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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates

Campus Operating Status

As of March 20, TCNJ will be offering all courses online for the remainder of the spring semester. Students are asked to remain off campus unless they meet specific criteria or have received confirmation that they may come to campus to pick up personal belongings.

Latest Developments

Spring 2020 Ungraded Option for TCNJ courses (3/22/2020)

Dear TCNJ Community:

As we begin the second half of the semester under truly exceptional circumstances, I write to share the Spring 2020 Ungraded Option Policy. This temporary policy applies only to spring 2020 courses and provides students with considerable flexibility.

In all courses where students would otherwise receive a grade, faculty will calculate a final grade. After final grades are posted, a student can do nothing and retain the grade earned OR choose the Ungraded Option.

Read the full message from Interim Provost Keep …

Choosing the Ungraded Option will result in the following:

  • In a course where the student earned a passing grade of “D” or better, the transcript will show CD, indicating credit/pass for the ungraded course.
  • In a course where the student earned an “F,” the transcript will show ND, indicating no credit/fail for the ungraded course.

The Ungraded Option is available to all undergraduate and graduate students for courses for which they would otherwise receive a grade. Because our over 7,000 students have a variety of individual situations, a student-based approach to choosing the Ungraded Option offers the greatest flexibility. In addition to the Spring 2020 Ungraded Option Policy, we provide a number of answers to specific situations in an FAQ format housed on the TCNJ COVID-19 page (scroll down to “TCNJ Updates and Resources”).

I want to thank the Committee on Academic Programs (CAP) and the Steering Committee for their work on this policy. I’d like to give a special shout-out to Steering Co-Chair Dr. Shaun Wiley of the Department of Psychology for reading and summarizing over 450 comments from students, faculty, and staff. With a goal of maintaining the intellectual integrity of TCNJ courses while providing flexibility across a range of situations, drafting the policy was no mean feat.

I want to wish students, faculty, and staff an engaging and productive second half to the semester. We have dedicated teachers and learners and we have the resources and technology to support learning. However, I understand that this is still a stressful time. I would like to remind the community to take care and be supportive of each other. TCNJ professional staff at Counseling and Prevention Services are providing remote assistance.

Good luck and stay safe!

Interim Provost William Keep

TCNJ Updates and Resources

Prevention and Treatment

Health and Safety

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. Read recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and view the NJ Department of Health’s Guidance for Contacts (those who may have been in contact with a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19).

Please visit the TCNJ Student Health Services COVID-19 FAQs page for vital information on COVID-19 and answers to TCNJ-specific questions.

If You Feel Ill

Any community member with persistent symptoms should seek the advice of a health care professional.

Students

Students who feel ill should contact Student Health Services, which has moved to a telemedicine format for the semester. This service is available by appointment, Monday–Friday, 9 a.m.–3:30 p.m., to TCNJ students currently taking classes. Telemedicine appointments can be scheduled by logging in to the Online Wellness Link (OWL) portal

Faculty and Staff

For their own health and safety as well as that of the campus community, those essential employees who must come to campus should not work when sick. Faculty unable to teach their online courses due to illness should contact their dean. Please refer to the “Sick Leave” section of this page (below) for more information.

Academics and Online Instruction

Online Course Delivery for the Spring 2020 Semester

All courses will be delivered online for the duration of the spring semester. 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.

TCNJ community members should refer to the Division of Information Technology’s guidelines to ensure proper access to technological resources and to the Gitenstein Library’s services summary to ensure proper access to information resources necessary for online learning and/or teaching. 

Students

Students unfamiliar with Canvas, the college’s online course-delivery platform, may contact faculty, view an online tutorial, reach out to more experienced peers, or email Canvas with questions. Those who do not have access to high-speed Internet or a computer should email Academic Affairs. Students requiring special accommodations will continue to receive appropriate support, and faculty will facilitate any documented accommodations (e.g., providing extra time) that fall within their realm.

Students also have access to virtual advising and to Tutoring Center services, including enhanced eTutoring options.

Faculty

Faculty scheduling online course meetings are asked to follow the current course schedule to reduce potential online conflicts for students. Faculty may find helpful information on course development and delivery on the Office of Instructional Design’s website and additional resources within the Canvas environment. They may also email Canvas with questions.


Spring Withdrawal, Advising, and Registration for Fall Courses

The withdrawal date for spring courses (March 27) has been moved to April 10. Advising for fall courses will be handled remotely via virtual advising. 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.

