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August 6, 2020

Dear Rutgers University Community Members,

Rutgers University is dedicating the full force of our research, administration, and academic expertise to addressing the COVID-19 crisis and helping protect the health and safety of all of our community members.  Mitigation efforts championed by our state government and health agencies and enacted by our vigilant public over the past few months have thankfully been successful in flattening the curve and lessening the burden on our healthcare systems.

As we all know, the guidance and science around testing for the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) continues to evolve.  Yet, thanks to our own researchers, significant strides in testing accuracy, availability, and speed have given us renewed hope as we look to further reduce transmission of the virus and resume regular activities.  As we are able to welcome individuals back to campus to continue research, clinical practice, and learning, we want to share updates on the university’s COVID-19 testing strategy.

Rutgers has developed a testing strategy that utilizes risk assessments to prioritize testing as part of a return-to-campus program.  A university Testing Protocol Action Group (TPAG) will make risk assessments to help Rutgers most effectively utilize SARS-CoV-2 testing.  Chaired by Rutgers’ Executive Vice President for Health Affairs and RBHS Chancellor Brian Strom and staffed by the university’s clinical, legal, ethical, and epidemiological experts, TPAG will advise the university about the recommended priority and frequency for testing of students and employees who will be on campus.  Each Rutgers school/department/unit may submit requests for testing by coordinating with the unit’s supervisor and their school/institute’s leadership to obtain TPAG review.  Additional information about the university’s testing strategy, including a robust FAQ section, can be found by visiting We have performed over 10,000 COVID-19 tests and have over 12,000 more scheduled for this month already. TPAG is reviewing more.

It is important to note that testing is just one tool to create a safer environment.  The university has already developed thorough plans to deploy additional risk-mitigation strategies in alignment with CDC and NJDOH recommendations such as: symptom monitoring, decontamination and cleaning, physical distancing and barriers, and the distribution of masks, to name just a few.  Together with testing and these other measures, the New Jersey Department of Health’s contact tracing efforts are critical to maintaining our community’s path to recovery. Contact tracers are reaching out to share information, either regarding your test results, or with notification that you may have been in close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19.

Employees and students who test positive for COVID-19 and are already on campus or in Rutgers facilities should contact Occupational Health or Student Health directly to report the case and seek guidance. Contact information for these offices can be found in this email below the signature.

More information about COVID-19 and the university’s work to mitigate the virus and combat its effect on our community is available by visiting the Rutgers COVID Website.

Wishing you good 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

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