|Below, for your reference, is the full text of President Julio Frenk’s video message (above) to the University of Miami community.|
As families across the country look to the traditional start of summer vacation with the observance of Memorial Day this weekend, I want to provide some additional details about our plans for the fall.
First, I want to offer a warm welcome to our new incoming students and their families. Although orientation is still several months away, we are delighted to include you in our first summer update.
I am also delighted to welcome students who will join us on campus after one or two semesters of remote learning, as well all those who lived with us the unprecedented experience of safe in-person education in the midst of a pandemic.
This year’s incoming class boasts one of the most competitive student profiles in UM history. Choosing to resume on-campus instruction this past year and doing so safely with zero cases of in-classroom transmission, helped us draw a record number of fall first-year applications—more than 42,000.
The result was not only a wealth of talent, but one of the most ethnically diverse classes to ever choose the U. Our hope is that we will be able to offer both new and returning students an experience rich in the types of interactions only a University of Miami education can provide.
Two weeks ago, our resumption of in-person commencement ceremonies signaled palpable progress in the fight against COVID-19. Indeed, while areas of concern remain in the global picture, here in the U.S. infections, hospitalizations, and deaths continue to decline as more and more people get vaccinated.
Our policies on campus are evolving in accordance with CDC guidance. Earlier this week, we announced that the use of face covers in outdoor settings is no longer required on any University of Miami campus and that faculty, staff, and students no longer need to complete the daily symptom checker to enter University buildings.
Our strategy is based on the expectation that those who choose to learn and work at a comprehensive research university are relying on science to make reasoned decisions. COVID-19 is a vaccine-preventable disease, and we strongly encourage all members of our community to get inoculated.
For students, consistent with Florida law, vaccines are not mandated but strongly encouraged. The freedom to choose whether to get vaccinated comes with the responsibility to keep each other safe. Students who are fully vaccinated by August 1 will find less onerous pre-requisites for full participation in campus life.
As announced this week, we are now piloting some of the practices we hope to continue into the fall. For instance, any student who is fully vaccinated and who has provided proof of vaccination to the University via a MyUHealthChart account is exempt from COVID-19 surveillance testing. Students who have not provided proof of vaccination and plan to be on campus will be required to test two times per week. Other than at our hospitals and clinics, where face covers are still mandatory, faculty, staff, and students who have been fully vaccinated and are asymptomatic
no longer need to wear masks indoors in administrative areas. At this point, the use of masks is still required in classrooms, but we will adjust this policy according to the proportion of students who are fully vaccinated.
All faculty and staff members who directly interact with students, researchers, or instructors are expected to safely return to campus by August 1, with other staff support functions returning in a hybrid, phased approach over the fall. Vaccination will be required for employees, subject to certain exceptions. The safety of our campus community as a whole will remain the priority.
Next week, students will receive additional details about our protocols for the fall semester, while faculty and staff members will learn more about our return-to-work policies.
We look forward to continuing our journey together, as we emerge from this once-in-a-century pandemic and evolve from our quintessential University of Miami resilience into a season of rewarding renewal.
Thank you for the many ways you are helping to get us there. Have a safe summer, and we look forward to seeing you in August.
We are one U.