Campus Services

Campus services—information technology support, facilities and maintenance, dining, tutoring, and more—remain operational but have been scaled back or are being provided online in most cases. Please recognize that, depending on the service, excessive demand may cause delays and require patience on your part.

For information on Student Health Services and Mental Health Services, please see the “Health and Wellness” section of this page (below).

Information Technology

TCNJ community members should refer to the Division of Information Technology’s guidelines to ensure proper access to technological resources and to the Gitenstein Library’s services summary to ensure proper access to information resources necessary for online learning and/or teaching. 

Facilities

Due to reduced staffing and the need to practice social distancing, the college has made substantial changes to its facilities operations:

  • All academic buildings are closed. The provost will contact faculty about access to offices and labs and about other adjustments for the remainder of the semester.
  • The R. Barbara Gitenstein Library, Brower Student Center, Packer Hall, and the Fitness Center are closed.
  • The mailroom is open to process and sort incoming mail. There is no delivery to offices. Mail will be held until the college resumes normal operation or until it is picked up.

For facilities assistance, please continue to call the service desk at 609.771.2353 Monday–Friday from 7:30 a.m.–4 p.m. If your call is of an urgent nature and falls outside these hours, please contact Campus Police at 609.771.2345.

Commencement

TCNJ commits to a two-phase commencement for the Class of 2020.

The first phase is a remote yet intimate opportunity to mark the moment on May 21, 2020. Seniors will receive their caps and gowns in the mail by late April. The college is developing creative ways to share a virtual, multi-modal experience. (Seniors: Start thinking now, for example, of the clever and personal ways you will decorate and show off your caps.)

The second phase will be in-person, on-campus academic ceremonies, where seniors will join fellow graduates, cross the stage, and hear their names called in front of family and friends. Date(s) and arrangements for these ceremonies are still to be determined—the commencement committee is monitoring public health guidance and will be reaching out to senior class officers—but the Class of 2020 can count on the pomp and circumstance of a graduation.

Events, Activities, and Sports

Campus Events and Activities

All remaining campus events are canceled through the end of the spring semester.

TCNJ Sports

Following the NCAA’s decision to cancel all remaining winter and spring championship events due to the COVID-19 pandemic, The College of New Jersey has canceled intercollegiate athletics for the remainder of the 2019-20 academic year.

Considering the recent decisions of collegiate and professional organizations to cancel or suspend operations, TCNJ has concluded that canceling all athletics activities is in the best interest of the health and safety of student-athletes, coaches, staff, families, officials, and fans.

The well-being of our campus community remains at the forefront of any decision regarding COVID-19, and TCNJ feels compelled to act with an abundance of caution. With this course of action, TCNJ athletics joins the national collegiate athletics community in preventing the unnecessary transmission of COVID-19.

Health and Wellness

All services within the Health and Wellness area will be offered remotely for the remainder of the spring semester. We understand this pandemic is a challenging time for all and want to be there to provide support to the campus community in a way that protects all members. Hours of operation and available remote services are listed below.

Student Health Services

Hours: Monday–Friday, 9 a.m.–3:30 p.m.

To support the health of our students, risk exposure of students who are sick or at risk due to other conditions, and protect the health of our employees, Student Health Services has moved to a telemedicine format for the semester. This service is available by appointment during the days and hours listed above to TCNJ students currently taking classes. Telemedicine appointments can be scheduled by logging in to the Online Wellness Link (OWL) portal

Mental Health Services

Hours: Monday–Friday, 9 a.m.–4 p.m.

Services: Individual (phone, email check-in, teletherapy sessions only); crisis intervention; case management and referral to community providers. Consultation. Virtual groups being planned. Access services online by completing the “request for services” form. For other questions or concerns, please call 609.771.2247 or email mhs@tcnj.edu.

Alcohol and other Drug Education Program (ADEP)

Hours: Monday–Friday, 9 a.m.–4 p.m.

Services: Joe Hadge (609.771.2572, hadgej@tcnj.edu) is available for remote consultation during regular business hours. Arrive Alive has been canceled, but the Peer Institute is still tentatively scheduled for June 9–11.

Promoting: CampusWell online magazine

Providing: BASICS, Marijuana 101, CHOICES, echeckup Individualized Sessions

Anti-Violence Initiatives (AVI)

Hours: Monday–Friday, 9 a.m.–4 p.m.

