By now, I am sure you have seen the increases in COVID cases and hospitalizations in the state of Tennessee and elsewhere. In order to continue to evaluate the situation on campus, a monitoring team has been established, and COVID is a standing agenda item for the weekly meeting of the Senior Leadership Team.
It is not surprising that these outbreaks are generally worse in areas where the vaccination rates are lower. It is also the case that practically all of the hospitalizations and deaths from COVID are among those who are not vaccinated.
We spent last year hoping for a way to end this pandemic. That hope arrived as a vaccine that has been found to be safe and effective, as well as widely available and free of charge. I was fully vaccinated in April. Many of our elected officials have reported to the media that they are fully vaccinated, such as U.S. Senators Marsha Blackburn and Bill Hagerty, U.S. Congressman Mark Green, Governor Bill Lee, State Senator Bill Powers, and State Representative Jason Hodges. More than half of the Republican members of the Tennessee Senate recently signed a letter urging all Tennesseans to get the vaccine.
I am looking forward to the fall semester, and I want everyone to be able to experience Austin Peay’s engaging learning environments and vibrant campus life. The best way to ensure we can continue our normal operations is for our campus family to be vaccinated.
I encourage you to take the opportunity to get vaccinated if you aren’t already, or talk to your health care provider about the vaccine if you have questions. Vaccination is the only way to end this pandemic.