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Letter to the Editor: USJ Plans Safe Return for Students this Fall

University of Saint Joseph. Photo credit: Ronni Newton (we-ha.com file photo)

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Dear West Hartford Neighbors:

Since 1932, when the Sisters of Mercy established Saint Joseph College, now the University of Saint Joseph, we have been proud to call West Hartford home. During these past 88 years, we have embraced our host community and welcomed our neighbors on campus for athletics, recreation, art, religious services, performances, academic events, and so much more.

Shortly after the University shut down campus operations in March, we began planning for reopening. We are currently planning to reopen campus for classes this fall using the state’s guidelines to minimize the risk of COVID-19 transmission, and we want to let you know what we are doing to reopen safely.

This Saturday, Aug. 15, undergraduate students begin to arrive on the West Hartford campus. I am confident in our ability to safely educate and house students on campus because of the diligent work by faculty and staff over the summer. They developed plans, policies, and protocols for the health, safety, and well-being of the USJ and West Hartford communities.

Many of USJ’s qualities support a safe re-opening, and ensure that our neighbors are not adversely affected by our reopening. Among those qualities are our small class sizes and self-contained campus. Additionally, the vast majority of USJ’s students are from Connecticut or live within 100 miles of campus. This fall, fewer than 15 residential students are from states currently on Connecticut’s Travel Advisory list. They will be required to arrive with a negative COVID-19 test result administered by an approved clinic, and will be quarantined in a residence hall for two weeks. During this time, these students will not be allowed off-campus.

Our Reopen Fall 2020 page, which has been available since March on our website and regularly updated throughout the summer, will continue to have current campus information including an overview of the proactive safety measures we are implementing.

We understand the impact that USJ has on our hometown and will take all possible steps to protect that health of our neighbors. If you have questions or concerns, please email [email protected].


Rhona C. Free


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