April 1, 2021

Dear Members of the Connecticut College Community,

As we come to the end of our sixth straight week in Alert Level 1-Green, I want to commend you for helping keep our campus safe and our COVID levels low—indeed, as low as we have ever seen them. You have shown us what is possible when a community comes together to do the right thing. In that spirit, I am writing today to share with you our plans for fall 2021.

We have now entered a critical new phase in combating the pandemic: widespread distribution of a vaccine. Faculty and staff at Conn are on their way to being fully vaccinated and 95 percent of our students in a recent survey reported that they either have received the vaccine or intend to receive it soon. College-aged students in Connecticut become eligible today, and the state has said it may be able to make the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine available to our students by early May.

All this is good news. Achieving a high community vaccination rate will enable us to resume normal campus operations in the fall. I have heard from many faculty, staff, and students who are eager to do just that.

And so I want to reaffirm our goal for fall 2021: to be teaching, working, and learning together in person. Our partners at Hartford HealthCare have confirmed that, with the vaccine, we can return to normal classroom seating capacity. And that means our fall class schedule will no longer include remote or hybrid classes.

Returning to campus is essential for our community and for the integrity of our mission as a residential liberal arts college.

Through it all, our highest priority has never changed: ensuring your health and safety. And so, even with a vaccinated campus, the College will be maintaining two important COVID-19 protocols in the fall: universal masking and large-scale testing.

There are many details still to work out—about housing, dining, and much else—as we retransition to a fully residential campus. The chairs of our three COVID-19 working groups, along with representatives from Staff Council, FSCC, and SGA will begin meeting again soon to study the issues, evaluate the data, and make the recommendations necessary for our success.

Preliminary information about our plans can be found on a new webpage on The Path Forward website. It will be updated frequently, so please review it often.

Other questions can be directed to covid19responseteam@conncoll.edu. We will also host one or two virtual town halls during the summer to relay important news as needed.

It goes without saying that, if circumstances change, our plans can and will be adjusted. We have proved our ability to do that again and again over the course of the last year. For now, though, I share with you a renewed sense of hope about the future, as we look toward achieving our goal of being a reunited community in fall 2021. I cannot wait.

With my thanks for your ongoing strength and resilience and best wishes for your continued success this spring.

Katherine Bergeron