Coronavirus Campus Communication 7/8/2020
To: Students, Faculty and Staff
Date: July 8, 2020
Re: Campus Communication on Coronavirus
Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff:
We write in the spirit of continuing to help create a culture of preparedness in the ongoing fight against COVID-19. The health and safety of our students and employees remains our top priority. Below is new information about updated rules regarding face coverings, the New Jersey travel advisory, and the COVID-19 rate of transmission.
Since early April, Governor Murphy’s executive order has required that people wear face coverings in public while indoors, at stores, eateries, and other businesses, or on public transportation. Today, Governor Murphy broadened his executive order to also require a face covering when in an outdoor setting with a large number of people and when keeping 6 feet away from others is difficult.
It is very important that you do all that you can to slow the spread of COVID-19. Wearing a face covering incorrectly may put others around you at risk because you may be an asymptomatic carrier of the virus. You must wear the face covering in a manner where it covers both your nose and mouth. Wearing the face covering any other way is incorrect and not acceptable on or off campus. COVID-19 is a respiratory virus, so the droplets can leave your nose and mouth. According to the CDC, if you are a carrier of the virus, you can spread it through coughing, sneezing or talking (research on spread is still evolving).
The State of New Jersey has issued an incoming travel advisory that all individuals entering New Jersey (both travelers and NJ residents) from states with a significant spread of COVID-19 should self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival. The State announced that 3 additional states were added to the previously announced travel advisory. The 19 states included in the travel advisory are:
Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Delaware (new), Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Kansas (new), Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, North Carolina, Oklahoma (new), South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Utah. The State of NJ updates the states involved in the travel advisory on this website.
If you must engage in personal, international travel (to any country) or domestic travel to any of the 19 states, please complete the College’s travel registry questionnaire for any travel between now and August 31, 2020.
By completing the questionnaire, you enable the College to support you with the most current resources and College-specific directions concerning your travel and COVID-19. If you are traveling internationally or from the 19 above listed states with high rates of infection, students and employees will be directed to self-quarantine, off campus, for 14 days after returning from travel, monitor their health, and practice social distancing. Students will be guided and cleared for return to campus by the Associate Director of Health Services. Employees will be guided and cleared for return to campus by the Associate Director of Human Resources.
The global situation is continuously evolving. Please factor in current guidance from the below mentioned resources as you consider your travel plans.
Monitoring Our Geographic Area
This week, Governor Murphy announced that the rate of COVID-19 transmission in New Jersey exceeded 1.0 for the first time in 10 weeks. The rate of transmission is the rate at which COVID-19 spreads from person to person. In other words, on average, each new COVID-19 case leads to more than one other person getting COVID-19. Health officials regard this as an “early warning sign”, so we remind you to wear a face covering in public, maintain social distancing, wash your hands often, and stay vigilant in protecting yourself and others.
Mental Health Resources
Students may call Counseling Services at 201-684-7522 for 24/7 support. For employees, the Human Resources Department has a number of resources available to you that can be found on their website and on their wellness website.
Crisis Text Line: Text “NJ” to 741741
Family Helpline (for stressed parents): 1-800-843-5437
Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-572-7233
Suicide Prevention Hopeline: 1-855-654-6735
NJ Mental Health Cares Helpline: 1-866-202-4357
The helpline, made available through the NJ Department of Human Services (DHS), is available 7 days per week from 8am to 8pm. DHS also offers emotional help and support to deaf and hard of hearing individuals during COVID-19. Sign language users can communicate with ACCESS of St. Joseph’s Health in Paterson through video phone at 973-870-0677 (Monday through Friday, 9am to 5pm)
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Please be aware of the symptoms of coronavirus. The CDC issues important guidance, so that you can be aware of symptoms, which may range from mild to severe and may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. The symptoms are fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or small, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, and diarrhea (this list does not include all possible symptoms).
The CDC has also listed emergency warning signs that should always result in getting emergency medical attention immediately such as: trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion, inability to wake or stay awake, and bluish lips or face. Please consult with the above referenced CDC website, which also includes a symptom “self checker.”
People Who Need to Take Extra Precautions
The CDC has issued guidance related to populations of people who must take extra precautions to prevent being infected with COVID-19. We recommend that you assess this information to determine if you are at a higher risk for this severe illness and consider ways to keep yourself safe. Please book mark this link and make it a habit to keep yourself informed of the high risk groups, as the guidance continues to evolve.
As a reminder, if you are a student and have tested positive for COVID-19, told you most likely have COVID-19 by a medical provider, or have a COVID-19 sick individual in your home, please contact Debra Lukacsko, Associate Director of Health Services, firstname.lastname@example.org or 201-684-7536. If you are an employee and have tested positive for COVID-19, told you most likely have COVID-19 by a medical provider, or have a COVID-19 sick individual in your home, please contact Jill Brown, Associate Director of Human Resources, email@example.com, HR2020@ramapo.edu or 201-684-7507. We ask that you come forward and talk with us, so that we can provide you with Ramapo-specific resources and guidance. If any member of the community becomes aware of a student or employee with COVID-19 or under investigation for COVID-19, you may share this information with the above named resources.
Make it a point to review prevention information from the CDC on a daily basis. The guidance may change, so we encourage you to take responsibility for your health and stay informed.
Below is a summary of prevention steps, but please access the CDC site for the comprehensive information about protection.
- Clean your hands often. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water is not available, you can use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol;
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands;
- Practice social distancing and stay home as much as possible. Remember that some people, without symptoms, may be able to spread the virus. Avoid close contact with people who are sick. Always put distance between yourself and other people. Social distancing (at least 6 feet of distance between others) is a mechanism to slow the spread of COVID-19;
- For students who are currently living on campus, as a reminder, the guest and visitation policy is suspended and there are to be no gatherings;
- Stay home if you are sick (except to get medical care). Do not, under any circumstances, come to the campus if you are sick;
- Always cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue (and throw it away) or sneeze into the inside of your elbow. Immediately wash your hands for 20 seconds with soap and water (or use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol);
- Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when on campus and around others in public settings, (such as on-campus or at a grocery store, pharmacy and gas station), where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain. The cloth face covering is meant to protect others, in the event that you are infected. A face covering with a valve should not be used, as an exhalation valve allows unfiltered, exhaled air to be released and putting others nearby at risk. Always keep 6 feet of distance from others, as the cloth face covering is not meant to be a substitute for social distancing. On campus students are reminded that you are required to wear a cloth face covering when picking up meals from Dining Services or visiting the Food Pantry;
- The CDC offers guidance on the Use of Cloth Face Coverings to Slow the Spread. Please review this advice as it describes how to properly wear (covering both your nose and mouth) and wash a face covering;
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces.
State of New Jersey General Resources
If you have questions about COVID-19, you may wish to call the hotlines set up by the NJ Department of Public Health. For Medical COVID-19 Questions call 1-800-962-1253 (24/7). For General COVID-19 Questions call 2-1-1 (24/7). Or you can text NJCOVID to 898-211 to receive alerts.
The State of NJ COVID-19 Information Hub
State of NJ Department of Health
Ramapo Specific Resources
Health Services: 201-684-7536
General Questions: 201-684-7265 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Roukema Center for International Education: 201-684-7533
Counseling Services: 201-684-7522 (24/7, including emergencies)
Human Resources: 201-684-7506
We will continue to provide resource information on the Health Services website. The situation is constantly changing, so please bookmark this website and continue to keep yourself informed of the COVID-19 positive cases we learn of impacting Ramapo College.
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