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Coronavirus Campus Communication 3/4/2020

Coronavirus Campus Communication 3/4/2020

To: Students, Faculty and Staff
Date: March 4, 2020
Re: Campus Communication on Coronavirus

Dear Students, Faculty & Staff:

Ramapo College is actively monitoring the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.  As of today, there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 on campus or in the State of New Jersey. We write to outline the steps the college is taking to monitor the outbreak and to communicate ways our campus is prepared for being a safe place to sleep, study, and work, as well as provide advice for the upcoming Spring Break.

Cancellation of Ramapo Sponsored or Supported International Travel
Following a recommendation from the Pandemic Assessment Team, the President’s Cabinet has approved cancellation of all Ramapo College sponsored or supported international travel, scheduled to take place through the end of Spring 2020. The College will review future international travel at a later date. Impacted participants will be receiving a dedicated message that outlines next steps.  Student travelers with questions may call the Roukema Center for International Education at 201-684-7533 or the Center for Student Involvement at 201-684-7593. Employee travelers with questions may call Human Resources at 201-684-7506.  The decision to cancel these important and engaging experiences was a difficult one. We did so out of an abundance of caution because travel to and from countries, quarantine requirements and available transportation options change rapidly.

Ramapo College sponsored or supported domestic trips are continuing as planned, but the College will continue to monitor the situation.

Additional College Steps Taken Thus Far:
The College has already taken steps to be proactive and mitigate risk on campus.

  • The staff in the Roukema Center for International Education are regularly communicating with the students who are currently studying abroad.
  • The students who are currently studying abroad in countries with a CDC travel advisory of 3 or greater, are departing the country and, out of an abundance of caution, will be self-isolating, off campus, for 14 days.  The students will be medically cleared before returning to campus. The students are being provided with individualized guidance and have arrangements and accommodations being managed by the Roukema Center and Academic Affairs.
  • Students interested in the May undergraduate program to China have received alternative options. The Fall 2020 MBA programs to China are currently being evaluated for an alternative program in the event that we need to implement a contingency plan.
  • College officials in the Roukema Center, Student Affairs, and Health Services are monitoring the situation and making recommendations to the President’s Cabinet;
  • The Associate Director of Health Services has routine calls with the Bergen County Department of Health to receive current guidance;
  • Updates regarding the virus are posted to the Health Services website https://www.ramapo.edu/health/ and travel updates are posted to the Roukema Center website: https://www.ramapo.edu/international-travel/;
  • Campus partners are being proactive in examining the College’s camp and conference schedule for Summer 2020, as many partners visit with the College from international areas.

Preparing a Safe Place to Sleep, Study and Work
Facilities has been proactive and installed new hand soap dispensers around campus to encourage hand washing.  In addition, more than 50 new wall-mounted hand sanitizers are being installed across campus at building main entrances.  A focus on cleaning high-touch areas around campus is underway in addition to the regular daily cleaning of campus.

Spring Break (March 16-March 20)
With Spring Break approaching, you may have questions regarding how the spread of COVID-19 could impact your upcoming travel plans. The current outbreak of COVID-19 is spreading quickly worldwide.  This new virus causes mild to moderate respiratory illness and, in some cases, serious medical complications.  Ramapo College is following the expert national and international recommendations regarding the outbreak.  The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html and The World Health Organization https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019 websites are important resources for any updates and alerts related to health, safety, and travel.  We recommend that you review the information on these websites before you consider travel and stay current with CDC travel health notices: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices.

If you plan to travel abroad, check the entry and exit requirements for the U.S. and your intended destinations before your departure and your return.  Many countries have instituted restrictions and quarantines for travel in and out of the country that may directly affect you.  Please be mindful that travel restrictions can change with little or no advanced notice and airlines may change or cancel flights based on these recommendations.

While traveling, remember to:

  • Wash your hands (for at least 20 seconds) frequently with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer;
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands;
  • Do not share foods or drinks;
  • Clean and disinfect hard surfaces.  Wipe them down with disinfectant wipes including airplane seats, trays, & hand rests;
  • Avoid close contact with anyone with cold or flu-like symptoms;
  • Cover a cough or sneeze with a tissue and throw away the tissue;
  • Do not leave your hotel or resort if you are sick.  Call the local health care providers for instructions.

The College has an Emergency Preparedness Plan and assembles teams that are charged with carrying out a variety of duties associated with an emergency.  The Plan, in its entirety, can be accessed via the Ramapo College Intranet: https://web.ramapo.edu/emergency/preparedness-plan/.  The Pandemic Plan is located in Section IV.

We recognize that news of the virus may be upsetting to you and that you may have loved ones in areas impacted by the virus.  Students should reach out to Counseling Services (201-684-7522) and employees should reach out to Human Resources (201-684-7506) if you are feeling concerned about the reports of this virus.

The CDC has indicated that the current risk, of contracting COVID-19, to the American public is low – at this time.   The safety and well-being of our students, faculty, and staff are our top priority and will remain at the forefront of our response.   We will continue to keep the campus updated as the situation warrants.

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