To the Campus Community:
I write to follow up on President Foster’s message regarding the coronavirus and post-spring break plans. The decisions and protocols described below are designed for the period between March 14 and April 5. We have chosen to move classes online during this period as a precaution due to the large number of community members returning from a week away on spring break. A community update for post-April 5 will be shared no later than March 31, and the TCNJ website will provide regular updates as the situation evolves.
Health and Safety
The health and safety of TCNJ community members is the college’s primary concern. There currently are no presumptive or confirmed cases of COVID-19 on our campus. While the seasonal flu remains a greater public health risk, COVID-19 can be potentially life-threatening, particularly for those with preexisting conditions. Someone considered at low risk could expose someone at high risk by passing along the virus.
TCNJ will increase its already rigorous routine of maintaining a clean environment, and individuals are strongly advised to take recommended precautions: Wash your hands frequently (for at least 20 seconds); resist touching your eyes, nose, and mouth; and avoid contact with people who are sick. Those with flu-like symptoms and those who may have been in contact with someone who has or is suspected of having COVID-19 should take steps to protect themselves and others.
If You Feel Ill
For their own health and safety as well as that of the campus community, employees should not work when sick. Any community member with persistent symptoms should seek the advice of a health care professional. Students who feel ill should not return to campus after spring break. Students on campus after spring break who feel ill should immediately contact TCNJ Student Health Services at 609.771.2889.
Faculty unable to teach their online courses due to illness should contact their dean. Staff who are ill should notify their supervisor and stay home. Staff may also stay home to care for sick household members. Read more on resources regarding staff absences related to COVID-19.
Online Course Delivery: March 23 Through April 5
All courses will be delivered online from March 23 through April 5. Faculty and staff are diligently working to ensure a TCNJ-quality learning experience despite the change in mode of delivery. Approaches to courses that typically involve a physical presence (e.g., science lab, art studio, etc.) will be course specific. Students in courses requiring engagement with external partners (e.g., nursing practicums and student teaching) will take their directive from their dean. Faculty scheduling online course meetings are asked to follow the current course schedule to reduce potential online conflicts for students.
Students unfamiliar with Canvas, the college’s online course-delivery platform, may contact faculty, view an online tutorial, or reach out to more experienced peers. Those who remain off campus the two weeks after spring break without access to high-speed Internet should email Academic Affairs. Students requiring special accommodations will continue to receive appropriate campus support, and faculty will facilitate any documented accommodations (e.g., providing extra time) that fall within their realm.
The Office of Instructional Design is also assisting faculty with course development and delivery and has provided helpful information on its website.
Both students and faculty may find additional resources within the Canvas environment and may email Canvas with questions.
All external events scheduled to be held on the TCNJ campus from March 14 through April 5 are cancelled. Internal events with more than 15 expected guests are subject to review by Campus and Events Services. Please contact your event planner to see if a particular event will be rescheduled. Tentative plans are being made to reschedule key Admissions events, including the upcoming Lions Day Open House for prospective students and Admitted Students Day. As many families attend ASD before making a decision, every effort will be made to help reinforce with prospective students the academic quality and unparalleled student experience here at TCNJ.
We encourage students, faculty, and staff meeting on campus in small groups to practice social distancing and frequent hand-washing. Faculty and staff meetings will take place on an as-needed basis. More information regarding future events will be forthcoming.
Spring Withdrawal, Advising, and Registration for Fall Courses
The current withdrawal date for spring courses (March 27) has been moved to April 10. Faculty and students should expect advising for fall courses to be handled virtually (via phone, PAWS, email, Google Hangout, Canvas, etc.). Students are urged to contact their faculty advisor to establish an advising appointment well in advance of their registration appointment. The current schedule for fall registration remains unchanged.
Elective trips by TCNJ teams and coaches from March 14 through April 5 are cancelled. In situations involving reimbursement for funds paid, athletes should consult with their coaches. TCNJ teams will participate in NCAA competitions, including home games. Athletes who choose to remain home for the two weeks after spring break will not be penalized for that decision as it relates to future play. More details will be sent to all student athletes directly from the Executive Director of Athletics.
TCNJ Housing and Dining
Residence halls and Dining Services will remain open and functioning beginning the week after spring break. Updates regarding the exact operating hours of dining locations and information on sick trays is available online.
Please remember that living and eating together places us in close proximity and therefore increases exposure. During this period of heightened awareness, please respect the space of others, practice social distancing, and be cognizant of fellow students, faculty, and staff who may be concerned about the health of family and friends.
TCNJ remains cautiously optimistic that faculty and students will again be together this semester, completing courses and celebrating their achievements. Due to the unpredictable environment, a prudent decision would be for students to take home medications, important personal items, and sufficient clothing.
In fairness, students not returning to campus during the two weeks following spring break will have the opportunity to file for a partial meal-plan credit.
Campus services—information technology support, facilities and maintenance, dining, and more—will remain fully operational from March 23 through April 5. Please recognize that, depending on the service, excessive demand may cause delays and require patience on your part.
Returning from International Travel
We ask community members returning from international travel, whether TCNJ-approved or personal, to complete this form. A travel record will allow us to provide you with the latest guidance in a changing situation. Any community member returning from a CDC Level 3 country is required to self-isolate for 14 days after arrival back in the United States. Campus offices are in touch with all community members who are currently or have recently been abroad to offer guidance upon their return to the United States. We are also working with students returning early from a semester abroad to assist them in completing their academic credits.
Planned International Travel
TCNJ-approved trips, and those pending approval, to CDC Level 3 countries—currently China, Italy, Iran, and South Korea—are on hold and will be reviewed as the situation evolves. Late spring and summer international travel by students and faculty (e.g., faculty-led trips, etc.), including trips already approved, are under review. “Go/no-go” decisions for early summer trips will be made March 23, with subsequent decisions continuing into spring based on the changing environment.
Returning from Domestic Travel
Students, faculty, and staff returning from domestic travel should exercise reasonable precautions, as travel paths often involve contact with people who may have traveled to high-risk areas. Individuals experiencing flu-like symptoms should seek the advice of their health care professional. Students have access to TCNJ Student Health Services.
Planned Domestic Travel
TCNJ-approved domestic travel by students, faculty, and staff is cancelled, effective immediately. Provost-approved exceptions will be made on a case-by-case basis. Cancellation of a TCNJ-approved trip (domestic or international)—whether by the college, a host organization, or a community member as a health precaution—can result in the need to seek reimbursement. Should you need to request reimbursement due to a trip cancellation, please contact your dean’s office or your supervisor.
Please also note that conference hosts may be responsible for refunding registration fees, and some credit cards have automatic travel insurance that may apply.
Preserving the TCNJ Culture
TCNJ is committed to maintaining an environment that is free of all forms of bias and discrimination. Being kind, supportive, and respectful of all members of our campus community remains a hallmark of The College of New Jersey. Behaviors inconsistent with this TCNJ value can be reported to the Bias Response Team.
Finally, I would like to express my appreciation to the entire TCNJ community for your quick and thoughtful planning in this ever-changing environment.
William W. Keep
Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs