College Pandemic Operations - Status Update

Monday, August 16, 2021

Fellow Educators:

On Thursday, the CDC updated its guidelines essentially removing most restrictions for people who have been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus.  In addition, Governor Lamont announced that the State of Connecticut is ending all business restrictions effective May 19, 2021 and the full return of the state’s workforce by July 1, 2021.  While there is still more to be learned about the vaccines—especially regarding their long-term effectiveness—we are heartened that their demonstrated safety and effectiveness, as well as the willingness of so many people to become vaccinated, have enabled us to get to a point where we can progress toward more “normal” operations.

We fully understand that many of you have questions about what the new guidelines and the Governor’s announcement means for Commencement, summer and fall courses, and the full range of college services and operations.  I ask for your patience, as this is new news, and we will need some time to determine how best to adjust our activities without causing undue confusion and stress for the college community.

Throughout this pandemic experience, we have emphasized the importance of preparation and flexibility.  While we have published comprehensive plans for operating during the pandemic, we have also noted on numerous occasions that the college would adhere to CDC and CT Department of Public Health guidelines and protocols, and would adjust and adapt as those guidelines changed.

Over the next several days, the members of the GCC Executive Leadership Team will be meeting with or otherwise in communication with CSCU, DPH, other colleges, and with each other.  The health and safety of our college community will always be our first priority.  We will be diligent about communicating with the college community, but please do not hesitate to reach out to your supervising dean, any member of the CEO’s cabinet, or our COVID Coordinator (Jill McDowell through June 30, Sharon Aceto beginning July 1) with any questions or concerns that you may have.

The coronavirus will infect who it can when it can—the virus does not care about age, race, employment status, gender, position, title, political views or any of that.  Fortunately, neither do the vaccines—they will protect who they can for as long as they can, and they have established themselves to be remarkably effective at protecting health and saving lives.  For the sake of all of us, and especially for those among us who cannot be vaccinated because of age (i.e., young children) or due to health (e.g., immunocompromised) or other reasons, I am asking and encouraging everyone who is not yet vaccinated to become vaccinated and to get us ever closer to “Community Immunity.”