Dear Salve Regina families,
As we near the end of our temporary pause, I wanted to send a special note just to you.
I'd like to say thank you for sharing your feedback (both positive and negative), insights, encouragement and, most importantly, your students with Salve Regina. When I reflect on all that we as an academic and mercy community have endured during this pandemic, I am amazed at what has been accomplished.
Together, we have learned with grace and dignity to pivot, plan and pivot again. We certainly have made some mistakes along the way, as so many of our decisions were needed quickly, but I am grateful that we have been able to maintain a campus environment that upholds the legacy of our Mercy founders. At Salve Regina, we deeply value our connections to one another and the importance of every single member of our community. Our Salve Regina families have been equal partners in our work during these challenging times.
Despite the rough start to February, our data now indicate that this pause has helped shrink the number of direct contacts exposed through positive cases. We have also confirmed that the spike experienced on campus earlier this month was due to a lack of compliance and related to several incidents with a high number of direct contacts. Most of those impacted by these events are now out of their isolation/quarantine periods or will be prior to the end of our pause.
Salve Regina has and will continue to see positive cases, but our ability to maintain the standards we set forth at the beginning of this pandemic remains dependent upon all of us doing our part to keep one another safe. If our students continue to comply with established guidelines and safety measures, this will help to keep exposure numbers low and Salve Regina open.
We would deeply appreciate your support in emphasizing with your student the importance of mask-wearing, maintaining a proper social distance and, above all, the avoidance of gathering with others in an unsafe manner on campus, at home or elsewhere.
Students who have already tested positive for the virus need to be aware that their actions over the 90-day period following their diagnosis can still impact others. We have seen the direct result of students within this period of "immunity" hosting gatherings attended by those who were not.
There are still many unknowns surrounding this virus and its variants. Although we are all weary, we need to remain vigilant. We do not want to face another pause or worse, and we know that if we stay strong, there will be lighter days ahead.
Our entire campus community is looking forward to the pause ending on Feb. 16. Faculty who are teaching in-person this semester will continue to do so starting Tuesday morning.
If your student remained on campus throughout the pause, they do not need to participate in reentry testing. If your student chose to leave at any point during the pause or over the holiday weekend, please be sure to read Tuesday's email regarding the reentry process, as it differs slightly from what was done in January.
Thank you again for your patience, support and understanding. I remain confident in our steadfast mercy spirit and our ability to stay strong, together. As I shared in my blog post earlier this week, I came across this quote from Catherine McAuley, and it reminded me of our community: "The blessing of unity still dwells amongst us and oh what a blessing; it should make all else pass into nothing."
All my best,
Kelli J. Armstrong, Ph.D.
President, Salve Regina University