Welcome to the start of the 2021-22 academic year!

August 20, 2021

Dear Campus Community,

It’s an exciting time at Rose-Hulman as we welcome back students, faculty and staff, and prepare for the arrival of a record first-year class. Next week we have the Opening of School Symposium and the New Academic Building dedication ceremony, with the start of classes the following week. As we begin the new academic year, the safety of our community remains a top priority.

With the increase in COVID-19 cases and the high transmissibility of the Delta variant, we must all continue to focus on remaining diligent in keeping our campus community safe. The availability of safe and effective vaccines has given us another tool in the effort to stop the spread of COVID-19. We continue to strongly encourage all students, faculty, and staff to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and to submit proof (see below) of that vaccination, in order to be excused from the fall surveillance testing and the costs associated with support of these programs. 

I am very encouraged to see our current vaccination rate at approximately 83% for faculty and staff and 80% for students as of today, August 20. Given this data, I remain confident that we will reach 85% or more for the entire community within the first week or two of classes.

We have published an updated version of Rose Ready today outlining the COVID-19 campus guidelines, testing procedures and other important details for the fall quarter.

You can view it at: www.rose-hulman.edu/roseready

In this era of a pandemic, to maintain a culture in which health, safety and student learning are maximized, we believe all community members must join us in acknowledging and accepting these common responsibilities:

  • With a significant number of students arriving on campus from all over the country during the opening weeks and not being able to verify vaccination status for visitors who are helping those students move in, we believe requiring face masks initially is a safer way to ensure we start fall quarter successfully.  Therefore, everyone must initially wear a face mask or covering throughout all indoor campus spaces regardless of vaccination status. This includes all of our affiliates, vendors, and visitors. This policy is expected to remain in place for at least the first three weeks of class (until September 24, 2021), at which time we will re-examine it.

We will also be doing pre-arrival and routine surveillance testing for those who have not submitted proof of vaccination. Assuming we are able to maintain a modest positivity rate and increase our student vaccination rate to at least 85% by September 24, 2021, we will re-evaluate and hope to be able to move to indoor mask-optional for those who are fully vaccinated. Individual Faculty, however, may continue to require masks in classrooms and labs throughout the quarter. 

  • We expect all students, faculty and staff who have not submitted proof of vaccination (including those with medical and religious exemptions) to participate in pre-arrival/return and routine surveillance testing under prescribed protocols. See Rose Ready for additional details.
    • Students can submit their proof of vaccination (final dose) to healthservices@Rose-hulman.edu by Friday, September 10 and get a full refund of their additional health services fee.
  • We expect individuals to stay home if they are sick, to practice good hygiene such as washing your hands regularly, and to adhere to safe social distancing practices as is practical. 

Like the previous year, the success of this plan is ultimately dependent upon the entire community’s acknowledgment and acceptance of these common responsibilities and practices. 

The pandemic has generated a wide variety of opinions and beliefs regarding the safest/best way(s) in which individuals and the organizations they are a part of can move forward together.  While we fully recognize there is no single “one-size-fits-all” solution for every member of our campus community, we do believe that we have both demonstrated previously and can continue to demonstrate that there is a reasonably safe and successful path forward for our community as a whole.  

We look forward to sharing that continued journey, safely, with each of you.

President Coons

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