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Coronavirus Campus Communication 1/21/2021 – Official Message from the Office of the President

Dear Students, Colleagues, and Friends:

I trust we are all, in our own ways, preparing for the start of the Spring 2021 semester at Ramapo College.

You may be checking and re-checking your course schedule, refreshing your WebEx skills, reviewing your personal and professional goals, or, like my wife, Jackie, and I, perhaps you are also nervously but excitedly preparing for what awaits you after Ramapo. On this latter point, I have shared many “welcome messages” with the campus over the past 16 years. With the exception of “welcoming” Ramapo’s fifth president later this year, it is most humbling to know that this will be the last welcome message I share with you all.

Author and poet Ama Ata Aidoo wrote, “Humans, not places, make memories.”  I provide this rather indulgent introduction for one reason really and that is to make very clear to you that it has been a unique opportunity for me to be able to address you since 2005 and to have cultivated so many fond memories of my time with you as a member of this great College. Even on the darker days, the sunlight has found a way to peek out over the nearby mountains. The calm has always found places to settle in between the storms.

There is much that we should all take great pride in as members of this College, not the least of which is how, despite historic disruption, we have continued to serve and develop our students with compassion and integrity. And in turn, students, you have continued to fuel our efforts through your persistent inquiry, creative thinking, analytical problem solving, and seemingly bottomless reserves of will and agility.

This mutuality we experience as members of Ramapo College will continue to serve us well as 2021 marches on and brings with it continued change, challenge, and reward. Our residence halls are more occupied this semester. We have more course sections being delivered in hybrid format. We are returning to some intercollegiate athletics. We are preparing for virtual visits by presidential candidates.  We are indeed moving forward and moving ahead together.

Our Spring 2021 Operations Plan describes many of the adjustments we have made to ensure our continued productivity. As we begin this semester, one of the significant adjustments to our operations is the implementation of a robust testing strategy for students. This three part testing strategy, which is detailed in the Plan, includes 1) Entry Testing for All Residential Students and Student Athletes, 2) Weekly Surveillance Testing for Residential Students, and 3) Weekly Student Athlete Testing. I encourage you to review the Plan and to heed yesterday’s message from the Pandemic Assessment Team regarding COVID-19 variants, testing, vaccination, and reporting.

Thank you and best wishes for a healthy and productive spring semester.

Peter P. Mercer
President