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President's Message

Reflections on the 20th anniversary of 9/11

Dear Members of the Widener Community,
 
Today we mark the 20th anniversary of 9/11. A reverberating shock etched in our memories; a day that changed our communities and our country; a harrowing tragedy that caused terrible, painful loss for so many families. For those families who lost loved ones and friends, and for any of you who may have been directly impacted by the aftermath of the horrific attacks, we continue to grieve. The shock and pain remain raw two decades later. As always, campus counseling services are available to support students, faculty, and staff.
 
At Widener, we stand together as a community, ever resilient and eager to serve, honoring the heroism and courage of our first responders, our veterans, and those of us who simply reach out with care and an open heart seeking to help fellow community members, to understand the stranger, to find common ground, to heal pain, and to seek peace. 
 
Widener is a university dedicated to creating better futures. We are reminded on 9/11 of our individual responsibility and power to make a positive difference in our communities and our world. It is my sincere hope that we collectively embrace this responsibility and respectfully care for one another today and every day.
 
With deep sadness for the lives lost and the ongoing wounds of 9/11, and also gratitude for the opportunity to shape a brighter, safer future,
 
Julie E. Wollman, PhD
President

Share link: https://www.widener.edu/news/leadership/reflections-20th-anniversary-911

Dr. Julie E Wollman
President's Message

Update on Widener's Fall Semester and Pandemic Response

Dear Widener Community,

We’ve crossed the two-week mark of the fall semester and I want to thank everyone for contributing to a very positive start. It is great to be back together! Widener is a highly vaccinated community.  More than 97% of our entire campus community is vaccinated, and others either have approved exemptions or are on leave. Our entire on-campus student vaccination rate is 98.2 percent and our entire on-campus employee vaccination rate is 94.4 percent.  With the addition of our masking policy, we are one of the few institutions that are providing this strong combination of safety measures to protect students, faculty, and staff against COVID-19 and its variants.

While national infection rates are at concerning levels, it is important to remember public health information has shown the majority of those testing positive and experiencing serious illness are unvaccinated. 

Throughout the pandemic, Widener has experienced zero cases of classroom transmission of the virus.  In the first two weeks of this semester, we have posted just six positive cases in total from our three campuses; none involved classroom transmission. We attribute this low number to our careful planning and our commitment to the health and well-being of our community.

We recognize positive and breakthrough cases are an unsettling reality, and we are prepared to handle them. Anyone who tests positive must contact Student Health Services immediately. Student Health Services will conduct contact tracing and reach out to close contacts of those who test positive, while keeping health status confidential for all involved. Close contacts will also be offered testing and provided more instruction. The university is prepared with space dedicated for student isolation and quarantine if needed.  

Widener develops its COVID-19-related plans by carefully monitoring information coming from the Centers for Disease Control and health departments in Pennsylvania and Delaware, where our campuses are located.  We rely on input from our Health Advisory Group, comprised by public health experts and our Crisis Management Team, Provost’s Council, President’s Leadership Team, Education and Enforcement Group, and multiple task forces that have included faculty and staff, an industrial hygienist, and students. Our efforts are tireless, and ongoing.

As this work continues, we encourage on-campus events and activities to be held outdoors whenever possible. And we’re asking that everyone in the Widener community also does their part. Stay home if you are sick. Wash your hands. Follow our masking policy, which is explained in detail on our Coronavirus Information webpage and will be updated there if changes are made. Seek testing if you feel ill, or if you are identified as a close contact of someone who is. 

Our goal is to provide the most robust in-person learning experience possible under challenging circumstances that are constantly evolving. I am grateful for your cooperation and your commitment to keeping our Widener community safe.

With Pride,
Julie E. Wollman, PhD
President

Share Link: https://www.widener.edu/news/leadership/update-wideners-fall-semester-and-pandemic-response

President's Message

Widener's Vaccine & Booster Requirement

Dear Widener Community,

The U.S. Supreme Court blocked OSHA’s COVID-19 vaccine and testing mandate that called for large employers to either require the COVID-19 vaccine, or test workers for the virus. Under the decision, workplaces like Widener may still choose to require their employees be vaccinated or test regularly. This action does not change Widener’s policy requiring vaccinations and boosters for our employees and students.

We adopted our vaccination and subsequent booster policy to help protect the health and well-being of our community. Vaccines and boosters have proven to reduce severity of illness and hospitalizations. And based on the CDC’s updated guidelines, anyone fully vaccinated and boosted is no longer required to quarantine after an exposure to someone with COVID if they continue to wear a mask for 10 days.

With every member of the university community compliant with our vaccination policy, we can minimize time lost and more effectively keep everyone learning, working, and engaging with one another in person on our vibrant campuses. If you have not received your booster and uploaded your updated card, please do so as soon as possible. The deadline is Friday, January 21st.

Although it has peaked in our region, as the omicron variant continues to spread, we anticipate that cases may increase with our return to in-person classes on January 24. We expect this increase to be temporary and not to disrupt our plan for in-person classes.

Masks are another important layer of protection and will continue to be required indoors on our campuses. We strongly recommend wearing an N95, KN95, or KF94 mask, or double masking with a cloth mask and a surgical mask. These options provide the best defense for you, and for everyone in our university community.

As always, you must stay home when you are sick or have any symptoms.

Health care is a personal responsibility and amid a public health crisis like COVID-19, it also becomes a community responsibility. We appreciate all you do to keep our community healthy and to allow us to return to the in-person experience we value so highly.

With pride,
Julie E. Wollman, PhD
President

Share Link: https://www.widener.edu/news/leadership/wideners-vaccine-booster-requirement