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Coronavirus Campus Communication 3/25/2022

Coronavirus Campus Communication 3/25/2022

To: Faculty, Staff and Students
Date: March 25, 2022
Re: Campus Communication on Coronavirus

Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff:

I write to announce that the College will safely move forward as a face covering friendly campus on Monday, March 28. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued an evidence driven community tracker tool which publishes COVID-19 community levels.  The tool is used to decide prevention steps to take based on the latest data (hospital beds in use, hospital admissions, and the total number of new COVID-19 cases in an area). Bergen County and surrounding areas are marked as “low” in the tool, whereby the mitigation measures recommended are to be up to date with your COVID-19 vaccine and to get a COVID-19 test if you are sick.  We took a cautious approach in monitoring if there would be any outbreaks or spread on campus after Spring Break.  I report no significant rise in cases that would prompt us to postpone moving toward a face covering friendly campus.  The College’s COVID-19 Dashboards are found here.

Effective 8am on March 28th, the indoor face covering policy will be amended as follows:

  • The majority of the College is considered face covering friendly, which means that any person who wishes to continue to wear a face covering, may do so free from judgment. A face covering friendly campus recognizes that all persons determine what is best for them while being empathetic to the vulnerability and risk that those in our diverse community may be managing;
  • Face coverings will continue to be required in classrooms and labs. Conditions permitting, the plan is to convert the entire campus toward being face covering friendly (including classrooms and labs) by the start of the Summer Session I or May 16th;
  • Outside of classrooms and labs, faculty and staff may determine their own direction for their office and meetings spaces in terms of whether or not to require face coverings;
  • Face coverings are encouraged in high occupancy settings;
  • Face coverings will be required to be worn by any student, faculty, or staff who tests positive for COVID-19, is identified as a close contact, or is experiencing symptoms consistent with COVID-19.  All are required to report these conditions here;
  • Face coverings are required to be worn by those who have left self-isolation/quarantine and those individuals should follow the directions from Health Services or Human Resources regarding the required number of days;
  • Face coverings may be required in performing arts events/activities in the Berrie Center and certain events/activities that are situation specific. In these instances, the face covering requirement will be clearly communicated in advance, but please continue to bring a face covering to campus and be ready to comply in the event that face coverings are required at an event/activity that you plan to attend;
  • Face coverings are required in healthcare settings. All should be prepared to wear a face covering in Health Services, Counseling Services, the COVID-19 Testing Center in Overlook Hall, the COVID-19 Vaccine site in the Pavilion, and when student-athletes are receiving medical attention via athletic trainers.
  • The Federal mandate regarding face coverings and transportation has been extended to April 18th. Face coverings are required of all travelers on College vans, buses (College-operated and other), and any College-sponsored trips via air or train.

I have learned a great deal about how to balance priorities in our two years of navigating the COVID-19 pandemic and how this balance comes with understanding one another.  I invite you to be understanding. If someone asks you to wear a face covering, think about how you want to contribute to the wellness of our community and be a partner. Alternatively, realize that a face covering is not easy for everyone whether it be due to a medical condition or pandemic fatigue. I hope you consider being a reliable ally for those you care about and those who wish to safely live, learn, and work at Ramapo College. Everyone has their reasons.

The Pandemic Assessment Team continues to monitor local conditions and, if infection and transmission rates show concerning levels, the face covering indoor requirement may be restored.

Sincerely,

Melissa Van Der Wall
Dean of Students
Pandemic Assessment Team, chairperson