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Coronavirus Campus Communication 8/29/2020

Coronavirus Campus Communication 8/29/2020

To: Students, Faculty and Staff
Date: August 29, 2020
Re: Campus Communication on Coronavirus

Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff:

We write to welcome you 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 required students to sign the Student Code for Heathy Living and Learning.  Faculty and staff were required to 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 academic year.

What is COVID-19
The novel coronavirus is a new coronavirus that causes COVID-19.  The virus that causes COVID-19 is thought to spread mainly from person to person through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks.  Spread is more likely to take place when people are in close contact with one another (within 6 feet)

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
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 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 lists emergency warning signs, that should always result in seeking 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. Emergency warning signs and a symptom self-checker are listed here.

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.

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 and may appear 2-14 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 small, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, or diarrhea.  The CDC has a self-checker here.
  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 scheduled via telemedicine.  Alternatively, you may call your own medical provider and report any changes in your health to Health Services.

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 stake awake, bluish lips or face (this list is not 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. Below, are local Urgent Care Centers open for medical appointments and, as of today, have COVID-19 testing capabilities.

City MD, Ramsey 551-497-5679
City MD, Paramus 551-222-0800
Doctor’s Inn, Ramsey 201-785-0011
The Doctor’s Office, Midland Park 201-857-8400
Rite Aid, Waldwick, 201-670-1022 (*not an Urgent Care Center)
Synergy Health, Montvale 201-667-8680

Reporting
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, dlukacsk@ramapo.edu or 201-684-7536.  If you are a faculty or staff member, and have tested positive for COVID, 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, 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 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 of the Daily Symptom Self Screening for Students, Faculty, and Staff.  Please follow the directions in the Self-Screening tool.

Face Coverings
It is very important that you do all that you can to slow the spread of COVID-19.  When you are indoors, the face covering is required.  Students, alone in their residence room, do not need to wear a face covering, nor do employees in a private office/cubicle with walls. For outdoor activity, the face covering is required when social distancing is not possible. 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.   The Face Covering Policy for Students is located here; the Social Distancing and Face Covering Policy for Employees is here.

Travel Registry (International and Domestic)
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 of NJ updates the states and U.S. jurisdictions 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 travel advisory states, please complete the College’s travel registry questionnaire for any travel between now and December 31, 2020.

By completing the questionnaire, you enable the College to support you with the most current resources and College-specific directions as 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 CDC as you consider your travel plans.

Register Long Term Visitors and Visitor Health Screening Questionnaire
In recognition of faculty and staff activity that will require a visitor(s) to campus and resident students who may wish to host a visitor(s) OUTDOORS, the College has developed a process for both registering the visit and having the visitor submit a Self-Health Screening Questionnaire. The registration of long-term visitors is required in order to effectively conduct contact tracing and to assist the Northwest Bergen Regional Health Commission.  Please direct all visitors to fill out the Ramapo College Visitor Registration Form. Examples when the registration is not necessary are for short term visitors who are on campus to pick up/drop off a person or deliver food. As a reminder, the Guest and Visitation Policy is suspended for resident students, and visitors are only permitted to visit outdoors with face coverings when at least 6 feet social distancing is not possible. Vendors with routine visits to campus (such as vendors who deliver office supplies) are being handled outside of the above mentioned process.

Mental Health Resources
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 “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)

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.

  • 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.  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 and the social gathering 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.  Please see the College’s Face Covering Fact Sheet.
  • Face coverings are always required when picking up meals from Dining Services or visiting the Food Pantry (ASB 130, appointments made through wecare@ramapo.edu);
  • 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 communications@ramapo.edu
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.  We ask that you reflect on the fundaments of personal responsibility and take what has been called upon you seriously. We call upon you to engage in learning, living and working in such a way that safety and best practices are the spirit by which we embark on every new day.

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