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Message from President Murray 04-10-2021

Campus Communications

A Message from Marist President Dr. Dennis J. Murray, April 10, 2021

 

Dear Marist students,

The number of COVID-19 cases on campus has been decreasing, and we will resume in-person classes on Monday. This welcome news is thanks to your efforts, but the coronavirus remains a serious challenge, both at Marist and in the larger community. I am writing today to urge all students to get vaccinated against COVID-19 as soon as possible. The vaccines are safe, effective, and increasingly available. Quite simply, this is how life at Marist returns to normal.

Marist has developed two strategies to get all of our students vaccinated. The first is our effort to obtain and administer vaccines on campus. We administered 100 doses to students earlier this week and will distribute approximately 500 more next week. The following week, we expect to receive 1,000 additional doses. Members of the senior leadership team and I are personally spending a great deal of time trying to acquire as many vaccines as possible. We're having some success, but it's unlikely we'll have enough doses for everyone. Our second strategy is to encourage as many students as possible to get vaccinated at off-campus sites, whether here in our local area or in your home communities. But don't wait! If you can get an appointment elsewhere, take it. The more quickly everyone is vaccinated, the more quickly normal campus life can resume.

There are many websites you can use to register for vaccine appointments, but you'll need to be persistent. These links can help:

These sites are regularly updated and new vaccination opportunities added, so be sure to check back frequently. The College continually monitors vaccination sites, including Dutchess County, New York State, doctors' offices, hospitals, and pharmacies, and is setting up systems to notify students immediately when vaccines become available. You'll learn more about these systems in the coming days. We also recommend that you reach out to your contacts, including family members, to see if they can help you find an appointment. Even if you have to drive home, it's worth it!

If you do receive your vaccination off campus, please let us know. For Marist to make informed, data-driven decisions about changes to college operations, it is imperative that we know how many students have been vaccinated. So we're asking students who are vaccinated (either first or second shot) to upload your proof of vaccination to marist.medicatconnect.com in order to provide us with an accurate count. For you to take advantage of any potentially loosened restrictions, we must have proof of your vaccination on file.

I hope you'll do all of this for yourself, your family, and your friends, and so that the College can begin to ease certain restrictions. One of the most difficult aspects of this pandemic has been the social isolation many have experienced. With broad immunization, we have the chance to restore the interpersonal interactions and sense of community that make Marist such a special place. In short, getting vaccinated has immediate benefits for you, your family, and our college community, and it will help us lift some of the restrictions that no one likes. If a large percentage of our students are immunized, it would allow us to greatly improve the campus experience for all students. Here are some examples of measures we could consider:

  • Post-exposure quarantine for vaccinated individuals may not be required
  • In-person dining
  • Reopening of the team weight room in McCann
  • Reopening of the fitness center in McCann
  • In-person gatherings of clubs and organizations (outdoors)
  • Expanded activities and social opportunities
  • Athletic team practices and contests (athletes will be receiving further communication from the Athletics Department)
  • Choral and band activities
  • A better graduation ceremony and greater flexibility with senior week activities

The exact date we can begin to lift restrictions will be determined by the number of COVID-19 cases on campus, the percentage of students who have been vaccinated, and remaining New York State guidelines. I recognize how stressful this semester has been, but you now have the opportunity to take action. Let's get everyone vaccinated so we can return to the rich and rewarding campus life we all love. Thanks for your understanding and for helping Marist get back to normal.

Sincerely,
Dennis J. Murray
President