Office of the President

August 14, 2020

Dear Students:

Governor Murphy on Wednesday signed an Executive Order allowing colleges and universities to return to in-person instruction with appropriate social distancing protocols, which means we will be able to start the Fall semester under our Stage 3 plan for a mix of hybrid, HyFlex, fully-online, and regular on-campus courses. Lab and other equipment-based courses requiring hands-on learning will also proceed as planned. I am grateful that Governor Murphy has recognized the importance of a safe, campus-based experience to the educational success of our students, and I am excited to welcome you all to campus, beginning with resident students, who will start moving in next week.

Under the Governor’s Executive Order, students can choose to take courses remotely. Your instructors will be in touch with you shortly with more information on the courses in which you are registered. The Schedule of Classes available on WPConnect also has the information on how each course will be taught this fall. The Registrar’s Office will be sending you information on how to search the site for its instructional plan. Students who wish to participate in a course remotely should communicate that preference directly to the instructor. Please know that your advisor and department chair are also available to assist you in building an optimal course schedule for the fall.

As Governor Murphy said in announcing his Executive Order, these and other changes affecting K-12 education in the State are possible because New Jerseyans have done a good job in fighting COVID-19, and the current rate of transmission is low enough to allow for the safe return of students, faculty, and staff. Of course, we will all need to continue to be vigilant in fighting the virus by adhering to the guidelines laid out in the Pioneer Pledge – chief among them, wearing a face covering that covers your mouth and nose and staying home if you are sick.

I am fully confident that our comprehensive Reopening Plan will allow for us all to resume our work and studies while keeping our community healthy and safe. On that front, I am pleased to share that the University has contracted with a respected testing firm to make COVID-19 testing available to all resident students with no out-of-pocket expense. We have also engaged a well-regarded contact tracing firm to quickly track down any impacted individuals, should we learn of an exposure on campus.

The pandemic is far from over, but I am pleased that New Jersey’s residents and its leadership have listened to and followed the science and taken the important steps necessary to get the virus sufficiently under control to allow us to return to campus. I look forward to seeing you all on campus soon, wearing your face coverings. I’ll be wearing mine! Until then, stay cool, and enjoy the rest of your summer.

Richard J. Helldobler, Ph.D.
Office of the President | 973.720.2222 |