Return to Campus Update – January 31, 2022
January 21, 2022
Rutgers Community Members,
Earlier this week, President Holloway indicated in his welcome back message to our community that he expected a full return to our campuses beginning January 31, 2022. Given the improving health statistics in the state, our return on Monday, January 31, 2022, will occur as planned.
I want to offer a special note of recognition and thanks to all those whose duties did not permit them to work remotely during the Omicron spike. Employees supporting essential operations, patient care, research, and, of course, student services remained on campus in December and January, and in fact, have been in-person since March 2020. On behalf of a grateful university community, I acknowledge your collective efforts and thank you.
Rutgers Remains Open; Return to the Campus Confirmed for January 31
The university, all clinics, libraries, and research operations continue to remain open; the previously announced pause of the in-person return to campus for employees will end Sunday, January 30, 2022. Beginning Monday, January 31, 2022, employees should resume their pre-Omicron work schedules. Supervisors may adjust schedules with appropriate notification to employees and within the COVID-19 protocols for occupancy.
Libraries, student and campus centers, computer labs, and recreation centers will be open but use will continue to be limited to members of the Rutgers community only. A Rutgers ID card will be required for entry into any of these facilities.
Employee Vaccination and Booster Requirement
The university continues to require all employees to be vaccinated and obtain and upload proof of a vaccine booster by January 31, 2022, or when otherwise eligible, or to have an approved medical or religious exemption. Vaccine boosters are readily available throughout the state, including here at Rutgers. Information on scheduling a vaccine booster at Rutgers is available here.
Student Vaccine Booster Requirement
Rutgers is requiring that all vaccinated students obtain a booster vaccination by January 31, 2022, or as soon as eligible. Eligibility for a booster is defined as six months after the last mRNA vaccine or two months after a J&J vaccine. Those students who are now eligible must obtain a vaccine booster by January 31, 2022, and proof of the booster must be uploaded to the vaccine portal by that date. More information on scheduling a booster at the university can be found here. Students with approved medical or religious exemptions are excused from the booster requirement.
In-person classes and associated services will resume on Monday, January 31. Deans and chairs will work with their respective chancellor offices to assure an orderly transition and communicate their plans directly with students.
Return to Housing
The return to housing will be January 29 and 30, 2022. Students returning to housing must have a vaccine booster or obtain one as soon as eligible and are strongly encouraged to take a COVID-19 test within 72 hours prior to their arrival at Rutgers housing. At-home COVID-19 tests in New Jersey may be accessed for free here or at local county sites here.
Normal dining service operations will commence on Monday, January 31, 2022. Established safety protocols remain in place.
Student Quarantine and Isolation
Students in on-campus housing who test positive or have a confirmed exposure are strongly encouraged and—if the university deems it necessary—may be required to quarantine or isolate at home during a quarantine period.
Employee Quarantine and Isolation
Fully vaccinated individuals (primary vaccine and booster) are not required to quarantine after exposure and may continue their regular duties as long as they remain asymptomatic. Those who are not up-to-date must quarantine after exposure, even if asymptomatic. Note that the CDC defines exposure as 15 minutes or more within 6 feet of a person with COVID-19.
Additional details can be found in the recently updated Guide to Returning to Rutgers. These guidelines are subject to change based on CDC and New Jersey Department of Health guidelines.
In-person events may resume on Monday, January 31, 2022. At that time, all event attendees will be required to show proof of full vaccination (two mRNA doses or the single J&J) or a COVID-19 negative PCR test taken within a 72-hour period prior to the event and must remain compliant with the published COVID-19 protocols.
For events sponsored/hosted by Rutgers students and attended only by Rutgers students, displaying proof of vaccine or negative test is not required. A Rutgers student ID card will be required for attendance at the event.
Proof of full vaccination (two mRNA doses or the single J&J) or a COVID-19 negative PCR test taken within a 72-hour period prior to the event is required by all those attending athletics events. Face coverings are required at all times and concession sales are limited to water and soft drinks only.
Employees and students who are residents of the State of New Jersey can receive free at-home testing through the state. Information is available at https://learn.vaulthealth.com/nj/ or by checking with their local county public health offices regarding available free testing sites. Similar programs are available to employees who reside in states other than New Jersey. Please check with your state and/or local health agencies for further information.
Effective January 31, 2022, the university is returning to its previous testing protocols. On-campus testing will be available only to Rutgers employees who are granted a medical or religious exemption from vaccination. Unvaccinated individuals must undergo weekly testing regardless of work location or schedule; unvaccinated Covered Individuals (as defined in Policy 100.3.1) are required to test twice per week. Testing kits and instructions can be accessed here.
Use of face coverings is required. The university has obtained a supply of KN95 masks and will make these masks available to employees and students who wish to wear them. Their use is strongly recommended. Additionally, Rutgers-branded cloth face coverings remain available at no cost to students and employees. Details regarding distribution of KN95 masks, which will begin on January 29, 2022, will be announced soon.
On-Campus Protocols and Safety Tips
Established procedures for on-campus activities will continue.
- Use of face coverings while in indoor settings is mandatory, unless seated alone in an enclosed office or at a designated workstation.
- Self-screening using the My Campus Pass is still required.
- Using common sense and doing your part of our shared responsibilities continues to be important.
The health and safety of our community remain our top priority. Protocols will change as we consult with public health agencies and assess data, including the number of positive cases in New Jersey, COVID-19 hospitalizations, state and regional hospital capacity, and the severity of the dominant variant. Please continue to look for updates at https://coronavirus.rutgers.edu.
I look forward to a safe and vibrant return to the Rutgers in-person experience.
Antonio M. Calcado
Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer