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Coronavirus Campus Communication 3/15/2021

Coronavirus Campus Communication 3/15/2021

To: Students, Faculty and Staff
Date: March 15, 2021
Re: Campus Communication on Coronavirus

Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff:

On Friday, President Mercer’s message to students, colleagues, and friends punctuated the realities of living, learning, and working in pandemic times. In concert with President Mercer’s message, we write to remember that on March 14, 2020, the first COVID-19 case was identified at Ramapo College.  What followed would be over 200 students and employees infected with the virus and disruption to what we knew as typical life.  The public health crisis has touched Ramapo in more ways than one and demonstrative of your ability to embrace “firsts.”  Whether it was your first time adjusting course curriculum to be delivered remotely, your first time wondering how to celebrate a birthday in a pandemic time, or your first time going to a grocery store with a mask on and searching for essential items – we acknowledge that this anniversary likely brings about complicated emotions. In this time of reflection, we write to reinforce the healthy behaviors that reduce the spread of COVID-19 and to share mental health resources.

Healthy Behaviors to Reduce the Spread of COVID-19

  1. The College’s Face Covering Policy remains in effect for students and employees. You are required to correctly and consistently wear a face covering that covers both your nose and mouth. The College’s Face Covering Fact Sheet includes face covering requirements and when to wear a face covering. The exemptions are strictly connected to medical related conditions.  Vaccinated individuals must continue to wear a face covering on campus. The face covering should be a snug fit against the sides of your face without any gaps.  The best protection is a face covering with layers;
  2. Maintain at least 6 feet of distance from others who do not live with you;
  3. Avoid crowds;
  4. Avoid poorly ventilated indoor spaces;
  5. Stay home when you are sick;
  6. Frequently wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds (or use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol);
  7. Consider whether you wish to get vaccinated (when available to you) and discuss vaccination with your medical provider. The CDC has information available to explain the COVID-19 vaccine. New Jersey is rolling out the COVID-19 vaccine in a phased approach.   If you are interested in receiving the vaccine, consult the NJ COVID-19 Information hub for eligibility within the phases. NJ’s COVID-19 Vaccine Call Center, (855) 568-0545 is available 8am to 8pm. For residents outside of New Jersey, please check with your local Board of Health in your county.
  8. Get tested if you have signs or symptoms of COVID-19, or if you think you may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19.

Mental Health Resources

Anniversaries can bring about triggers because you are thinking about what the last year has been like for you and loved ones.  If you are in need of 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
The State of NJ COVID-19 Information Hub
NJ Department of Health
NJ Vaccine Appointment Support: Call 1-855-568-0545 (8am to 8pm)

While the distribution of the vaccine brings forth an optimistic outlook to resume typical activity, please continue to follow the healthy behaviors the Pandemic Assessment Team has continuously reinforced and stay the course.  Relaxing our protocols is something we endeavor to embrace and we will stay in communication with our local, public health officials to best understand how and when to safely do so. The pandemic requires us to remain vigilant in our everyday lives and we appreciate how strong you have been toward meeting our shared goals.


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