Happy first day of classes! Now that we are in a new year, I find myself looking both forward and backward, filled with hope and gratitude.
2020 taught us a great deal about what we value – in short, being in community with others. I thank each and every one of you for truly being the difference last semester. As we faced a new semester during a pandemic, you quickly adapted to a new set of protocols and guidelines. And though it was challenging at times, doing so allowed us to offer a safe in-person experience.
I want to also take a moment to especially thank the resident assistants, hall staff and wellness ambassadors who worked tirelessly to serve students and ensure a successful semester. You all make us proud to say, “We Are Marquette.”
As a community, it is also our responsibility to participate in and shape our shared culture. The events at the Capitol earlier this month were upsetting. One of the roles of educational institutions is to prepare our students for democratic participation, for understanding our Constitution and for working toward social justice. This begins with listening to one another, but it’s equally important to learn history and understand the root causes of injustice. Then we must discern how to act and where we can join the struggle for a more just society, as our mission calls us to do.
While there is certainly a lot of work to do, there are also reasons for optimism. We have a community that cares for one another, and that care extends to protecting each other’s health and safety. The COVID-19 vaccines bring hope that we might soon be able to gather with friends and loved ones.
However, we must acknowledge that the pandemic is not over. Please continue to follow all the protocols noted at the end of this letter. While the COVID-19 protocols can be fatiguing, we must remain vigilant in our adherence to the guidelines.
As an additional measure to monitor infections on campus and help slow the spread of COVID-19, Marquette will implement mandatory saliva testing this semester. This will be crucial for us to have a successful in-person experience this semester – and we expect all students to comply. Learn more about how mandatory testing will work.
While the pandemic continues to dictate how we navigate the world, I want you to know that we are very mindful of your well-being. The scheduled mental health days this semester are an opportunity for you to unplug. Additionally, Marquette staff have been hard at work planning safe activities for you. There will be opportunities for prayer, meditation, fun and self-care. Events and programs will be publicized on MARQUEE. And certainly no one would begrudge you using the day to catch up on rest and/or studying if you choose.
Along with everyone who works at Marquette, I am rooting for your success this semester and we are here to support you in your goals. Do not hesitate to lean on your mentors, advisers and faculty for help.
In fact, asking for help is key to taking care of ourselves. Likewise, providing help to those in need is also our duty, as our mission calls us to be people for and with others.
I wish you all the best in your endeavors this year.
Dr. Xavier Cole
Vice President for Student Affairs
Like last semester, we are asking all students to adhere to the following COVID-19 health and safety protocols:
- Wear a mask when in public and around other people. This includes both indoors and outside.
- Limit gatherings to a small number of people and practice social distancing.
- Complete COVID Cheq daily.
Note that completing COVID Cheq each day is an important step in monitoring your health and reducing the spread of the virus on campus. Repeated failure to complete COVID Cheq will result in fines and may escalate to conduct charges.
- If you are selected, comply with the new mandatory testing on-campus.
- Wash your hands frequently and use hand sanitizer.
- Stay home if you feel sick.
- If you are experiencing symptoms or have been exposed to COVID, call the Medical Clinic to schedule a free test at (414) 288-7184.
- If you get tested off-campus, alert the university immediately if you are positive for COVID-19. Any student who is tested off-campus for COVID-19 and receives a positive result must complete the self-disclosure form as soon as you get your results so that proper contract tracing can take place.
- Avoid unnecessary travel. Per guidance from the CDC and the Wisconsin Health Department, all nonessential travel should be avoided. Wide-based community spread of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, continues throughout the United States and many other countries. Travel anywhere outside one’s own current community, domestically or internationally, increases risk of contracting the virus.