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Dear Carthage students,

Whether you like your summers eventful or restful, I hope each of you has had a refreshing break so far. There are still a few weeks left to enjoy, but I’m sure the exciting possibilities of a new school year are already stirring about in your imagination.

As our country, Wisconsin, and Kenosha shift away from many COVID-19 protocols in light of the availability and uptake of vaccines and the wish to return to in-person activities, so too is Carthage. We plan a fully residential, in-person education as before, and we are approaching the fall with similar thinking and hopes.

To that end, we have decided that as an institution we will require vaccines for faculty, staff, and students and provide three categories of exceptions to this requirement: medical, religious, and personal conviction.

This decision reflects our understanding that, based on the scientific evidence we have, it is in the health interest of the public and our own community to have as many people vaccinated as possible. Public health officials emphasize that all approved U.S. vaccines are safe and effective against the coronavirus. It also reflects our understanding that by maximizing the proportion of our community that is vaccinated, we can return to in-person, residential education in the safest way and with the fewest protocols.

The decision reflects as well our understanding that there are reasons some people have for not choosing to be vaccinated, and the institution’s commitment to respect the honest expression of those reasons. To the extent that those reasons may be financial or a need for more information, we will facilitate on-campus vaccination clinics to encourage as many people as possible to complete the vaccination process. More details on upcoming vaccination clinics on campus will be posted to our COVID-19 website, Check with your health care provider or local health department for other options; everyone (age 12 and up) living in the United States is entitled to receive the vaccine for free, regardless of whether they are insured.

We will ask all faculty, staff, and students to submit proof of vaccination or express a reason for an exception in one of the three categories, by September 15. Following CDC guidelines, we will ask that those who are unvaccinated wear masks indoors on campus. Like last year, Carthage will conduct population testing to monitor any viral spread. Additional details on new COVID-19 policies and instructions on how to submit your vaccination status/exemption form can be found on the COVID-19 webpage.

Picture campus at its most vibrant again: student organization activities filling the calendar, laboratories buzzing with original research, larger crowds at fine arts and athletic events, and spontaneous residence hall gatherings … all without masks! We look forward to this and more in the year ahead.

John Swallow