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Coronavirus Campus Communication 3/10/2021

Coronavirus Campus Communication 3/10/2021

To: Students, Faculty and Staff
Date: March 10, 2020
Re: Campus Communication on Coronavirus

Dear Students, Staff, and Faculty:

We write to keep you informed about the coronavirus (COVID-19) and steps Ramapo College is taking to keep our community safe.  While there are confirmed cases of COVID-19 in New Jersey, at this time there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 on our campus, nor have we been informed of any cases under investigation.

Domestic Travel
Effective immediately, all Ramapo College sponsored or supported student, out-of-state domestic travel will be limited, reviewed on a case-by-case basis, and require approval.  We have decided to move in taking this important step due to the spread of COVID-19 in the United States.  In Athletics, all non-NCAA conference travel is cancelled. The domestic travel review process will be in place until May 12, 2020.

Suspension of Events
Given the spread of the disease, the Office of Events and Conferences is reviewing all Ramapo College sponsored or supported on and off campus events and is announcing cancellations and postponements of certain, high density events to the organizers of the events.   We have made the difficult decision to suspend certain events as a way to install social distancing and keep the health and safety of our students, employees, and visitors at the forefront of our response. We relied upon guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention who indicated that COVID-19 is spreading easily and sustainably in the community, otherwise known as “community spread.”  The suspension of select events will be in place until May 12, 2020 and may be re-evaluated at that time.  Staff who have questions about events, which they sponsor, should contact their manager to help facilitate an individualized assessment if the event should be held, cancelled or postponed.

Residence Life Instructions for Campus Housing
Following President Mercer’s message concerning remote instruction from March 23 – April 5, residence areas and limited services will remain open for the students who need to remain on campus (which will include dining options). Specifically, international students and those who are otherwise unable to leave campus housing, will be supported and accommodated. We encourage resident students, to the extent that they are able, to go home.  As you depart for Spring Break, you are encouraged to bring all that you will need for remote academic instruction from off campus.  We must be able to plan for who has a need to stay on campus. Please e-mail the Office of Residence Life at reslife@ramapo.edu by 4:30pm on Thursday, March 12, 2020 if you need to register for on campus housing. Further instruction will be provided by the Office of Residence Life to those who register.

Information Regarding the State of Emergency in the State of New Jersey
Yesterday, New Jersey Governor Murphy declared a State of Emergency. This does not impact Ramapo College at this time. An explanation of what the State of New Jersey means and a Q&A can be found on State of New Jersey’s Office of Emergency Management website.

As indicated on the State of New Jersey’s website the declaration of a State of Emergency provides state aid to supplement local resources in preventing and alleviating damages, loss, hardship or suffering.

  • Authorizes the Governor to speed State agency assistance to communities in need;
  • Enables the Governor to make resources available to rescue, evacuate, shelter, provide essential commodities and quall disturbances in affected localities;
  • Positions the State to seek Federal assistance when the scope of the event exceeds the State’s resources.

Information about the State of Emergency in Bergen County
You may have learned that, in light of a coronavirus-related death in Bergen County (the initial reports show this person was older and had numerous pre-existing conditions), County Executive, Jim Tedesco, declared a State of Emergency for Bergen County.  The declaration means that county agencies can take action to assist municipalities and it provides for numerous orders and directives to protect the health and safety of Bergen County residents.

What If I Am A Student and Sick on Campus
If you feel sick, you should call Health Services, 201-684-7536.  You will be asked a series of questions to help the staff best determine the course of action to be taken.  If it is after business hours, you should call Public Safety, 201-684-6666. As there are many respiratory illnesses at this time of year, including the seasonal flu, you may be counseled as to the best treatment plan for you.  An appointment may be scheduled for you depending on your symptoms, length of the symptoms, and over all medical impression.  In some instances, you may be referred to a hospital if specific testing is required. Please call Health Services to report on your diagnosis and await further instruction.

What If I Came In Prolonged and Constant Contact with a person with COVID-19?
If you believe that you have been in prolonged and constant contact with someone who is symptomatic with laboratory COVID 19, you will need to be tested.  Constant contact is defined as being within 6 feet of a COVID-19 case for a prolonged period of time. You should go to the nearest hospital emergency room either via car or, if needed, by ambulance. Prior to returning to campus, you will need to consult with Health Services, 201-684-7536 and receive clearance.

Prevention Information
There are action steps you can take to prevent and avoid being exposed to the virus.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), you should:

  • Avoid close contact (within 6 feet) with sick people;
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth;
  • Stay home if you are sick;
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, and throw away the tissue;
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe;
  • The CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory disease, including COVID-19;
  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. (Hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol may be used if water is not available.

If you have questions about COVID-19, you may wish to call the hotline set up by the NJ Department of Public Health, 1-800-222-1222.

We will continue to provide resource information on the Health Services website. We receive guidance from local, county, and State officials on how to continue to keep our campus safe and know that some of our measures cause disruption to you, but we must prioritize the health, safety, and well-being of our community.

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