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Coronavirus Campus Communication 10/20/2021

Coronavirus Campus Communication 10/20/2021

To: Students, Faculty and Staff
Date: October 21, 2021
Re: Campus Communication on Coronavirus

Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff:

We write to share our appreciation for working together in order to ensure that the Fall 2021 operations plan serves as a meaningful approach toward shaping a healthy and vibrant student and employee experience. The Pandemic Assessment Team (PAT) monitors conditions and communicates the most current resources and information. Please bookmark the Health Services website, (which includes campus dashboards) and continue to keep yourself informed of the COVID-19 positive cases we learn of impacting Ramapo College, as well as metrics involving the on-campus testing program.    We appreciate the mutual concern you have had for one another and it shows by our low transmission rates, and as of today, no in-class transmission of the virus.

The following message is intended to communicate information related to the COVID-19 Vaccine Booster, clarify contact tracing at the College, describe what you can do to protect yourself from the flu this season, and provide information about the College’s travel registry.

COVID-19 Vaccine Booster Shot
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the COVID-19 vaccine is an important protector against severe illness, hospitalization, and death.  In order to improve protection against COVID-19, booster shots are now available to eligible persons who received the COVID-19 Pfizer vaccine.  More information about boosters for Moderna and/or J&J should be available soon.  The college is not currently requiring the COVID-19 booster shot, but if you are eligible, you are encouraged to explore this option in consultation with your medical provider.

Circumstances may change, so the PAT is closely monitoring local, state, and Federal resources and will follow guidance from local health officials.  As new information becomes available regarding boosters, the community will be updated.

You may determine that you are eligible and a booster is right for you. The CDC has helpful resources about boosters found here. The NJ COVID-19 Information Hub has information about the COVID-19 booster found here. The on-campus vaccine clinic, offered through Bergen New Bridge Medical Center, has a limited supply of the Pfizer booster for those who are eligible and information can be found here.  The next date for the clinic is October 21 (3pm to 6pm).

Contact Tracing
We write to thank you for complying with the College’s Contact Tracing Unit.  When we have a case of COVID-19 and a member of the Contact Tracing Unit reaches out to those who may have had an exposure, we have a 100% compliance rate – meaning we can always count on you to “return the call.” Contact tracing, along with isolation and quarantine, is just one of the layers of prevention strategies used to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Contact Tracers define close contact as anyone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for a total of 15 minutes or more over a 24 hour period.  As per the local health department, the correct and consistent use of a proper face covering indoors may mean that a person is not considered a close contact to a case. Generally speaking, a contact tracer will analyze who the infected person had contact with 2 days before they had any COVID-19 symptoms, or if asymptomatic, 2 days before the specimen that tested positive was collected.  If you speak to a contact tracer, please be truthful in identifying all of your close contacts.

Thank you to the College’s contact tracers who are playing such an integral role in supporting our community and slowing the spread of the virus.

Importance of the Influenza (Flu) Vaccine
The flu is a contagious disease that spreads from person to person usually from October to May.  The CDC recommends that everyone 6 months of age and older get vaccinated every flu season. The flu vaccine can help reduce the burden on health care systems responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Due to COVID-19, it is more important now (than ever before) that an individual get the flu vaccine.  Any person who is unsure how the vaccine might impact them should consult with their medical provider. In addition to the general population, individuals who are at an increased risk for severe illness, should consider the flu vaccine and consult with their medical provider on how to best take precautions in their daily life.  Please take the time to recognize the difference between the flu and COVID-19, found here.

Employees can register for the on-site Flu Shot Clinic in conjunction with Acme Pharmacy on October 21 and 27th (9:00 am – 4:00 pm) or October 28, 2021 (9:00 am – Noon). The location is the Human Resources Conference room – 1st floor D Wing.  There is no cost for subscribers enrolled in the Horizon BCBS. For employees not enrolled in a health plan through the College, the cost will be $36. Please contact Johnie Burton at 201-684-7230 or with any questions. Further information and available registration times are found here.

Students can receive the flu vaccine through Health Services.  The Flu Clinic is available to all currently enrolled students and is held every Monday through Friday from 9am to 12pm (cost is $20.00 billed to the student’s account).  Students should call Health Services at 201-684-7536 to schedule an appointment (drop in patients will not be accepted). Students with health insurance may wish to access a free, flu vaccine provided through many insurance companies.  For residents in student housing, the CDC strongly encourages getting a flu vaccine during the 2021-2022 flu season.

Travel Registry (International and Domestic)
If you are unvaccinated and must engage in international, domestic, or cruise ship travel, please complete the College’s travel registry questionnaire, found here. If you are vaccinated and engage in international or cruise ship travel, please complete the travel registry questionnaire. By completing the questionnaire, you enable the College to support you with the most current resources and College-specific directions for self-quarantining and/or COVID-19 testing.

