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Coronavirus Campus Communication 3/16/2020 – Official Message from the Office of the President

Dear Students, Colleagues and Friends,

The health and well-being of our students, faculty and staff continues to be of utmost importance to us as we deal with the significant challenges presented by the coronavirus (COVID-19). As has been communicated to all in our community, we have one employee who tested positive with COVID-19. Local health authorities have completed reaching out to all persons who were identified to have had direct contact with the employee.

In line with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the employee is self-quarantined at home. We wish our colleague a speedy recovery. As previously indicated, for reasons of health privacy, the College cannot provide additional details regarding this case.

Executive Order #104 from Governor Murphy

This afternoon Governor Murphy issued Executive Order 104 which, in pertinent part, limits gatherings/events and orders the discontinuation of in-person instruction at all state colleges and universities until further notice. Relevant excerpts from the EO note:

  • Gatherings/Events
    • All gatherings of persons in the State of New Jersey shall be limited to 50 persons or fewer, excluding normal operations at airports, bus and train stations, medical facilities, office environments, factories, assemblages for the purpose of industrial or manufacturing work, construction sites, mass transit, or the purchase of groceries or consumer good.
    • ”As such, all events of 50 or more people at the College are canceled. Event organizers will be contacted by the Office of Events and Conferences and are encouraged to modify meetings or programs to be delivered remotely or to be rescheduled for a future date. To learn more about the options available for hosting remote/virtual meetings and events, visit the College’s Instructional Design Center website.
  • Discontinuation of In-Person Instruction
    • “All institutions of higher education shall cease in-person instruction beginning on Wednesday, March 18, 2020, and shall cease such in-person instruction as long as this Order remains in effect. The Secretary of the Office of Higher Education shall have the authority to grant a waiver to allow in-person instruction to students on a case-by-case basis where a compelling rationale to allow such access exists. The Secretary of the Office of Higher Education shall coordinate with institutions of higher education to determine appropriate student housing conditions for those students who reside in on-campus housing as their primary residence.
    • ”As such, the College has already ceased in-person instruction. Any requests for exceptions to this practice shall be advanced to the Dean and then the Provost for penultimate consideration by the Office of the Secretary of Higher Education (OSHE). It is the College’s expectation that such requests will be exiguous.
    • In addition, the College is awaiting guidance from OSHE on “appropriate student housing conditions.” At this time, barring any external directive, the College remains committed to providing food and housing for our students and employees who have already signaled to us that they must remain in on-campus residence.

TRAVEL INFORMATION

The Department of State has added additional countries to its list of Level 3: Avoid Non Essential Travel countries. The list now includes: China; Iran; South Korea; Europe (Schengen Area): Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Monaco, San Marino, Vatican City; United Kingdom and Ireland: England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland.

The Department of State requires that all persons returning from these countries stay home for 14 days from the time they left an area with widespread, ongoing community spread and to practice social distancing. Further, in accord with the College’s pandemic protocols, they are also required to present the College with medical clearance from a physician or a community based medical provider (even if symptom free) before returning to campus.

RAMAPO COLLEGE PREPAREDNESS & RESPONSIVENESS

As you are aware, the College remains closed through March 22, 2020. A deep clean of the entire campus is being conducted during this time. After Spring Break, academic courses are scheduled to resume via remote coursework delivery (i.e. not via in-person, on-campus classes) on Monday, March 23, 2020.

Since January, the College’s Emergency Preparedness Team has worked vigilantly to keep our community safe in connection to the coronavirus. We continue to communicate closely with all appropriate authorities including the Office of the New Jersey Governor, the Office of the Secretary of Higher Education, the CDC and local/county health officials. Ramapo will continue to rely on the guidance of experts as we navigate this unfamiliar terrain together.

All of the College’s resources and communications concerning COVID-19 may be found at:  www.ramapo.edu/health/coronavirus-covid-19/

Peter P. Mercer
President