Thursday, Dec. 9, 2021

Dear Students,

I hope you had a wonderful fall semester filled with success, learning and friendship. It has been an absolute joy seeing our campus slowly return to the vibrant community we love. As I've said repeatedly, we could not have made this happen without the kindness and care you've shown for one another throughout the global health pandemic. I couldn't possibly be any prouder of our Mean Green Family.

As we head into the holiday season, many of us will be traveling and spending time gathering with family and friends to celebrate. I urge you to continue protecting one another and those you love by following the latest advice from public health officials and using the utmost caution in decision making. Of course, the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones is to get vaccinated if you can. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), unvaccinated people are six times more likely to become infected with the virus than those who are vaccinated, and they are 11 times more likely to die from the condition. Currently, people age five and older are eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccines, and everyone over the age of 18 who received Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines may get a booster shot based on their individual risks and benefits.

I encourage you to take advantage of our free COVID-19 testing options as well and continue to wear face coverings in crowded indoor spaces. And, of course, if you're sick, please take the time to rest and recover before joining any holiday festivities, both for your personal health and to mitigate any further spread of the virus.

You can always find the most up-to-date information about vaccines, testing and public health guidelines on our Health Alerts website. I wish you a break filled with rest, family, friends, joy and good health. I look forward to seeing you all again in January.

Happy Holidays,
Neal Smatresk
UNT President