Services: Michelle Lambing (609.771.2272) is available for remote consultation and limited teletherapy during regular business hours. Zach Gall (609.771.2233) is also available for remote consultation and limited teletherapy. DERC has been canceled.

Center for Mindfulness and Compassion

Services: Online drop-in meditation sessions are available each week. Email mindfulness@tcnj.edu to sign up for notifications.

Collegiate Recovery Program (CRP)
Hours: Monday–Friday, 9 a.m.–4 p.m.

Services: Chris Freeman (609.771.2134, freemanc@tcnj.edu, 732.703.6589) is available for remote consultation and limited teletherapy during regular business hours.

AA, NA, SMART, and All Recovery support groups can be accessed remotely. Students in need of support can be connected electronically (via email or GroupMe) to other students in the recovery community.

Community Counseling Collaborative (CCC)

Hours: Monday–Sunday, vary by clinician

Services: Check with individual clinicians for their availability for phone sessions or teletherapy. Find contact information and more details on the collaborative’s webpage.

Recreation and Wellness (REC)

The Fitness Center and Recreation Center are closed for the remainder of the spring semester. Intramurals and club sports are not active during this time.

Services: Rob Simels (609.771.2712) and staff (recwell@tcnj.edu) are available for remote consultation.

Religious and Spiritual Life (RSP)

Hours: Monday–Friday, 8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m.

Services: Christina Sargiss (609.771.2451) is available for remote consultation during regular business hours. THRIVE has been canceled for April 8.

Online drop-in meditation sessions are currently being led by Lisa Caton from the Center for Mindfulness and Compassion. Sign up at mindfulness@tcnj.edu or learn more online.

TCNJ CONTACT Hotline

The hotline room at TCNJ has been temporarily suspended in support of social distancing. Calls will be taken by the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1.800.273.8255) or by CONTACT Mercer County, NJ (609.896.2120).

Services: Training sessions are canceled for the remainder of the spring semester, with plans to complete training in the fall. More details to come.

Hotlines

  • New Jersey Department of Health COVID-19 line for general questions (24/7): 1.800.962.1253 or 211
  • CONTACT Mercer (8 a.m.–10 p.m.): 609.896.2120
  • Crisis Text Line: text START to 741741
  • LGBTQ Hotline: 855.654.6735
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (24/7): 1.800.273.8255
  • Trans Lifeline: 877.565.8860
  • Veterans Crisis Line: 1.800.273.8255
  • Vets4Warriors: 855.838.8255
  • Womanspace: 800.281.2800

Online Support

Articles on Coping with COVID-19

Housing and Dining

Move Out: UPDATED 3/27

Due to the growing number of cases of COVID-19 in New Jersey and in the interest of protecting students and their families, TCNJ strongly recommends that students delay moving out from residential on-campus housing at this time.

While the TCNJ community has experienced only a handful of positive or presumed positive cases and has responded with careful guidance and precautions in each instance, even the most carefully scheduled move out presents a possible risk, especially with the number of students involved.

Those students who are willing to cancel their scheduled move-out time should do so within the MyHousing system. No other action is needed at this time; Residential Education and Housing will provide additional information in late April regarding the coordination of end-of-semester move-out plans.

Those who still choose to move out at this time should first review the Move-Out FAQs. Please also take all necessary precautions for both your own safety and that of others. Masks and gloves are highly recommended, and frequent hand-washing is the best form of personal protection. As this is a complex and precise operation subject to state and federal guidance as well as the need to protect the health and safety of our students, their families, and our staff, please do not come to campus until you have confirmation to do so.

Exceptions

All students are required to remain at home for the remainder of the spring semester. Limited exceptions have been granted to the following:

  • students with housing insecurity or accessibility issues
  • international students
  • students whose homes are in areas with extremely limited internet connectivity or who do not have access to a computer
  • students with other significant extenuating circumstances.

Students who have been approved to stay on campus will complete classes remotely amidst minimal campus services.

Credits and Refunds

By the end of the semester, the college will process prorated room, board, and selected fee refunds (for seniors) or credits to accounts (for non-seniors). We understand that there are varied circumstances among you; please be patient as we manage the specifics.

As Residential Education and Housing staff are working remotely in accordance with CDC and state guidelines, please email this office with any questions or concerns.

