Welcome back — there’s still more work to do

Well, that wasn’t nearly long enough, was it? After a much needed summer of recovery, the fall semester is in full swing for colleges and high schools across the country. Last year was undoubtedly the strangest and most exhausting academic year I can recall, and though our operations remain far from “normal,” we’re excited to connect with counselors and prospective students over the next few months.

However, I don’t need to tell you about the challenges of last year. Rather, I want to share with you some of the reasons why we’re optimistic. Since the onset of the pandemic, we’ve been working with a team of epidemiologists and research scientists to take necessary action and our community responded incredibly. The number of COVID-19 cases within our community stayed low throughout last academic year, largely due to the partnership we formed and the commitment from our campus community to follow the issued guidelines. To ensure that we’re operating as normally and safely as possible for the 2021-22 academic year, we’ve mandated that all students, faculty, and staff receive the vaccination. Accounting for the limited medical exceptions, Denison University will soon be effectively 100 percent vaccinated. Though we’ve decided to retain some protocols, we’re hopeful to provide an experience that is much closer to the “normal” we’re all looking forward to.

Finally, as we enter another semester that presents less than perfect conditions for students and families across the country, it’s important that we continue to have discussions about how universities like Denison can help families — especially lower- and middle-income families — from widening the gap of economic and education inequality. I encourage you to read the recent Los Angeles Times Op-Ed by our president, Adam Weinberg. I’ll leave you with his words, “College affordability and income inequality are inextricably linked. Putting a college education within reach of more people will go a long way toward making society more equitable.”