The Weekly COVID Newsletter provides the latest information about COVID-19 for the University community. It will be published on Fridays throughout the semester. Back issues are posted in the News and Announcements section of the COVID-19 Information website.
State Workers Must Get Vaccinated
Gov. Murphy announced on August 23 that “all state employees – including those at all state agencies, authorities, and public colleges and universities – are required to be fully vaccinated by October 18 or undergo regular testing at a minimum of once to twice each week.” The University is looking forward to receiving additional details from Trenton regarding implementation. We will provide more information when it becomes available.
For now, we continue to strongly encourage all employees who are able to get the vaccine to do so – and to let us know using Vax Check. It’s the best way we have to protect our campus community and help provide our students with a vibrant in-person educational experience.
Do Hawk Check – It’s Faster, Better, Hawkier Than Ever
With more people on campus now, it’s important to remember to complete the Hawk Check self-screening application consistently. And to make it faster and more convenient, we’ve now shortened the questionnaire and streamlined the Hawk Check process.
You’re no longer required to do Hawk Check every day. Just do it Monday through Friday, and do it on weekends or holidays only when you plan to come to the campus. (If you live on campus, do it every day, please). And you don’t need to do it 6-14 hours ahead of time. Just complete Hawk Check before arriving.
If Hawk Check gives you the thumbs up, come to campus. If it tells you not to come, then stay home and wait for a phone call from Occupational Health at the number you provided when you did Hawk Check.
Finally, to make extra certain you don’t forget, all employees will now get a Hawk Check reminder email every weekday. You can also make an appointment on your calendar to remind yourself or use the COVID Alert NJ app reminder feature.
Why do Hawk Check? It gives our clinicians important data about COVID on campus, enables them to reach out quickly to people who may be infected, supports contact tracing, and is in line with the recommendations of the CDC and the NJ Dept. of Health. By doing Hawk Check, you are helping to keep our campus community safe.
Pfizer Vaccine Officially Approved by FDA
Earlier this week the U.S. Food and Drug Administration officially approved the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for individuals 16 years of age and older. The Pfizer vaccine was previously approved under an emergency use authorization, which remains in place for those ages 12-15 and certain immunocompromised individuals. The Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines remain available under emergency use authorization.
Need a Shot?
You can get vaccinated against COVID-19 at no cost at the Essex County mobile vaccine clinic next Monday, August 30, in Lot 7, next to the Panzer Athletic Center, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. You can also bring family members to get their shots.
If you have gotten your first dose someplace else, you can get the second dose here. Bring your vaccine card with you. The clinic also offers free PCR tests and will send you the results the next day.
Appointments are requested, but walk-ins will be allowed. Bring your University ID, please.
Visit this page to make an appointment online. Vouchers for free parking in the Red Hawk Deck will be available at the clinic.
If you cannot make it to the on-campus clinic, you can get vaccinated at many other locations. Just text your zip code to “438829” and vaccination locations will be texted to your phone within 10 seconds.
We’re Almost There With Student Vaccinations!
Students taking on-campus courses this fall are required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 unless they receive an exemption for medical or religious reasons. As of Thursday, August 26 90.8% of students are vaccinated (87.6% fully, 3.2% partially) while 6.8% have been granted exemptions.
The University has been working with the remaining 2.4% of students to encourage them to meet our vaccination requirements so that they can stay on track to graduation. If they upload proof of at least one shot no later than Friday, August 27 they will be allowed to attend classes (but not move into campus housing). They must get their final dose by September 30 or risk being dropped from their fall courses. These partially vaccinated students will also have to follow the same rules that apply to students with approved exemptions.
Helping Unvaccinated Students Stay Safe
There are some students who cannot take the vaccine for medical or religious reasons, and under New Jersey law they are allowed to submit a request to be exempted from the vaccination requirement. Just under 7% of students taking classes on campus this fall have qualified for this exemption.
Unvaccinated students can come to campus and attend classes in person, but they must follow certain safety precautions, including wearing masks indoors, including in classrooms, and outdoors when it is not possible to keep 6 feet of distance from other people. They will also be tested twice a week and placed in isolation immediately if the test comes back positive. Unvaccinated students who live on campus have been assigned to single rooms, and they must comply with certain restrictions for high-risk activities including athletics, stage performances and clinical placements or internships. See the Fall Student Vaccination policy for full details.
Unvaccinated employees will follow similar rules, including being tested regularly. Because vaccination reduces the risk of getting a severe or even fatal case of COVID-19, the University continues to strongly encourage all employees to get vaccinated.
The University will not inform instructors about the vaccination status of students in their classrooms. Following CDC guidance, we are requiring everyone to wear masks in classrooms, studios, research labs and other indoor spaces, regardless of vaccination status. We encourage people who want to eat together indoors to have respectful conversations about their vaccination status so that everyone in the group can make an informed decision about removing their mask during the meal.
For More Information
For the most up-to-date information about Montclair State’s recovery from the pandemic, please visit the University’s COVID-19 information website, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Thank you for reading this edition of the Weekly COVID Newsletter, a production of the Office of University Communications and Marketing. Comments and suggestions may be sent to Vice President Joseph Brennan, firstname.lastname@example.org.