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August 27, 2020

Dear Rutgers University Community Members:

We are very proud of our community’s response and our university’s contributions to the fight against COVID-19 this past spring and summer. Unfortunately, we are not out of the woods; this pandemic will continue into the foreseeable future. Over the next few months, as the weather changes and we spend more time indoors, the infection rate is expected to climb again. Hopefully, however, it will never again be as high as it was this spring.

Rutgers is doing all we can to fight the pandemic and keep our community members safe. Our research made rapid COVID-19 testing a reality, we are leading the largest study of COVID-19 amidst health care workers, and more recently we have begun enrolling subjects in the clinical trials for the first two of our nation’s vaccine candidates.

Our mitigation and testing efforts are focused on the health and safety of our students and employees as they return to their learning, research, and work. Our targeted testing strategy allows us to focus our resources on groups at higher risk for transmission. We began these efforts in May, and have ramped them up this summer. This week we have made the summary results of our testing program available for public review on the testing program dashboard. As you can see, we are now doing extensive testing, and happily, our positivity rates remain very low, especially compared to our colleagues in other universities. These data will be updated on the dashboard each week. Beginning next week a health update email including new data and information will also be sent to the university community weekly.

As we look to the weeks and months ahead, we know there are many challenges yet to face. We all need to work together to maintain our progress in this fight. We must continue to take responsibility for each other’s well-being. Please maintain adequate physical distancing, wear your mask, and answer truthfully and completely if you are contacted by contact tracers.

Perhaps even more importantly, take good care of yourself and be kind to others. We are all facing heavier burdens during this difficult time and many are in need of help or simple kindness. If you need to talk to someone please call the Rutgers4U service line at 855-652-6819 for confidential emotional and therapeutic support.

Yours in health,

Vicente Gracias, MD
Senior Vice Chancellor for Clinical Affairs, Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences
Vice President for Health Affairs, Rutgers University

Brian L. Strom, MD, MPH
Chancellor, Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences
Executive Vice President for Health Affairs, Rutgers University