Office of the President

August 06, 2020

Good Morning:

I hope everyone is faring well in the wake of Tropical Storm Isaias and the widespread power outrages.

As we draw closer to the start of the Fall semester on August 24 and the return to campus of resident students in the days prior, Vice Presidents will continue to reassess which staff members are considered critical to on-campus operations. In the coming days and weeks, critical employees will be notified directly by their Vice Presidents or managers and be expected to begin reporting to campus on the Black & Orange schedule. Everyone else will continue to work remotely as long as New Jersey remains in Stage 2. I will communicate again on August 10, when these weekly emails will shift to Mondays, going forward.

As the prospect of New Jersey’s moving to Stage 3, in which face-to-face instruction would be allowed, looks increasingly uncertain, faculty teaching 2000-, 3000-, and 4000-level classes should prepare for the possibility that those classes will begin the semester online, until a shift to Stage 3 allows us to implement our hy-flex model.

The University has petitioned the State for a waiver that would allow us to bring first-year students to campus and implement our Stage 3 plan with them for the first two weeks of the semester, should New Jersey remain in Stage 2 at that time. Given the student population we serve and what we know about how important a strong start is to their long-term success, such a waiver would allow us to connect these students with faculty, advisors, support services, and peers. If New Jersey were to remain in Stage 2 at the end of those two weeks, or if there were to be an outbreak of COVID-19, these students would then shift to fully online learning. So, faculty teaching 1000-level classes will have to remain especially flexible. I expect to have a response to this waiver request and then communicate with you how we will then proceed on Monday, Aug. 10, at the earliest, or Monday, Aug. 17, at the latest. Stay tuned!

I know the continued uncertainty can be frustrating, but I appreciate everyone’s flexibility and willingness to do what’s best for our students, as well as for the health and safety of our community.

Richard J. Helldobler, Ph.D.
Office of the President | 973.720.2222 | [email protected]