It is not my habit to write quite so frequently, yet the pace and intensity of information and activity around COVID-19 and the necessary responses to it prompt me to once again fill your inbox. Thank you for your forbearance and even more so for your community support in these times.
This message elaborates previous correspondence and offers new information about campus operations.
Yesterday afternoon, Governor Murphy issued Executive Order 104 that requires all colleges and universities in the state to cease in-person instruction until further notice. The College of New Jersey had already moved its classes online through April 5, and now we will now take further steps to follow the governor’s directive. Governor Murphy indicated that this order will remain in place “until such time as it is deemed by health officials that it is safe to resume [in-person] operations.”
The governor required state departments to institute work-from-home plans. Out of concern for the well-being of our employees, I had already asked cabinet members to implement plans for remote work. Beginning today, we are operating with very reduced on-campus staffing.
Only residential students who have requested and are granted an exception are permitted on campus during this emergency. All other students, including commuters and those residing in the local area and in Campus Town, are asked to remain off campus.
Residential students who have essential items that they need to retrieve should complete a request form by Tuesday, March 24, one week from today. Residential Education & Housing will reach out to coordinate arrangements. As previously communicated, students not in residence will be able to apply for a prorated room and board credit.
Due to limited staffing and the need to practice social distancing, the limited number of residential students and employees who need to be on campus after spring break should expect the following:
- All academic buildings will be closed. Faculty will have access to their offices and labs.
- The R. Barbara Gitenstein Library will be closed except for the extended study area, which will be open from 7:30 a.m.–10 p.m. via swipe access.
- Eickhoff will be the only dining facility open on campus and will offer only carryout options. As access to Eickhoff will be limited to students, employees should plan to bring their meals.
- Brower Student Center, Packer Hall, and the Fitness Center will be closed.
- The mailroom will be open to process and sort incoming mail, but offices will be required to designate a limited number of authorized staff members to pick up the mail in person. There will be no delivery to offices.
We are doing our best to anticipate and address the implications of these changes but questions are likely to arise. With so many employees working remotely, email will be the quickest way to get questions or concerns addressed. The college’s online directory is a helpful resource for locating contact information for schools, departments, and offices. Please also check regularly with the TCNJ COVID-19 webpage where we will post information and updates.
When we first contemplated this crisis in February we began planning week by week. Last week we planned day by day and over the weekend switched to hour by hour. Yesterday we had times of planning minute by minute. Thank you for your remarkable resilience as we adjust our operations in real time to comply with the government directives and fulfill our responsibility to address this public health crisis.
Thinking of you all and sending positive healthy energy,
Kathryn A. Foster