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Coronavirus Campus Communication 3/11/2020

Coronavirus Campus Communication 3/11/2020

To: Students
Date: March 11, 2020
Re: Campus Communication on Coronavirus

To:  All Ramapo College Students

As indicated in the President’s message yesterday, I write to provide you more specific answers and guidance on policies and procedures as a result of the college’s shift to delivering a vast majority of its coursework remotely.  Let me begin by re-emphasizing the message that has been delivered consistently across various channels which is that there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 on our campus nor have we been informed of any cases under investigation.

Housing and Campus operations
Effective Monday, March 23rd through Saturday, April 4th, the College will deliver a vast majority of its instruction remotely.  We strongly encourage all students that can remain home after Spring Break to continue to do so during the two-week remote instruction period.  As you depart for Spring Break, you are encouraged to bring all that you will need for remote academic instruction with you off campus.  Specifically, international students and those who are otherwise unable to leave campus housing will be accommodated.  We must be able to plan for who has a need to stay on campus.  Last night’s message from Dean Van Der Wall  directed students who must remain in residence to communicate directly with Residence Life via an email to reslife@ramapo.edu by 4:30PM on Thursday, March 12.  During this two week period, the College will remain open.  All student services and facilities will continue operating and be available but some limitations will be implemented as needed.   As you are encouraged to remain home and not live on campus, we also encourage you to utilize remote communications to connect with faculty and to access student services.  For instance, Counseling Services will offer remote counseling for those who remain home, but will also be open for those who must stay on campus.

Remote Instruction for Students
A vast majority of Ramapo classes will be delivered between Monday, March 23 and Saturday, April 4, via remote instruction. This means that the course will not meet face-to-face on campus, but instead, the faculty member will rely on other means to deliver course content and facilitate student learning. One such way a faculty member may choose to do this is via Canvas, the College’s Course Management System. Students can become familiar with Canvas by visiting the Instructional Design Center website and reviewing the section entitled “Canvas Tutorials and Guides for Students”. Approaches to courses that typically involve a physical presence (e.g., science lab, art studio, etc.) will be course specific. Students in courses requiring engagement with external partners (e.g., nursing practicums and student teaching) will take their directive from their dean. Students should await specific instructions from their faculty members.

Student Employment
For those students who work on campus, we encourage you to connect with your direct supervisor about continuing your employment during the two week remote instruction period as some college services may be limited.  Units will be understanding of students’ decisions to remain home during the remote instruction period and continued employment will not be impacted.

Ramapo College sponsored or supported student out of state domestic travel
Further, Ramapo College sponsored or supported student, out-of-state domestic travel will be limited, reviewed on a case-by-case basis, and require approval.  Direct communication on specific programs and travel will come from the head of the unit that is sponsoring the travel.  For instance, Alternative Spring Break and all athletic travel has already been cancelled and communicated through those official channels.

Student Wellness
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.
For questions about coming into contact with a person with COVID-19 and prevention information, please visit the College’s dedicated website to updates on COVID-19 on the Health Services website.

I understand the anxiety and stress that comes with the constantly changing media coverage and guidance as it relates to COVID-19.  If you are feeling concerned about news concerning the virus, contact Counseling Services at 201-684-7522 as they will be addressing all mental health needs of our students.   Students who seek mental health support on nights, weekends and holidays can access the Emergency On-Call Counselor at 201-684-6666.  Please know that the decisions we are making reflect a commitment to our students, faculty and staff as the top priority.  I ask that in times of uncertainty, we rely on facts that emerge and official communication from the College to guide our communications and questions.  We can all play an important role in reducing anxiety on campus by correcting misinformation and following the College’s official communications.  If there are questions, please continue to check the official website on information about COVID-19.

Christopher Romano
Vice President of Enrollment Management and Student Affairs