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Coronavirus Campus Communication 6/18/2020 – Official Message from the Office of the President

Coronavirus Campus Communication 6/18/2020 – Official Message from the Office of the President (message for employees)

Dear Colleagues,

Having been on campus these last few weeks for the residential student move out, it has been comforting to see many of you again in-person, and I am greatly looking forward to our gradual return to campus.

Last week, Governor Murphy lifted the stay at home order that had been in effect since the height of the COVID-19 outbreak and today he released Executive Order 155 which allows for limited in-person instruction starting in July. In light of this and the ongoing work of our Return to Campus Task Force, the College anticipates bringing employees back to campus in several phases over the coming weeks. Summer remote coursework delivery will continue as planned, and no face-to-face classes are being held during the summer terms. By Wednesday, July 15, 2020, we will announce how the Fall 2020 semester will proceed based on the comprehensive work and planning done by the Return-to-Campus Task Force and its Subcommittees.

Phased Return
A phased and staggered return to campus for employees, that is largely predicated on function and unit space configurations, will likely start Monday, July 6, and expand into the Fall. This approach is necessary so that we can take the proper precautions with respect to environmental health and safety, foster an appropriate level of service delivery for our students, and work with employees for whom the transition back to campus may be more complicated. Vice Presidents will be discussing plans with their units soon.

What to Expect
In accord with guidance from the State of New Jersey, the CDC, and our own Pandemic Assessment Team, Ramapo employees should expect the following when returning to campus:

  • To wear face coverings (and other protective equipment as needed) when in public areas and engaging in direct contact with students and others,
  • Office space reconfigurations that foster social distancing and/or rotating schedules for remote and on-campus reporting,
  • Adherence to strict hygiene and sanitation guidelines, including regular hand-washing and cleaning of high-touch surfaces; this adherence includes a shared responsibility among all employees to participate in these activities,
  • Heightened monitoring of heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning systems to help reduce airborne exposure,
  • Hybrid delivery of unit services through a combination of in-person and remote operations,
  • Limited gatherings in common spaces such as food services, athletics areas, and other meeting spaces,
  • Redirected flow of foot traffic, with directional signage in hallways and other high-traffic pedestrian areas fostering more social distancing, and
  • Certifications of health and well-being, and contact tracing initiatives, as needed.

We know that circumstances will continue to change and we are still awaiting restart guidelines from the Office of the Secretary of Higher Education. Implementing this phased return will require the flexibility, patience, and support of all involved. So, allow me to thank you, in advance, for your understanding and cooperation.

Peter P. Mercer