Dining Hours and Locations

Eickhoff

Eickhoff is the only dining facility open on campus and offers only carryout options. Access is limited to residential students with permission to currently reside on campus. (Essential employees who must come to campus should bring their own meals.) Hours are as follows:

  • breakfast: 7–9:30 a.m.
  • lunch: 11 a.m.–1:30 p.m.
  • dinner: 4–7 p.m.

C-Store

The C-Store is open to residential students with permission to currently reside on campus as well as to any faculty and staff who may be working on campus. Hours are Monday–Friday, 10 a.m.–3 p.m.

Please see the cashier upon entering for plastic gloves to wear while shopping, and please dispose of the gloves upon leaving.

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.

Sick Leave

As President Foster communicated in her March 12 message, TCNJ will adopt Governor Murphy’s guidelines for state employees as clarified by the state Civil Service Commission. (Read related FAQs from the CSC.)

Specifically, TCNJ will permit employees:

  • who are diagnosed with COVID-19 to stay home without using accumulated sick leave
  • who have been exposed to the virus, and are thus either required to self-quarantine or recommended to stay home, to do so without using accumulated sick leave
  • to stay home without using allocated sick leave in the event their child’s school or child care center is closed.

In all cases, appropriate documentation will be required. Employees should coordinate with their supervisors when requesting an accommodation.

Spring 2020 Ungraded Option Policy

Spring 2020 Ungraded Option Policy FAQ

How will spring 2020 courses be graded?

A spring 2020 course will be graded as indicated in the course syllabus at the start of the semester. Unless a previously approved arrangement exists (e.g., internship units that are already approved as ungraded), students will earn a letter grade that will be recorded by their instructors. Whether or not the grade counts toward their GPA will depend on each student choosing or not choosing the Ungraded Option for each course. In the case of an Ungraded Option, the professor will still submit a letter grade to the Office of Records and Registration, but that grade will not appear on the transcript or count toward the GPA.

What happens if I want to earn a letter grade for my course(s)?

Since this is the default grading policy, you do not have to take any action. Your grade will be submitted to PAWS, count toward your GPA, and function in the same ways that grades do each semester.

What happens if I want to move to the Ungraded Option for my course(s)?

TCNJ is implementing a temporary Ungraded Option policy for the spring 2020 semester that allows students to request one, multiple, or all of their courses to be ungraded. A student choosing the Ungraded Option for a course submits a form to the Office of Records and Registration. The form will be available on the Records and Registration website no later than the last week of classes. Instructors will not know if a student chooses the Ungraded Option.

Based on the grade submitted by your instructor, if you choose the Ungraded Option and you earn a “D” or better grade, Records and Registration will enter a “CD” (credit) on your transcript. A “CD” will count toward graduation, but it will be ungraded on your transcript and not count toward your GPA. If you do not earn a passing grade, you will receive an “ND” (no credit). An “ND” will appear on your transcript; that course will not count toward your graduation requirements or your GPA.

Once I submit my request to convert my graded course to Ungraded, can I change my mind and switch back?

Students may ask to rescind their request for a course to be ungraded option through June 15, 2020.

Who can participate in the spring 2020 Ungraded Option?

All undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in TCNJ courses during spring 2020 who would have otherwise received a grade may choose an Ungraded Option.

  • If you are working toward a certain GPA to meet an external requirement, such as the 3.0 GPA requirement for teachers, please note that courses taken as an Ungraded Option will not count toward the GPA.
  • If you plan to transfer the course, please note that other institutions may specify minimum letter grades (such as “C” or better) for courses to transfer.

If at the end of spring semester 2020 I have failed to achieve or maintain academic good standing, what happens next?

Students failing to achieve or maintain academic good standing (i.e., at risk of academic suspension or dismissal) by the end of spring semester will be notified and invited to return for the fall 2020 semester to re-earn academic good standing. They are required to seek academic advising for their fall courses. The Probation, Dismissal, and Academic Standing Policy will be held in abeyance for this semester only.

If I select the Ungraded Option, how will this affect my ability to make Dean’s List?

As per TCNJ policy, students must take three graded course units to be eligible for Dean’s List  and earn a 3.5 GPA. (Pass/Fail and Ungraded Options do not count.) Therefore, if you have a four-unit course load and take one course Ungraded, you would still be eligible for Dean’s List because you still have three graded courses. Alternatively, if you have a four-unit course load and take two courses as Ungraded, you would not be eligible for Dean’s List in the spring 2020 semester because you do not have three graded units.

