11/29/21 Letter from Dr. Tim Miller

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Welcome back JMU!

I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving break. There are only a few weeks left in the semester and I wanted to share some reminders and tips to help you succeed in finals and enjoy your Winter Break.

Our COVID-19 cases have remained relatively low but we saw a small jump just before Thanksgiving break. I want to remind everyone that masks are still required in indoor spaces on campus including classrooms, study areas, meeting rooms and indoor athletic events. We are continuing to see new variants and while I know we are all tired of wearing masks, they are having a positive impact in protecting our community.

Please also remember that we are in flu season and we are seeing an increasing number of cases within the JMU community. Masks have been proven to protect against COVID-19 and can also protect against the flu and other illnesses. I also want to remind you all to bring your own masks with you when you enter buildings. We have all been doing this long enough that we should always know to have a mask with us and I don’t want you to miss out on an activity or class because you don’t have a mask.

Each of us can take some steps to protect ourselves and our community including:

  • Getting the COVID vaccine or booster if you’re able to do so.
  • Getting a flu shot.
  • Wearing a mask indoors.
  • Washing your hands often and disinfecting surfaces
  • Covering your coughs and sneezes.
  • Getting a reasonable amount of sleep, eating healthy foods and drinking plenty of water.
  • If you picked up a COVID-19 take home self-test kit before break, be sure to use the second test to be sure you didn’t contract it while on break.

If you do get sick, the UHC has self-care guides to help you know how to treat it and when you should get care from a medical provider. We are seeing a lot of students in the Health Center who could engage in self-care as laid out in our guides to treat their symptoms. There is also a self-care note that you can use to let your instructors know why you may be missing class. Please note that the UHC doesn’t provide sick notes; they focus on treating our students’ illnesses instead.

Speaking of self-care, it’s important to take care of your mental health too. I want to recommend a few options for all of you including visiting self-care spaces like The Oasis and The Studio, working out at UREC or even just getting a tea or coffee and settling in a quiet space like TDU or the fourth floor of the Union. I find an evening walk around campus can do wonders for my own health and well-being so I hope some of you will join me for a walk every Thursday for the rest of the semester (Dec. 2, 9 and 16) at 6 p.m. starting at the Wilson Hall steps. 

As you plan for Winter break, I encourage you to spend time with those who support you and bring you joy. Try not to overschedule yourself and make time to hang out, relax and recharge. If you have a counselor, therapist or psychiatrist at home, you may want to schedule an appointment for when you’re home. Counseling and psychiatry services are in big demand everywhere, so you should make that appointment sooner rather than later so you can see them over break.

I want you to have a strong finish to the semester and to enjoy the break spending time and relaxing with friends and family. I hope these tips help you and please take care of yourselves as we finish this semester together.

Take care and Go Dukes!

Dr. Tim Miller
Vice President for Student Affairs
James Madison University

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Published: Monday, November 29, 2021

Last Updated: Tuesday, January 25, 2022

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