December 21, 2021
I want to wish everyone a safe and enjoyable holiday break.
This fall semester was certainly a challenging time for our campus community, particularly in light of the ongoing global pandemic combined with the impact of Hurricane Ida. Thankfully, we ended the semester on a mostly quiet note insofar as COVID-19 is concerned, and our students and their families were able to enjoy a relatively normal Commencement experience this past Saturday.
Unfortunately, there is cause for concern as we move into the holiday break and contemplate the upcoming spring semester. The new Omicron variant of the virus that causes COVID-19 has public health officials expressing dire concern about the near future.
This new variant, which originated recently in South Africa, has spread quickly around the world. Although it is so new much of the related research is still inconclusive, it is believed to be many times more contagious than the prior dominant strain. Of most concern, the numerous mutations in the Omicron variant appear to result in it more easily evading immunity conveyed through prior infection or basic vaccination.
Importantly, those who were previously infected and are vaccinated, as well as those who have been vaccinated and received a booster dose, appear to be better protected against infection by the Omicron variant.
Accordingly, I strongly encourage those who have been previously vaccinated to receive a booster dose as soon as possible. Likewise, I encourage those who are unvaccinated to begin the process to become fully vaccinated and boosted as soon as possible.
As always, we will continue to keep our campus community apprised of further developments.
Again, I wish everyone a safe and happy holiday season.
John L. Crain