Dec. 24 Message to Graduate/Professional Students: Updates Starting January 2021

To Our Graduate and Professional Students:

We first want to express our gratitude to each of you for all that you did to help Case Western Reserve reach this moment: the end of campus operations for 2020 and a fall semester that saw our community unite to keep one another as safe and successful as possible.

We approach 2021 with great hope for the impact of widespread COVID-19 immunizations later this year, as well as grave concern about projections for even higher case counts in January and February. In response, we have worked to identify lessons from this fall to inform our plans for the upcoming semester.

With the caveat that new developments may require changes and updates, below are some of the most significant aspects of our approach to spring:

  • Location Information: As noted Tuesday to undergraduates, ensuring that the Student Information System includes your most current residence is an essential step. This data is critical for our COVID-19 responses—including those related to your well-being—as well as other emergency matters and instructional ones. Please update your entry in SIS—including contact information—no later than Monday, Jan. 4.
  • COVID-19 Testing: Our ability to secure significantly more COVID-19 tests in late October allowed significant expansion of our surveillance testing. When Ohio’s surging November caseloads prompted curfews and stay-at-home advisories, we mandated weekly testing for anyone coming to campus. We will continue to require weekly COVID-19 tests in the new year, and are adding new processes to address non-compliance, first with reminders and then more aggressive measures.
  • Extending Work from Home to Jan. 8: Earlier this week, the university informed faculty and staff that the work-from-home directive issued Nov. 19 (and then extended through Dec. 23) would continue through Friday, Jan. 8. We note this development here for those students whose research or other campus activities may be affected; please contact your advisor and/or supervisor for specific guidance.
  • Expanded Child Care Offerings for Students: Next semester, the child care subsidy for students will be increased to $800 (33% more than this semester) and cover care for children in kindergarten through sixth grade (two more grades than during this semester); more information about how to apply will be available in January.

    In addition, One to One Fitness is expanding its program to offer up to nine hours per day of child care (versus up to three this semester) at a rate of $4 per hour for students. This service is available only by appointment; for more information please visit the One to One website. Finally, the university is continuing its $1,000 subsidy for select programs at The Music Settlement
  • COVID-19 Vaccines: We appreciate that news coverage of administration of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines nationwide—and, more specifically, for frontline health care workers in Northeast Ohio—has raised both expectations and questions.

    For now, please know that university officials are pursuing multiple options to secure doses for our community. That said, as of now, the existing supply relative to demand is minute (in Ohio, well below 1% of the population); we will update the campus as more information becomes available.

Please have a safe, healthy, and restorative winter break, and thank you again for your efforts to limit COVID-19 transmission during the fall semester.

Ben Vinson
Provost and Executive Vice President

Lou Stark
Vice President for Student Affairs