August 10, 2020
To William Paterson Faculty and Staff:
As New Jersey remains in Stage 2, our current operational plan stays in place. I had hoped to be able to communicate today a definitive plan for the Fall Semester, but late Friday, we were asked to hold any announcements pending further guidance from the Office of the Secretary of Higher Education, which we expect early this week. It remains unclear right now what changes are in store for higher education in New Jersey.
Residence Halls and Library Will Open
Meanwhile, it was affirmed that any change will not impact our ability to reopen our residence halls with reduced capacity, as planned and as allowed under Stage 2 guidelines. We want our resident students to be able to live on campus, even if courses are initially conducted remotely, to both take advantage of residence-based support services and programs, including the Library, which will open August 24, and be ready to move to the original instructional plan, when the State moves to Stage 3.
Status of Remote Work
While the State remains in Stage 2, employees currently working remotely will continue to do so, unless they have been or will be identified as critical by their vice president. Employees with an approved qualifying exemption will continue to work remotely. Cabinet members and President’s Office staff are among those who will return to campus with the start of the semester on August 24, working on the Orange and Black schedule communicated earlier.
I have said from the first days of our shift to remote learning and working that I would give everyone a week’s notice before any major changes in our operating conditions, so that we can all properly communicate and plan for those changes. That remains the case. Even once the State does move to Stage 3, when broad, in-person learning is allowed, we will wait a week before implementing our full reopening plan. Until that day, which I hope comes soon, we will continue to prepare for the start of the semester and to make the best of our circumstances and provide our students with the best possible educational experience.
I will communicate with you all again on these matters as soon as we have clarity from the State, but no later than Monday, August 17. I know this is frustrating and that everyone wants their Fall semester experience to be settled. I, too, wish we all had definitive answers. Please remember that we will all have to remain flexible and be ready to change should guidance change, outbreaks occur, or when a move to Stage 3 permits more face-to-face instruction in accordance with the health and safety protocols in our Reopening Plan.
For now, please enjoy the rest of your summer and stay safe.