March 12, 2021
Dear William Paterson Community,
With vaccine eligibility expanding and vaccination rates accelerating, I am excited to announce that William Paterson University plans to fully welcome students, faculty, and staff back to campus for the Fall 2021 semester. Of course, we will continue to adhere to all State and federal guidelines and regulations, but all signs suggest that conditions will allow for a return to normal operations by the fall, if not sooner.
One year ago this week, all instruction and most campus work went fully remote in the wake of COVID-19 being officially declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization. In my message to you at the time, I said, “I’m sure we all look forward to enjoying the interactions with the members of this vibrant community, when we return. And we will return.” It took longer than we hoped or could have imagined at the time, but return we did. Our current status, though far from normal, is providing an important on-campus experience for many of our students, especially first-year students. Now, we can look forward to a complete return, with any necessary precautions, when students and faculty will once again fill our classrooms, laboratories, and studio spaces, and when staff will again join all their colleagues in offices and work spaces across campus.
The prospect of a return to normalcy is all the sweeter because it has been a year of such tremendous hardship and suffering for so many. Yet, it has also been a year in which our wonderfully resilient William Paterson community has demonstrated its collective Will. Power. We have all made sacrifices of one kind or another to help keep each other safe. Everybody has played a part in making the most of a tough situation. Thanks to you, and to our Counseling, Health & Wellness Center and Pandemic Response Team, classes are being held on campus, students are living in our residence halls, and our student-athletes have now safely returned to competition.
From the beginning of the pandemic, our students, faculty, staff, and alumni have been volunteering at testing sites, helping the most vulnerable in our communities, and supporting each other professionally and personally. Our faculty and staff have shown their unwavering commitment to teaching and supporting our students, and our students have exhibited grit and determination in persisting with their studies through the most difficult time in the history of our institution. We should all be proud to be WP Pioneers.
Recently, Vice President for Human Resources Allison Boucher-Jarvis shared with you plans for the four-day summer workweek. For now, staff will continue with the Orange and Black hybrid schedule of remote and in-person work, but we do anticipate shifting back to fully in-person work schedules sometime over the summer. As always, we will give everyone at least two weeks advance notice of any schedule change.
With the warm weather, so many promising signs of growth and renewal are visible across campus – from the first green shoots in the gardens, to chamber singers having socially distanced practice outdoors, to athletic teams competing and practicing. And in just a matter of weeks, Commencement will bring a series of socially distanced ceremonies, and we will celebrate one of the most hopeful and joyous events in the life of the University.
I hope you are as excited as I am for all that lies ahead for William Paterson. In the meantime, please continue adhering to all public health guidelines, and I encourage you all to get the vaccine as soon as you are eligible, so that we can stay on track for a full return to campus. Thank you all for making that possible.