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December 20, 2021

Colleagues,

As 2021 draws to a close, our health statistics show that Rutgers’ high vaccination rates, general preventive practices, and your cooperation and support of shared responsibility have combined to provide for a safe fall semester. I thank all of you for your diligence—we all should celebrate our shared success.

Having said that, the Omicron variant is now upon us, and New Jersey is experiencing significant increases in statewide COVID-19 case counts. We are carefully monitoring the situation and are working with health agencies as we make decisions and provide guidance to safeguard the health and safety of our community. Among those decisions is an important change to our operating status, at least for the first week following the holiday break.

Return to the Office for the First Week of 2022 (1/3/22 – 1/9/22)

The university, all clinics, and research operations will remain open.  However, to minimize employee presence to the highest degree possible, vice presidents, deans, and directors are asked to assess their operations and to allow and encourage all employees who can telecommute to please do so, in accordance with the clarification of the Telecommuting Policy relaxation described in Senior Vice President for Human Resources Vivian Fernandez’s email on December 3, 2021.

Employees typically deemed essential should report as currently scheduled unless notified by their supervisors of shift changes.

Spring Semester Including the Return to Housing 

We will inform you in early January if there are modifications to how we deliver instruction (in-person, remote, hybrid) for the start of the spring semester or any adjustments to the return–to-campus dates for students who have left for the winter break.

Events

All in-person or hybrid events scheduled from December 23, 2021, through January 31, 2022, should be moved to entirely virtual platforms. If that is not possible, those events should be postponed or canceled. Chancellors and vice presidents or their designees have the authority to accommodate special requests within the published COVID-19 protocols.

Athletic Events

Athletic directors on all our campuses are monitoring the situation while they work with their chancellors and the central administration to develop contingency plans that balance the needs of our student-athletes and meet league obligations. Additional information will be released as decisions are made.

Testing

Employees who are telecommuting can receive free at-home testing through the State of New Jersey. Information is available at https://learn.vaulthealth.com/nj/.

Beginning January 3, 2022, any employee whose presence on campus is required may access free weekly testing at the university through January 31, 2022. Information is available at https://coronavirus.rutgers.edu/on-campus-testing/.

Vaccination and Boosters

The university continues to require all employees to be vaccinated or have an approved medical or religious exemption by January 4, 2022. Although boosters are not currently required, they are nevertheless strongly recommended. More information is available at https://coronavirus.rutgers.edu/covid-19-vaccine/.

On-Campus Protocols and Safety Tips

Established procedures for on-campus activities will continue.

  • Use of libraries and recreation centers is limited to persons with Rutgers ID cards.
  • Use of face coverings while in indoor settings is mandatory.
  • Self-screening using the My Campus Pass continues to be required.
  • Using common sense and doing your part of our shared responsibilities continues to be important.

Information regarding university protocols and other essential information can be found at:  https://ipo.rutgers.edu/sites/default/files/Guide%20To%20Returning%20To%20Rutgers.pdf

The health and safety of our community remains our top priority. Required protocols may 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 look for updates during the first week of January.

Wishing you and your loved ones a very happy holiday season and asking you to please remain vigilant and safe.

 

Antonio M. Calcado
Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer