The Charger Blog

University’s COVID Task Force Co-Chairs Recognized for Commitment to Protecting University Community

Summer McGee, Ph.D., and Ronald Quagliani ’93, ’05 M.S., ’14 M.S., have worked tirelessly to keep the University community – and beyond – safe throughout the coronavirus global pandemic. The University’s Lee College has honored them for their exemplary public service.

March 1, 2021

By Renee Chmiel, Office of Marketing and Communications

Summer McGee, Ph.D., and Ronald Quagliani.
Summer McGee, Ph.D., and Ronald Quagliani are the University’s COVID Task Force co-chairs.

When Summer McGee, Ph.D., was pursuing her doctorate in public health, she could never have imagined she’d one day leverage her expertise and training to keep so many people safe and healthy during an unprecedented global pandemic. That, though, is just what she has done over the past year, working tirelessly to ensure the safety of the University of New Haven community, and sharing her expertise with national and international audiences.

A widely-regarded expert in health policy, Dr. McGee is serving as the University’s COVID-19 coordinator. While she realizes the pandemic has been particularly challenging for college students, she emphasizes that it is critical for everyone to continue to follow the University’s safety guidelines. Even though the number of people who are vaccinated continues to rise, the virus still presents a very real danger.

“There is light at the end of the tunnel, but we aren’t out of the tunnel yet,” she said. “It will continue to be critical until our campus and our community have acquired herd immunity that we remain vigilant with steps such as masking, physical distancing, and testing.”

‘Reflective of the hard work of many’

Dr. McGee and Ronald Quagliani ’93, ’05 M.S., ’14 M.S., her COVID Task Force co-chair, have been recognized by the University’s Henry C. Lee College for Criminal Justice and Forensic Sciences for their commitment to keeping the University community safe. The internationally respected Lee College recognized Dr. McGee and Quagliani with a Citation for Meritorious Service for their public safety expertise and dedication.

“While I am truly humbled and deeply appreciative of this recognition – especially since I am a graduate of the Lee College, this award is reflective of the hard work and perseverance of many, many people,” said Quagliani, associate vice president for public safety and administrative services. “I am thankful for Dr. McGee’s leadership, for those on the Task Force and the many others whose daily lives have been transformed into COVID management, as well as the faculty and staff who have accepted, advocated for, and modeled the many policies and behaviors that have been instituted.

“I am especially grateful for the dedication of our students who are living through this pandemic while trying to maintain their focus on their academic goals,” he continued. “I thank them and recognize how disruptive this has been to their ‘normal’ college experience. By complying with these mitigation strategies, it has allowed them to have an on-ground college experience these last few semesters.”

‘It truly takes a village to keep our campus safe’

The themes of the 2020-21 academic year have been vigilance and accountability. Students must wear a face covering when outside of their residence hall rooms, and they must practice appropriate physical distancing, both on and off-campus and avoid large gatherings. All students are being testing weekly as part of the University’s comprehensive asymptomatic testing program. Thanks to the commitment of the community, the number of cases in the University community remain rare and transmission controlled.

“Thanks to the leadership of Dr. McGee and Ron and the entire COVID Task Force, we have been as successful as any institutions in protecting our University community, mitigating the impact of COVID, and continuing to provide a meaningful and rewarding educational experience in and out of the classroom for our students,” said President Steven Kaplan, Ph.D. “This is a significant point of pride for the University, and it is a credit to everyone in our community.”

Like everyone, Dr. McGee and Quagliani are looking forward to the end of the pandemic and to a more “normal” University of New Haven experience for all Chargers. But, for now, they are continuing to focus on keeping everyone safe and healthy.

“It truly takes a village to keep our campus safe, and it would not have been possible without everyone’s input and participation,” said Dr. McGee. “I believe by the summer and Fall 2021 things will be much different and much closer to normal on our campus. Until then, we need to stay the course.”