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Coronavirus Campus Communication 8/19/2021

Coronavirus Campus Communication 8/19/2021

To: Students, Faculty and Staff
Date: August 19, 2021
Re: Campus Communication on Coronavirus

Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff:

We write to welcome new students to Ramapo College and welcome back our returning Roadrunners.  The Pandemic Assessment Team provides regular communications to you via Broadcast emails and through the COVID-19 webpage. The Pandemic Assessment Team helps create a culture of preparedness in the ongoing fight against COVID-19.  The health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff remain our top priority and why we require students to be aware of and sign the Student Code for Healthy Living and Learning.  Faculty and staff are required to be aware of and sign the Ramapo College Employee Code for a Safe Working Environment. We expect that you will be proactive and helpful toward minimizing the risk of COVID-19 spread on campus and anticipate your cooperation in abiding by the below information, so that we can work toward a safe and successful academic year.

What is COVID-19
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (hereafter CDC), COVID-19 is a disease caused by a virus called SARS-CoV-2.  While most people with COVID-19 have mild symptoms, the virus may cause someone to become severely ill, especially for individuals with certain underlying medical conditions.

Please be aware of the symptoms of COVID-19. The CDC issues 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 include but are not limited to fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting.

The CDC also lists emergency warning signs that should always result in seeking immediate emergency medical attention such as: trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion, inability to wake or stay awake, or pale, grey, or blue colored skin, lips, or nail beds depending on skin tone (this is not all possible symptoms, so please call your medical provider for any symptoms that are severe or concerning to you). A list of COVID-19 symptoms and emergency warning signs are found here.

Variant Update
Viruses are known to change and mutate and variants are expected.  According to the CDC, the Delta variant is causing the majority of the COVID-19 cases in the United States. Vaccines are highly effective against severe illness, but the Delta variant causes more infections and spreads faster than earlier forms of the COVID-19 virus.   The Delta variant is causing a rapid increase in COVID-19 cases, so please make it your personal responsibility to stay aware of how COVID-19 impacts you, your loved ones, and your community.

People Who Need to Take Extra Precautions
The CDC has issued guidance related to specific populations who must take extra precautions to prevent being infected with COVID-19. We recommend you assess this information to determine if you are at a higher risk for severe illness and consider ways to keep yourself safe. Please bookmark this link and make it a habit to keep informed of high risk groups, as the guidance continues to evolve.

Vaccine and Testing
Students: All students with an on-campus presence must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or receive approval through Health Services of a medical or religious exemption.  Additional information can be found here. Students should send evidence of their vaccine to covidvaccine@ramapo.edu. Unvaccinated students, with a medical or religious exemption, are required to test weekly through the on-campus COVID-19 testing program.
Employees: All employees will either share their COVID-19 vaccination status with Human Resources or be tested weekly.  Employees may share evidence of their vaccine to rcnjcovidvax@ramapo.edu. The on-campus vaccination clinic dates and instructions are found here.

What to Do If You Are Sick
If you are not feeling well, you should follow these steps for non-emergencies:

  1. Monitor your symptoms.  COVID-19 causes a wide range of symptoms from mild to severe which may appear 2 to 14 days after exposure to the virus.  Monitor if you have a fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, or diarrhea.
  2. STAY HOME.  If you are an on-campus resident, DO NOT LEAVE YOUR RESIDENCE ROOM.   If you are a commuter student with classes on campus, DO NOT COME TO THE CAMPUS.  Faculty and staff should stay home if they are sick.
  3. Call for medical care.  Students may call Health Services at 201-684-7536 Monday to Friday from 8:30am to 4:30pm.  A member of the Health Services staff will consult with you about your symptoms and an appointment will be scheduled if needed.  Alternatively, you may call your own medical provider and report any changes in your health to Health Services.
  4. For 24/7 assistance with medical information from healthcare professionals on symptoms, when to seek medical attention, and proper steps to take if exposed to COVID-19, call 1-800-962-1253.

If you have a medical emergency, you should call 911 and seek immediate medical attention.

  1. Emergency warning signs of COVID-19 are: trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion, inability to wake or stay awake, or pale, grey, or blue colored skin, lips, or nail beds depending on skin tone (Note: This list does not include all possible symptoms, so please call your medical provider for any symptoms that are severe or concerning to you).
  2. Call 911.  Notify the operator that you are seeking care for symptoms you suspect are COVID-19 related.

Where to Get Tested for COVID-19
New Jersey’s COVID-19 Information Hub has information about where you can get tested for COVID-19. Community medical providers, local to the College, are open for medical appointments and have COVID-19 testing capabilities. A listing of community medical providers conducting COVID-19 testing is found here.  COVID-19 testing is offered for symptomatic resident students Monday to Friday, 9am to 4pm by calling 201-684-7536.

