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March 21, 2020

Members of the Rutgers Community:

Earlier today, Governor Murphy signed Executive Order 107, which places further restrictions on social gatherings and business operations in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. These are important steps and the University is as well prepared as possible to follow the State’s guidance.

The Executive Order, which the Governor refers to as the “Stay at Home Order,” has both direct and indirect impacts on Rutgers. Among the direct ways that it has an impact on Rutgers, the Executive Order:

  • Specifically permits travel to work and for educational purposes.  Instructors intending to utilize classroom settings to broadcast their remote teaching may still travel to campus to do so.
  • Closes all physical libraries and computer labs at public and private colleges and universities. It has no effect on online library services.
  • Encourages telecommuting to the extent possible but specially identifies research lab workers as employees who may not be reasonably expected to telecommute because their physical presence may be required.
  • Specifically exempts healthcare and medical service providers from the restrictions contained in the Executive Order.

In addition, and more broadly, the Executive Order:

  • Bans all gatherings – weddings, parties, celebrations, etc. are cancelled.
  • Orders the closure of all retail establishments except those providing essential goods or services including food stores, gas stations, auto repair shops, and pharmacies, among other exceptions.
  • Continues the ban on restaurants and bars except for takeout and delivery orders.
  • Continues the ban on entertainment facilities, gyms, and other recreational facilities.

While these are important steps for the State, they largely reflect much of what Rutgers has already done in response to the COVID-19 crisis. We do not anticipate that the “Stay at Home Order” will interfere with our ability to offer remote instruction beginning Monday. Every academic department has certified to their deans and their chancellors that their faculty have developed plans for remote teaching.

I reiterate the University’s strongest encouragement that you work from home wherever possible.

This is a time of deep personal concern and uncertainty for people across our community. To our faculty and staff, I say thank you for your incredible work over the last week to prepare the University for remote instruction and telecommuting, and for keeping our critical services up and running. To our students, I thank you for your flexibility, your patience, and your perseverance through these difficult times. I encourage you to take care of yourself and your loved ones, to be safe, and to stay home.


Robert Barchi