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Coronavirus Campus Communication 12/15/2021

To: Students, Faculty and Staff
Date: December 15, 2021
Re: Confirmed COVID-19 Cases

We write to confirm that another outbreak of COVID-19 has been confirmed for our campus. As per requirements issued by the US Department of Education, Ramapo College is required to notify the community in the event of a COVID-19 outbreak. According to the New Jersey Department of Health, an outbreak in the higher education setting is defined as 3 or more laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases among students or staff within a 14-day period, who are epidemiologically linked, meet criteria for higher education-associated cases, and were not identified as close contacts of each other outside of the college setting during standard case investigation or contact tracing.

On December 14, 2021, a student contacted Health Services to report their COVID-19 confirmed diagnosis. The student is isolating off campus. Case investigation ensued and two additional students tested positive for COVID-19 and are isolating off campus. The cases are connected to a social gathering in a Village Apartment believed to have occurred on the evening of December 10-11, 2021. The College’s Contact Tracing Unit is in the process of notifying the close contacts and providing them with the necessary health and safety requirements detailed by the College. If you attended a social gathering in Quad I (Units 1-8) Village apartments from December 10-11, 2021, please make contact with Health Services at 201-684-7536.

The College consults with public health officials from the North West Bergen Regional Health Commission about confirmed positive COVID-19 cases on campus and strictly follows their guidance and recommendations.
While the uptick of cases on our campus is reflective of the increase in cases among our surrounding communities, it is still a concern. We are actively working with county public health officials and continue to be grateful for their responsiveness and guidance. In addition to the mitigation strategies that were shared yesterday, and are shared again below, the College has taken additional measures that are effective today. These additional measures include:

  • suspension of the social gathering and guest and visitation policies in all residence areas,
  • cancellation of all large College-sponsored events with food between now and the end of this month,
  • encouragement of residential students that are not displaying any COVID-19 symptoms to participate in Surveillance Testing in order to know their health status before traveling home, and
  • encouragement of all residential students to depart campus after their last final.

Additional personal mitigation strategies are outlined below.

How to Protect Yourself and Others

Make it a point to review prevention information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on a daily basis. Below is a summary of prevention steps, but please access the CDC site for the comprehensive information about prevention.

  • Get vaccinated. Authorized COVID-19 vaccines and boosters can help protect you from COVID-19. The College recently announced new opportunities for appointments at its on campus clinic;
  • Follow the College’s Face Covering Policy;
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick. Unvaccinated individuals are required to maintain 6 feet of social distance from others when practical;
  • Avoid crowds and poorly ventilated spaces;
  • Wash your hands often. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not available, you can use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands;
  • Stay home if you are sick (except to get medical care). Do not, under any circumstances, come to the campus if you are sick. Follow directions for reporting to college officials if you are diagnosed with having COVID-19, had an exposure or are experiencing symptoms;
  • Always cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue (and throw it away) or sneeze into the inside of your elbow. Immediately wash your hands for 20 seconds with soap and water (or use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol);
  • Clean and disinfect frequently-touched surfaces; and
  • Always monitor your health via the College’s Daily Symptom Self Screening for Students, Faculty, and Staff and be alert for symptoms of COVID-19.

For additional information related to the College’s response to COVID-19 and campus dashboards, please access COVID-19 Information and Updates. As COVID-19 cases rise across the U.S, it is important that you take responsibility for your health and remain vigilant toward slowing the spread.