Reporting
If you are a student and have tested positive for COVID-19, are told by a medical provider you most likely have COVID-19, have been exposed to COVID-19, or have a COVID-19 sick individual in your home, please follow these directions:

During Business Hours (Monday to Friday, 8:30am to 4:30pm), please contact Health Services at 201-684-7536 or email covidpositive@ramapo.edu.  After Business Hours: Please call Public Safety at 201-684-6666 so they may notify the on-call Health Staff.

If you are a faculty or staff member and have tested positive for COVID-19, are told by a medical provider you most likely have COVID-19, have been exposed to COVID-19, or have a COVID-19 sick individual in your home, please contact Jill Brown, Associate Director of Human Resources, jcbrown@ramapo.edu, 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, faculty, or staff member with COVID-19 or under investigation for COVID-19, you may share this information with the above named resources.

Daily Symptom Self-Screening
Symptom screening is a helpful way to self-identify if you may have an illness and should stay home and/or seek medical attention.  In order to reduce the community spread of COVID-19, we ask that you do your part and conduct a review every day of the Daily Symptom Self Screening for Students, Faculty, and Staff.  Please follow the directions in the Self-Screening tool.

Face Coverings
The College is temporarily maintaining the prior indoor face covering policy that was previously set to expire on August 23, 2021. Everyone on campus irrespective of vaccination status must continue to wear a face covering indoors. We will continue to re-evaluate and make changes to this policy to abide by recommendations from the federal, state or local health department guidance.
The Face Covering Policy for Students is located here  and The Social Distancing and Face Covering Policy for Employees is here.
Face coverings are not required outdoors.  The College may require face coverings, as may be necessary due to changing conditions or if an event has the potential to involve sustained close contact with others.

Travel Registry (International and Domestic)
If you are unvaccinated and must engage in international travel or domestic travel, please complete the College’s travel registry questionnaire, found here. By completing the questionnaire, you enable the College to support you with the most current resources and College-specific directions for self-quarantining and COVID-19 testing. The global situation is continuously evolving. Please factor in current guidance, from the CDC and the US Department of State as you consider your travel plans. International travel information is found here. Domestic travel information is found here.

Prevention Information
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 prevention.

  • Get vaccinated.  Authorized COVID-19 vaccines can help protect you from COVID-19;
  • Follow the College’s Face Covering Policy;
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.  Unvaccinated individuals are required to maintain 6 feet of social distance from others when practical;
  • Avoid crowds and poorly ventilated spaces;
  • 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 are not available, you can use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands;
  • For students who are currently living on campus, as a reminder, the Guest and Visitation Policy can be found here. Others are welcome to host visitors, but all visitors are required to wear face coverings;
  • 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);
  • Clean and disinfect frequently-touched surfaces; and
  • Always monitor your daily health and be alert for symptoms of COVID-19.

Mental Health Resources
If you are in need of assistance from a mental health professional, students may call Counseling Services at 201-684-7522 for 24/7 support.  For faculty and staff, the Human Resources Department has a number of resources available to you that can be found on their website and on their wellness website.

Additional Resources:
Crisis Text Line:  Text HOME to 741741
Family Helpline (for stressed parents): Call 1-800-843-5437
Trevor Lifeline: Call 1-866-488-7386 (suicide prevention services to the LGBTQ community under 25 years old)
Trans Lifeline’s Peer Support Hotline: Call 1-877-330-6366
Domestic Violence Hotline: Call 1-800-572-7233
Suicide Prevention Hopeline: Call 1-855-654-6735
Veterans in NJ Crisis line: Call 1-800-273-8255, Press 1
NJ Mental Health Cares Helpline: Call 1-866-202-4357

State of New Jersey General Resources
Call 211 for General COVID-19 Questions (24/7)
Call 1-800-962-1253 for Medical COVID-19 Questions (24/7)
Text NJCOVID to 898-211 to receive alerts
Download COVID Alert NJ app
The State of NJ COVID-19 Information Hub
NJ Department of Health
NJ Vaccine Appointment Support: Call 1-855-568-0545 (8am to 8pm)

Ramapo Specific Resources
Health Services: 201-684-7536
Roukema Center for International Education: 201-684-7533
Counseling Services: 201-684-7522 (24/7; including emergencies)
Human Resources: 201-684-7498

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, as well as metrics involving the on-campus testing program.  We ask that you reflect on the fundamentals of personal responsibility and take what has been asked of you seriously. Let us all engage in learning, living and working in such a way that safety and best practices are how we support one another and the vibrancy of our campus.

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