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Coronavirus Campus Communication 11/21/2020

Coronavirus Campus Communication 11/21/2020

To: Students, Faculty and Staff
Date: November 21, 2020
Re: Campus Communication on Coronavirus

Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff:

We write to keep you informed about the community spread of COVID-19, to provide Thanksgiving risk reduction strategies, information about holiday travel, and safe practices for gatherings.

Community Spread
New Jersey is experiencing an uptick in the number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.  Governor Murphy has urged residents to “double down” on wearing face masks, social distancing, and hand washing.  Please remember to consult with the College’s Daily Symptom Self Screening and stay vigilant in combatting COVID-19.  State officials have attributed the increase in cases to indoor gatherings, mostly in private homes.  The facts are pointing toward individuals’ personal and social activities contributing toward the 2nd wave of COVID-19.  If you decide to participate in social activities, please review this helpful guidance document from the CDC.

Thanksgiving Risk Reduction Strategies
As per President Mercer’s message on November 20, the campus will be following Governor Murphy’s recommendation to hold all courses remotely (effective 11/30) and residence areas will close.

Resident students are encouraged to seek a COVID-19 test prior to arriving home for the holiday (see list of community providers for COVID-19 testing below).  Any student who learns of a positive result must report this to Debra Lukacsko, Associate Director of Health Services, dlukacsk@ramapo.edu. If a resident student tests positive, they will be encouraged to isolate on campus or discuss options for their safe travel home with the local health department.  These steps will help mitigate the threat of college students returning home and importing the virus into their communities.

Thanksgiving and Travel
On November 19, the CDC issued strong guidance against traveling for Thanksgiving.  The CDC recommends individuals to celebrate Thanksgiving, at home, with the people they live with.  The guidance states that traveling may increase your chance of getting and spreading COVID-19. Postponing travel and staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others this year.

We ask that you consider what your Thanksgiving activities were before you return to campus (for those employees and students who remain on campus after November 30).  The State of New Jersey has issued an incoming travel advisory that all individuals entering New Jersey (both travelers and NJ residents) from states with a significant spread of COVID-19 should self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival.  A list of the impacted states can be found here.

If you must engage in personal, international travel (to any country) or domestic travel to any of the states on the NJ travel registry, please complete the College’s travel registry questionnaire for any travel between now and December 31, 2020. Students and employees will be directed to self-quarantine, off campus, for 14 days after returning from travel, monitor their health, and practice social distancing. Students will be guided and cleared for return to campus by the Associate Director of Health Services. Employees will be guided and cleared for return to campus by the Associate Director of Human Resources.

Safe Practices for Gatherings
During this time of an increase in community spread of COVID-19, we ask that you consider the current climate as you plan to be with your loved ones this holiday season. Governor Murphy has issued Executive Order 196, which states the number of individuals at indoor gatherings is limited to no more than 10 persons. As a reminder to resident students, the guest and visitation and social gathering policies remain suspended.

The CDC offers guidance on how to keep yourself and others safe during holiday celebrations. We encourage you to review the areas that pertain to you and decide which mitigation steps work best to keep you and your loved ones safe.

The State of New Jersey COVID-19 Information Hub provides further guidance on safe practices for celebrating Thanksgiving and have emphasized that indoor gatherings are dangerous places for COVID-19 to spread.

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. Below, are local community providers who have COVID-19 testing capabilities.

City MD, Ramsey 551-497-5679
City MD, Paramus 551-222-0800
Doctor’s Inn, Ramsey 201-785-0011
The Doctor’s Office, Midland Park 201-857-8400
Rite Aid, Waldwick, 201-670-1022
Synergy Health, Montvale 201-677-8680
Valley Health Urgent Care, Mahwah  1-800-Valley1
CVS, Mahwah 201-529-5930

Reporting
If you have tested positive for COVID-19, been told you most likely have COVID-19 by a medical provider, 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.

If any member of the community becomes aware of a student, faculty, or staff with COVID-19 or under investigation for COVID-19, you may share this information with Debra Lukacsko (for students) or Jill Brown (for employees).

Resources
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 “NJ” to 741741
Family Helpline (for stressed parents): 1-800-843-5437
Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-572-7233
Suicide Prevention Hopeline: 1-855-654-6735
NJ Mental Health Cares Helpline: 1-866-202-4357
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 Pandemic Assessment Team provides resource information on the Health Services website.  Please bookmark the Health Services website and continue to keep yourself informed of the COVID-19 positive cases we learn of impacting Ramapo College, access to a new dashboard listing the on-campus self-isolation/quarantine beds in use, and updates to the travel advisory.  The virus is dangerous and continues to threaten our everyday spaces, but you can do your part to prevent the spread. The CDC continues to emphasize hand washing, face coverings, social distancing (at least 6 feet of distance between yourself and others), stay home if you are sick, and to avoid poorly ventilated indoor spaces.  Please review the “Things to Know About the COVID-19 Pandemic” document from the CDC which also includes a helpful reminder about how to best cope with the stress of the pandemic.  Thank you for staying vigilant and committed toward safeguarding our campus and protecting each other.

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