May 20, 2021 Community Update
Members of the New England College Community:
As you know, each month a member of Senior Team provides an update to the community. I am pleased to provide the May update this year. You have heard from me often about our work in support of Equity and Inclusion, future initiatives to create new revenue streams in our School of Graduate and Professional Studies, praise for the excellence we see in the classroom, athletic fields, studios, and labs in Henniker and Manchester. Certainly, you will hear more about these and other topics in the coming weeks. But, for the month of May I have decided I would provide an update that looks forward to what is possible in the Fall and beyond.
With extraordinary cooperation from our students, faculty, and staff over the last 14 months, the 2020-21 academic year unfolded as planned. Strict adherence to mask wearing and social distancing resulted in a small, manageable number of COVID cases, and the campus remained in full operation for summer, fall, winter, and spring sessions. Careful management and full community cooperation allowed us to meet for in-person classes, hold numerous athletic contests for our many men’s and women’s teams, and host our first events in the new Putnam Theatre. Based on our strong collective record, we look forward confidently to a near normal campus experience in the fall.
Based on CDC guidance we have already moderated our procedures for social distancing and mask wearing (https://www.nec.edu/coronavirus/) beginning last Monday with the start of Summer classes. With the COVID-19 vaccine now widely available throughout the country, we will add it to our list of required vaccinations. With limited exceptions, all students attending classes on campus in Fall 2021 must be fully vaccinated. Faculty and staff must also be fully vaccinated by August 1, 2021 if they work on campus. Students and faculty participating exclusively in online classes and not planning to be on either campus are encouraged to be vaccinated but are not required to do so.
We urge all community members to take advantage of the ready supply of vaccines now available. FDA approved vaccines from Moderna, Pfizer, and Johnson & Johnson will meet the college requirement, though only Pfizer is currently available to those younger than 18. The College has already held two vaccination clinics on campus, most recently on Friday, May 14th, which provided inoculations for nearly 300 members of our community. We anticipate having additional New Hampshire sponsored clinics on campus, but we urge all members of the community to engage the process on their own and secure one of the available vaccines. Typically, securing the vaccine requires participating in a State administered process. Any community member can schedule a vaccine in any state by visiting: www.vaccines.gov.
Vaccination of our on-campus community will help us return to normal. We will be able to have more face-to-face classes and non-class activities. We will be able to schedule travel courses, field trips, host athletic competitions, and open up our galleries and theatre for exhibitions and performances, and so much more. National data show, rising vaccinations have reduced the incidence of infection, though slowly. Medical professionals look to a rising rate of inoculation as the most effective way to return to normal in a safe and healthy manner. We thought very hard about the burden of obligation, yet another health requirement would place on our community, in the end deciding that the effort would be worth it for everyone’s sake. Please look on the vaccination as an opportunity, a path to greater normality through added safety.
Should you have questions about NEC’s vaccination requirements please see our FAQs at (https://www.nec.edu/coronavirus/) for additional information and check back regularly for updates.
Recognize that we take this measure to require vaccination after careful deliberation, motivated by the need to protect the entire community. Please join the 38% of Americans who have already been vaccinated and help meet President Biden’s national goal of 70% by July 4th.
I wish you all the best for a productive and restful summer.
All the best,
Michele D. Perkins, EdD
New England College