|Below, for your reference, is the full text of President Julio Frenk’s video message (above) to the University of Miami community.|
Today is the last day of classes for spring 2021 at the University of Miami. In this historic year, we have worked together to overcome tremendous odds. We made it through this period without a single documented case of in-classroom transmission.
At a time of great uncertainty, one thing we have been able to rely on is each other. As our students prepare to tackle final exams and our seniors look forward to our first in-person commencement ceremonies since the pandemic began, I have three simple messages for our community at the U.
First, thank you. Without your resilience and willingness to make short-term sacrifices for long-term goals, we would not have been able to safely complete two full semesters on campus.
Staying open in a pandemic is not a matter of hoping all goes well; it requires planning and investing in the right tools—from testing to air filtration systems, to upscaling the IT and lab infrastructure needed to adapt and respond to an evolving set of circumstances.
The ways in which we pulled together are a testament to who we are as an institution. UHealth partnered with teams on all of our campuses to keep everyone safe, even as our health care heroes fought COVID on the front lines. The vast majority of our students made our collective well-being a priority. Faculty and staff innovated to keep our education, research, and service moving forward.
As we advance our mission, continuing to do our part for our community will remain top of mind. This brings me to my second message: the importance of vaccination.
Not all our students, faculty, and staff are getting their shots at UHealth—and that’s okay. If you have gotten or plan to get yours elsewhere, please take a moment to upload your records into MyUHealthChart as soon as you can.
Understanding where we are with respect to vaccination is essential to planning for the fall. We all want to resume many of the activities we have missed during the past 14 months. For some it’s the roar of a crowd at football games; for others it’s the dynamic in-person collaboration only possible in a shared space; and for all of us it is the delight of seeing the smile on friends’ faces when our paths cross on campus. Getting to engage in that interaction safely will be linked to the level of immunity at the U and in our surrounding community.
In the second half of May, we will unveil more detailed guidance on a safe return in the fall. As a public health professional, I can tell you one thing for certain: the more of us who are vaccinated, the faster we will get beyond the challenges of COVID and onto the better normal we are helping to build.
The pandemic has disrupted many sectors—perhaps none more than the two in which we endeavor: education and health care. August will be here before we know it, and we will not turn back from the advances we have made in the past year.
This week, we celebrated employees who have given decades to the U. As they have modeled, we will apply the lessons we have learned to make the University even stronger.
That brings me to my final message. The Class of 2021 will soon depart the place they have called home for the past several years. As they do, I am more confident than ever that our ’Cane spirit and resiliency thrive in the face of adversity.
This year’s seniors began their time at the U with Hurricane Irma in their first year and ended with three semesters of adapting to life during a watershed moment in human history.
As they take the next steps on their journey, please join me in wishing them continued health, success, and pride in their impressive accomplishments.
Again, thank you for all of your hard work this year. Get vaccinated and keep us informed. And congratulations to the class of 2021.
We are one U.