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Coronavirus Campus Communication 10/16/2020

Coronavirus Campus Communication 10/16/2020

To: Students, Faculty and Staff
Date: October 16, 2020
Re: Campus Communication on Coronavirus

Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff:

We write to update you about the current rate of transmission for COVID-19 in New Jersey, to provide information about how COVID-19 spreads, and to remind you how to report changes to your health to College officials.

Rate of Transmission
New Jersey is seeing an increase in the rate of transmission for COVID-19.  Yesterday’s rate of transmission was 1.16, or for every 100 people with the virus, they spread it to 116 other people. Any number above 1.0 means each newly infected person, on average, spreads the virus to at least one other person.    Public health officials emphasize how important it is for us to help get the rate of transmission below 1.0.    The COVID-19 activity level in Bergen County was elevated from “low” to now being categorized as a “moderate” COVID-19 activity level.  The moderate distinction is the first time, since the initial peak, that the entire State of NJ has been designated within this activity level.  Since early in the Spring 2020 semester, members of the Pandemic Assessment Team remain in close contact with public health officials from the North West Bergen Regional Health Commission who regularly provide recommendations to help keep Ramapo College a safe place to live, learn, and work.

The development in COVID-19 activity level serves as a sobering reminder that the virus is very much among us and now is not the time to become complacent. We urge you to take personal accountability for upholding the health and safety measures designed to help protect yourself and others.  The simple methods for protection will help reduce the rate of transmission:

  • Perform the daily symptom self-screening
  • Wear a face covering;
  • Practice social distancing (at least 6 feet between each other);
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water (or hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol);
  • Stay home if you are sick.

Recent surges of cases in New Jersey have largely been linked to indoor social gatherings (see more information below under “How COVID-19 Spreads”).  Please keep yourself, your loved ones, and Ramapo College safe by using discretion and caution related to indoor social gatherings.  As a reminder to resident students, the guest and visitation and social gathering policies remain suspended.  College students and young people are routinely attributed to the rise in cases. The facts are that an irresponsible social gathering will trigger the onset of a campus cluster of the virus so stay vigilant in your efforts to combat COVID-19.

How COVID-19 Spreads
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) maintain a guidance document titled “How COVID-19 Spreads.”  While COVID-19 spreads mainly through close contact from person to person (within 6 feet), the CDC guidance discusses the potential for the airborne transmission of the virus in certain circumstances.  More specifically, respiratory particles can linger indoors for a greater period of time and someone can contract the virus if they are more than 6 feet away from an infected person should the indoor space be enclosed and poorly ventilated.  These are very specific circumstances that could contribute to the airborne transmission of the virus and further reason to protect yourself and others while indoors.  The HVAC systems throughout the College meet or exceed CDC recommendations for ventilation requirements.

Reporting
If you have tested positive for COVID-19, been told by a medical provider you most likely have COVID-19, have been tested and are awaiting results for COVID-19, have a COVID-19 sick individual in your home, or have been identified as a close contact please immediately contact the below mentioned College staff.  The College requires you to come forward and talk with us, so that we can provide you with Ramapo-specific resources and guidance.

We will continue to provide resources and information of the COVID-19 positive cases we learn of impacting the College on the Health Services website.  The website also includes important information about what to do if you are sick, where to get tested for COVID-19, the travel registry and contact information for Ramapo-specific resources.

Our community can continue to work toward a healthy and successful semester, but this can only occur if 100% of Roadrunners are serious about following all health and safety measures. We are here to help you cope with these changes to our everyday life.  Students may contact Counseling Services for support (201-684-7522) and employees may contact Human Resources (201-684-7498).  How someone wishes to address the virus in their everyday life will vary from person to person, and we are committed to continue to help you navigate these waters.   We are in this together and sincerely appreciate all that you are doing during these unprecedented times.

Sincerely,

Melissa Van Der Wall
Dean of Students
Pandemic Assessment Team, chair

Debra Lukacsko, MSN, BA, RN, APN, C
Associate Director of Health Services
Pandemic Assessment Team, member