Dear Liberal Arts Undergraduates:
I hope all is well and that you have had an enjoyable and productive fall so far. It’s hard to believe that we are approaching the halfway point of the semester already!
I am pleased to report that as of today, more than 87 percent of the students at University Park—90.4 percent living on campus and 86 percent living elsewhere in the community—have been fully vaccinated. Those in the college who have not been vaccinated have largely complied with the University’s weekly testing requirements (as evidenced by the fact that less than 20 Liberal Arts students have received interim suspensions for not being tested), and most of the encounters I’ve had in the hallways and elsewhere on campus indicate most people are adhering to the masking requirements. These are extremely encouraging numbers, and I want to thank everyone for taking care of themselves to the greatest extent possible and for helping to keep others out of harm’s way.
While all these numbers are encouraging, we are not out of the woods just yet—and as temperatures cool and we find ourselves spending more time indoors, it becomes even more important for us to remain diligent. Please continue to wear a mask, and please get vaccinated if you haven’t done so already and can safely do so—these are simple steps that will help put the pandemic behind us sooner. The risk of contracting a cold, influenza, or other viruses also increases this time of year, so I encourage you to consider getting your yearly flu shot as well. University Health Services has flu clinics scheduled for October 25 and November 8; visit their website to schedule your flu shot or to make an appointment for any other medical issue you may be experiencing.
I also know that, despite our current progress, there are many who continue to experience multiple physical, emotional, or financial challenges, which can weigh even more heavily as midterm exams and assignments are due. For those of you in need of their services right now, please take advantage of the University’s Center for Counseling and Psychological Services and Multicultural Resource Center. For those of you who may be having difficulty making ends meet, there may be financial assistance available to you through the Liberal Arts Emergency Assistance Fund or the University’s Student Emergency Fund.
I look forward to crossing paths with you in Sparks Building or elsewhere on campus, or seeing you walk or ride your bicycles outside my office window. It also has been great to see the stream of campus visitors being led across campus, and I trust that this bodes well for the health of our student enrollments.
I will be in touch again soon. Until then, please be safe, be wise, and be well.
Susan Welch Dean of the College of the Liberal Arts
Professor of African American Studies
The Pennsylvania State University
111 Sparks Building
University Park, PA 16802