If I select the Ungraded Option for one or more courses, how will this affect my ability to graduate with honors?

Students must earn at least 16 graded course units to be eligible for graduation with honors. As per TCNJ policy​, “These units may not include courses taken on a Pass/Unsatisfactory basis​ or Credit/No Credit or additive credit or units earned through the college’s credit-by-examination process.” Therefore, it is the student’s responsibility to determine if they have enough graded units to make them eligible for graduation with honors, as courses with Ungraded Options do not count toward the 16 required graded units.

What other factors should I consider when deciding if I want to convert a course to Ungraded?

Students are encouraged to consult with their academic advisors if they have questions about converting courses to Ungraded.

What if I am repeating a class?

Students may choose the Ungraded Option when repeating a course for which the student previously received a failing grade or a withdrawal (“W”). If repeating a course to replace a failing grade results in a passing grade, do nothing and keep the new grade (i.e., do not choose the Ungraded Option). If repeating a course to replace a failing grade results in another failing grade, then choose the Ungraded Option. If repeating a course with a “W”, your choice will depend on your grade. If keeping your spring semester grade improves your GPA, then keep the grade. If your spring semester grade harms your GPA, then choose the Ungraded Option.

What is the deadline for deciding if I want to receive a letter grade or apply for the Ungraded Option?

Students need time to experience their courses online and see their final grade. The Ungraded Option form will be posted on the Records and Registration website no later than the last week of classes. Students choosing the Ungraded Option for one or more courses will need to submit their completed form by June 1, 2020. Requests to rescind an ungraded option may be made through June 15, 2020. Appeals to move a course from graded to ungraded after June 15, 2020, will be handled on a case-by-case basis.

How will this option impact the 3.0 requirement for NJ teacher certification?

The state of New Jersey still requires students to have a 3.0 GPA in order to earn CEAS (Certificate of Eligibility with Advanced Standing) certification. Ungraded courses will not be factored into your GPA. If you are a student who does not yet have a 3.0, you will still need grades in your spring courses to raise your GPA, particularly if you are close to graduation.

TCNJ requires students to have a 2.75 GPA before beginning advanced fieldwork. Students who have not attained that 2.75 GPA because of Ungraded course work should contact their advisor and the Support for Teacher Education Programs office for individual consultation.

Does the Ungraded Option apply to students studying abroad/away?

Yes.

How will this change affect my GPA? 

Only courses that are graded will enter into GPA calculations. Courses for which students select Ungraded will not factor into their GPA. The college will not be able to calculate or communicate alternative GPAs.

Student Accounts

As the campus community works together to support each other during these unprecedented times brought on by the COVID 19 pandemic, TCNJ recognizes the added challenges that families may be experiencing. In light of these events, the college will allow payments for any outstanding spring 2020 semester charges to be made by the end of the semester without penalty.

Get-It Card balances will be carried forward to the next academic year unless students request to be refunded.

Please email Student Accounts with any questions.

Telecommuting

Out of concern for the well-being of our employees and in accordance with the governor’s directives, all-but-essential staff will continue to work remotely as communicated by supervisors and in campus messages. Divisions, departments, and other units are implementing area-specific work-from-home plans.

Employees should refer to the Division of Information Technology’s guidelines to ensure proper access to resources necessary for telecommuting.

Travel

Returning from International Travel

As the campus is now closed by order of the state of New Jersey, community members returning from international travel should follow CDC recommendations. We continue to work with students returning early from a semester abroad to assist them in completing their academic credits.

Planned International Travel

All TCNJ travel through the end of the semester is canceled. No travel request should be submitted for any travel at this time. All summer faculty-led trips are canceled. All summer study abroad trips (i.e., not faculty-led) scheduled through third party providers are canceled. The summer Washington Center Internship Program in Washington, D.C., remains under review. No decision has been made yet regarding fall travel and trips.

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 currently taking classes have access to telemedicine appointments provided by TCNJ Student Health Services. This service is available by appointment, Monday–Friday, 9 a.m.–3:30 p.m.; appointments can be scheduled by logging in to the Online Wellness Link (OWL) portal.

Planned Domestic Travel

All TCNJ travel through the end of the semester is canceled. 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.

External Resources

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