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Coronavirus Campus Communication 5/21/2020 – Official Message from the Office of the President

Coronavirus Campus Communication 5/21/2020 – Official Message from the Office of the President

Dear Colleagues and Friends,

The unique spring 2020 semester has largely come to a close and I may start a petition to adjust the anecdote “Hindsight is 2020” to “Hindsight is Spring 2020.”

Hindsight is Spring 2020

While we were unable to be together on campus for Arching, the Rites of Passage, Student Leader Awards, and other end of year festivities including what would have been today’s Graduate Programs Commencement Ceremony, we were able to advance variations of these events as a result of everyone’s forward thinking and dedication to our students. I wish the very best to the newest members of the Ramapo College Alumni Association. Further, our community raised nearly $15,000 in just a few short weeks for the WeCare Program and COVID-19 Student Relief Fund. I am proud and humbled to have been joined by so many of you in these activities.

Moving Through Disruption

Indeed, our college moved through intense disruption this semester and we learned a great deal about our own institutional capacity, about the resilience of our students, and about the incredible volatility of infectious disease. In this moving through, however, we also moved forward. We adapted to new ways of teaching, advising, collaborating, and problem solving. I believe we have collectively made the best of these trying times and I thank you for your part in it all.

Moving Forward

Despite the many anticipated and undoubtedly unanticipated obstacles before us, we must continue to move forward. Earlier this week we alerted residential students that they will be permitted on campus to retrieve their personal belongings which they hurriedly had to leave behind in March. The College staff has worked long hours in conjunction with the Bergen County Health Department to ensure we can proceed with all necessary safety protocols in place. The move out dates are Mondays thru Thursdays from June 1 to June 18.

Summer 2020

As announced earlier, we will continue remote operations minimally through to June 30 and all summer instruction will be delivered remotely. College operations for the remainder of the summer will either continue to be remote or will reflect a hybrid approach inclusive of some on-site and off-site operations. There will be more to come on this.

Fall 2020

We are actively planning for the Fall 2020 semester. I appointed the Ramapo Return-to-Campus Task Force to develop plans so that we will operate in the fall under the safest conditions. The Task Force will implement the critical actions that must occur in order for the College to: (1) return to work on-campus, (2) return to in-person learning, (3) return to on-campus residential/activity operations, and (4) if needed, adjust to a hybrid learning and/or operational environment. Decisions in this regard will be made on July 15.

State Guidance

Guidance recently issued by the Office of the Secretary of Higher Education advised, “The operating status of an institution will be guided by state Orders that will be informed by the continuous monitoring of health data, the implementation of the recovery plan, and any corresponding guidelines to ensure the health and safety of all New Jersey residents, including our students, staff, faculty, and leadership.” We will of course continue to heed the State’s guidance and decisions as we go forward.

Let me be very clear though, just because we may be permitted to return to normal operations in September or earlier, does not mean that we should or that we will. The health and safety of our students and our employees remains foremost in our decision making.

I realize these are uncertain times for everyone and I do hope you are able to observe and enjoy the upcoming Memorial Day weekend.

Please continue to take care of yourselves and one another.

Peter P. Mercer