Office of the President

March 11, 2020

To the William Paterson Community:
As we have planned for and monitored the spread of COVID-19 since it first appeared in our state, all our actions in response to the virus have been taken in accordance with the best interests of the health and safety of the University community. Governor Murphy has declared a State of Emergency in New Jersey, which is aimed at securing and coordinating state and federal resources and does not have direct implications for our operations.
While at this time, we are not aware of any cases of COVID-19 on our campus, it is now clear that ensuring health and safety requires us to take preemptive action to contain and mitigate the virus’s potential impact on our campus. Spring Break begins on Sunday, March 15. To help ensure that students can successfully continue their classwork after the break and that we can continue University operations, I am announcing the following actions:
Course Instruction
  • We will extend Spring Break through Tuesday, March 24. Beginning Wednesday, March 25, most classes will move online and most face-to-face instruction will be suspended through at least Tuesday, April 14.
  • Courses that are already fully online will continue in accordance with the original schedule.
  • Small laboratory and studio sections may still meet on campus in cases where access to facilities are deemed essential; College Deans must review, approve, and submit these exceptions to the Provost's Office.
  • We will share comprehensive updates through email and social media on April 10.
  • Individual faculty members should contact their students about the specifics for the online conduct of their respective classes.
  • The Provost’s Office will continue to communicate with faculty and provide remote teaching resources and best practices.
  • Students in clinical, practicum, student teaching, and internship programs should follow the guidance, policies and procedures of their placement site; interruption of these experiences will be handled on a case-by-case basis under the guidance of College Deans.
Faculty and Staff

  • All University offices, laboratories, and services will remain open.
  • While on campus, employees are strongly encouraged to use teleconference services, such as Microsoft Teams, in lieu of in-person meetings of more than 20 people in an effort to promote social-distancing, which health experts are advising as a way to slow the spread of the virus.
  • Guidance from Human Resources will be forthcoming advising staff on employee leave management and related workplace questions. Individuals with underlying health concerns should contact Human Resources to discuss potential accommodations.
  • Please take steps to protect your own health and the health of your coworkers by following guidance on prevention and care. If you feel unwell, stay home.
Campus Life and Activities
  • Students in the residence halls are expected to leave campus as soon as your classes are over this week and remain off campus through at least April 14. Students with special circumstances who may need to remain in the residence halls should contact Residence Life. Resident students will receive further instruction from Residence Life.
  • Beginning Sunday, March 15, William Paterson events and in-person meetings involving groups of more than 20 participants are cancelled through at least April 14; this policy will be further reviewed and any updates shared on April 10.
  • Groups with events scheduled from April 15 onward should begin considering alternative plans should those events need to be canceled.
  • Athletics administration will follow the guidance of local health officials, Student Development, and their respective athletic conferences.
  • Club sport competitions will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis by Student Development administration.
  • We strongly encourage all members of the William Paterson community to reconsider any upcoming travel, especially to areas where there has been a significant incidence of COVID-19.
  • All William Paterson-led international spring break programs are canceled.
  • All students in third-party study abroad programs are strongly encouraged to return home.
  • All international travel sponsored by William Paterson is suspended.
  • Any member of our community returning from a country designated Level 2 or 3 by the CDC is required to self-isolate for 14 days before returning to campus.
  • Because of the higher risk of cruises, anyone taking a cruise is required to self-isolate at home for 14 days before returning to campus.
The University’s Critical Incident Unit continues to monitor the situation and is updating guidance daily. Further details will be communicated on April 10. Extensive guidance and information for the University community can be found on the regularly updated webpage at . I ask that everyone make it a habit to visit the website daily to stay fully updated.
If you have not already downloaded the Rave Guardian mobile app, please do so right now at or your phone’s app store, and regularly check your William Paterson email account to stay informed.
As with so many things with this fast-moving situation, we will continuously reevaluate and promptly communicate any additional changes to the community. I know that these actions will present their own challenges, but please be assured that we have been planning for this eventuality all along. I appreciate everyone’s understanding and cooperation as we deal with these exceptional circumstances.
Thank you,

Richard J. Helldobler, PhD
Office of the President | 973.720.2222 |