and rewarding spring semester. Today, we want to share with you some upcoming changes to our COVID-19 policies based on our assessment of the scientific data and guidance from health officials that show a steady decline of the Omicron variant across the country and in Worcester. …

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2021

We will enter Clark University’s spring semester without any changes to the current academic calendar. … However, given regional and national COVID-19 trends, including the differing impacts of the Omicron variant, we are shifting the way in which we will assess and manage risk. One thing that has not changed is our commitment to maintaining the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff; that remains a top priority. …

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We are delighted to extend a warm welcome to our students — new and returning, undergraduate and graduate.

Today, we write to outline Clark University’s preparations and expectations for a safe fall semester beginning August 23. We do so with both great anticipation and some caution. Our goal is to have an academic year that is as close to normal as possible – including in-person classes, face-to-face gatherings, guest lecturers and speakers on campus, athletics and performances, and more direct community involvement. …

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As we prepare to welcome our students back to campus next month, I want to update you on the status of our COVID-19 efforts, and our prospects for reopening under normal operating conditions this fall.

As you know, Clark is requiring that all members of our community return to campus only if they have been fully vaccinated against the virus or received an exemption. …

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As previously announced, Clark’s plans for fall semester are to resume “normal” operations as nearly as possible. To achieve this goal, I believe we must aim for the fullest possible degree of immunity among us all.

I am, therefore, announcing today — after careful consultation with public health experts, our own Health Advisory Board, and the Clark Reopening Committee, among others — that Clark students, faculty, and staff members will be required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 no later than July 15 (or earlier for those planning to live or work on campus this summer). Exemptions will be made for medical or disability reasons or religious beliefs, and could be made, at the sole discretion of the University, for other well-documented reasons. …

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Clark University will host a COVID-19 vaccination clinic on Tuesday, May 11, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Kneller Athletic Center. The clinic, which will be operated by Pelmeds, is open to Clark students as well as staff, faculty, and their families — including children ages 16 and older. …

  • The May 11 clinic will offer the Pfizer vaccine. Since the Pfizer vaccine requires two doses administered about three weeks apart, a second clinic will be held June 1 for those requiring the second Pfizer dose. At the June 1 clinic, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine also will be available. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine only requires a single dose. …

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As I walked on campus yesterday (and stopped by the Kneller for my COVID test), it was wonderful to see signs of our University coming back to life. Students with whom I spoke at the Kneller all felt their classes were off to a good start and everyone was excited for the reopening of residence halls and, next week, our classrooms. Welcome back!

All of you deserve the credit for the confidence I feel in our decision to reopen campus for spring semester despite the ongoing threat of COVID-19. …

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We write today to announce our plan for Clark University’s Spring 2021 semester. …

Spring-term classes will begin as planned on Monday, February 22. However, all classes will be conducted online to start, as we think it best to delay the return of students to campus. …

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2020

This morning, we raised Clark’s COVID-19 alert status to Level 3 based on two factors: the return of five new positive test results overnight through our University testing process, and the overall trends in the Worcester region and nationally. There is no evidence to suggest that the five positive test results are linked. Nonetheless, it does raise concern.

While this is not an emergency situation, it is serious. Our highest priority remains maintaining the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff and finishing the semester strong. …

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We hope you are enjoying a restful and joyous holiday break and extend our very best wishes to you for the new year.

As the Spring 2022 semester approaches, we want to share with you our plans for welcoming our community back to campus with sufficient time for you to make necessary preparations. …

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We write today to share the news that Clark University intends to welcome students back to campus and resume in-person classes for the Spring 2021 semester under the same general operating philosophy that we have followed for the current Fall semester: physical presence on campus is optional, and coursework will be conducted through a mix of in-class and online teaching. …

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Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker has issued a travel order, effective August 1, which carries implications for people traveling to or returning to Massachusetts from other states. The new rules also apply to students coming to Massachusetts to study, and to the family members who accompany them to their university home.

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On June 10, Clark announced its intention to re-open this fall with in-person, hybrid, and online courses. As noted in that announcement, our intention to re-commence in-person courses was contingent in part upon authorization from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to initiate the re-opening of colleges and universities. The governor has released that guidance.

On July 13, President David Fithian shared Clark’s decision to welcome students back to campus and resume in-person classes as fully as possible starting on August 24.

Read President Fithian’s July 13 Letter

We write with an important update regarding plans for the 2020-21 academic year. Based on a careful analysis of available public-health information and thorough discussion with related medical and public-health experts, as well as input from student surveys and our faculty and staff, we intend to be able to welcome students back to campus and resume classes in-person in August. Our plan is for classes to begin on August 24, the previously announced start of the 2020-21 academic year. …

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