Happy first day of classes, Niner Nation!
I hope you are as excited as I am to be back on campus and looking forward to gathering, in safe ways, as a community throughout this academic year.
This year brings a lot for us to look forward to — the continued rollout of our new, cohesive brand, the launch of our strategic plan and the celebration of our 75th anniversary. It’s an exciting time to be at Charlotte!
I know many of us hoped we would see this pandemic only in our rearview mirror by now, but we aren’t there just yet. However, I know by working together, we can keep each other safe and healthy and our University moving forward.
I know we can do it, because we already have. During this past year — even during exhausting times, difficult conversations and changing circumstances — one thing has never wavered: the commitment of our students and employees in wanting the very best for their fellow Niners.
It is because of you that we were recently recognized nationally by the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) with an Excellence and Innovation Award for response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This award recognizes the innovation, collaboration and perseverance of every member of our campus community. Thank you for all you have done.
We have learned a lot over the past year and a half. We know that vaccinations, face coverings, social distancing, regular testing and enjoying outside gatherings are effective in keeping people safe and reducing the spread of COVID-19. If we all do our part, we can look forward to seeing a change in infection and positivity rates both locally and nationally.
And here’s good news: Vaccine rates on our campus are growing steadily every day. I am happy to report that nearly 81% of our employees and 67% of our students report being vaccinated as of today.
These rates are good, but let’s make them even better. If you are already vaccinated, let us know. If you still need to be vaccinated, I encourage you to register for this week’s on-campus vaccine clinic on Wednesday, Aug. 25.
If you aren’t vaccinated, make sure you adhere to our fall testing protocols.
Please wear your mask, regardless of your vaccination status. It is required inside, unless you are alone in a personal space, and strongly encouraged outside if you can’t maintain six feet of separation from others.
Working together, we can stay together on campus.
It is truly a privilege to serve as chancellor of this great University. I look forward to seeing you on campus — masked for now, but here. I have no doubt that we will continue to accomplish great things together.
Stay healthy, and Go Niners!
Sharon L. Gaber