Some major and positive changes in our fight against COVID-19 are occurring. Based on these changes, I want people to start thinking about what that means for NDSU:
- Vaccination Availability: I’m sure that most of you are already aware that North Dakota started vaccinating higher education workers a couple of weeks ago, and the ND Department of Health recently announced that all North Dakotans over the age of 16 are eligible starting on March 29. This is incredibly exciting for our community. We are recommending that if you are eligible, you get vaccinated. The vaccinations are free and the ND Department of Health has a vaccination locater page here. You may use compensated work time to receive the vaccinations, and I am asking supervisors to be flexible to facilitate employees’ ability to get vaccinated.
- Return to Work/Classroom: With widespread vaccination availability comes the opportunity to start planning for a return to campus for our remote workers. This will take time, of course. We anticipate that it will take a few weeks for people to receive their first shots (or one shot if they receive the J&J vaccination), and there is a 3-4 week wait for the booster of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccinations. Thereafter, it takes a few weeks for full effectiveness to be achieved.
Complicating these time schedules is the spring academic calendar for NDSU (ending in May) and the local K-12 school systems (ending in early June). In order to help ensure that people are given adequate time to schedule their full course of vaccinations and make appropriate accommodations for child-care, we are expecting a full return to work by no later than Monday, June 7.
Please note that the June 7 date is intended for staff and administration. Information about classes will soon be provided by the provost. However, as I previously indicated in January, if things progressed well, we would expect a full return starting with the fall semester. With the vaccinations being available months ahead of schedule, I am pleased to report that we expect a return to normal in-person education with the fall semester. In short, that means both students and faculty physically in the classroom.
Our internal COVID-19 planning groups will continue evaluating appropriate work-place measure as students, staff and faculty come back to campus. However, the best solution is vaccination, and we encourage each of you to arrange to receive one promptly.
Dean L. Bresciani, President