What to Do If You Are Sick
If you are not feeling well, you should follow these steps for non-emergencies:

  • Monitor your symptoms.  COVID-19 causes a wide range of symptoms from mild to severe which may appear 2 to 14 days after exposure to the virus.  Monitor if you have a fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, or diarrhea.
  • STAY HOME.  If you are an on-campus resident, DO NOT LEAVE YOUR RESIDENCE ROOM.   If you are a commuter student with classes on campus, DO NOT COME TO THE CAMPUS.  Faculty and staff should stay home if they are sick.
  • Call for medical care.  Students may call Health Services at 201-684-7536 Monday to Friday from 8:30am to 4:30pm.  A member of the Health Services staff will consult with you about your symptoms and an appointment will be scheduled if needed.  Alternatively, you may call your own medical provider and report any changes in your health to Health Services.
  • For 24/7 assistance with medical information from healthcare professionals on symptoms, when to seek medical attention, and proper steps to take if exposed to COVID-19, call 1-800-962-1253.

If you have a medical emergency, you should call 911 and seek immediate medical attention.

  • Emergency warning signs of COVID-19 are: trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion, inability to wake or stay awake, or pale, grey, or blue colored skin, lips, or nail beds depending on skin tone (Note: This list does not include all possible symptoms, so please call your medical provider for any symptoms that are severe or concerning to you).
  • Call 911.  Notify the operator that you are seeking care for symptoms you suspect are COVID-19 related.

Where to Get Tested for COVID-19
New Jersey’s COVID-19 Information Hub, has information about where you can get tested for COVID-19. Community medical providers, local to the College, are open for medical appointments and have COVID-19 testing capabilities. A listing of community medical providers conducting COVID-19 testing is found here.  COVID-19 testing is offered in Health Services for symptomatic resident students Monday through Friday, by appointment only, by calling 201-684-7536.  The on-campus testing site in the Overlook Hall is for surveillance testing only.  Please do not go to the Overlook Hall if you are sick.

If you are a student and have tested positive for COVID-19, are told by a medical provider you most likely have COVID-19, have been exposed to COVID-19, or have a COVID-19 sick individual in your home, please following these directions:

During Business Hours (Monday to Friday, 8:30am to 4:30pm), please contact Health Services at 201-684-7536 or email  After Business Hours: Please call Public Safety at 201-684-6666, so they may notify the on-call Health Staff.

If you are a faculty or staff member and have tested positive for COVID-19, are told by a medical provider you most likely have COVID-19, have been exposed to COVID-19, or have a COVID-19 sick individual in your home, please contact Jill Brown, Associate Director of Human Resources, and or 201-684-7507. If you are reporting a diagnosis after business hours, do not come to campus until you hear from a representative of Human Resources.

Daily Symptom Self-Screening
Symptom screening is a helpful way to self-identify if you may have an illness and should stay home and/or seek medical attention.  In order to reduce the community spread of COVID-19, we ask that you do your part and consult with the Daily Symptom Self Screening for Students, Faculty, and Staff.  Please follow the directions in the Self-Screening tool and conduct symptom screening each day.

Face Coverings
Everyone on campus, irrespective of vaccination status, must continue to wear a face covering indoors. The Face Covering Policy for Students is located here  and the Social Distancing and Face Covering Policy for Employees is here. Face coverings are not required outdoors unless it is necessary due to changing conditions or if an event has the potential to involve sustained close contact with others.

Mental Health Resources
If you are in need of assistance from a mental health professional, students may call Counseling Services at 201-684-7522 for 24/7 support.  For faculty and staff, the Human Resources Department has a number of resources available to you that can be found on their website and on their wellness website.

Additional Resources:
Crisis Text Line:  Text HOME to 741741
Family Helpline (for stressed parents): Call 1-800-843-5437
Trevor Lifeline: Call 1-866-488-7386 (suicide prevention services to the LGBTQ community under 25 years old)
Trans Lifeline’s Peer Support Hotline: Call 1-877-330-6366
Domestic Violence Hotline: Call 1-800-572-7233
Suicide Prevention Hopeline: Call 1-855-654-6735
Veterans in NJ Crisis line: Call 1-800-273-8255, Press 1
NJ Mental Health Cares Helpline: Call 1-866-202-4357

State of New Jersey General Resources
Call 211 for General COVID-19 Questions (24/7)
Call 1-800-962-1253 for Medical COVID-19 Questions (24/7)
Text NJCOVID to 898-211 to receive alerts
Download COVID Alert NJ app here
The State of NJ COVID-19 Information Hub
NJ Department of Health
NJ Vaccine Appointment Support: Call 1-855-568-0545 (8am to 8pm)

Ramapo Specific Resources
Health Services Call 201-684-7536
Roukema Center for International Education Call 201-684-7533
Counseling Services Call 201-684-7522 (24/7; including emergencies)
Human Resources Call 201-684-7498

While so much has changed in such a short amount of time, one element that has not changed is our commitment to togetherness.   Thank you for your support, understanding, patience and kindness toward one another.

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