Our region is experiencing a surge in COVID-19 cases, and so is our campus community. In the past few weeks, there have been more than 150 cases per week – a big jump up from the numbers we were seeing earlier this fall.
All of us have a role to play in reducing the spread of the virus and helping to keep each other as safe as possible.
The health of our University community is a public good that we create and maintain together by taking actions that advance the collective interest – even if they may sometimes feel burdensome. Our students – and the communities that we serve – depend on us to be there for them. So during this time when cases are on the rise, each one of us must do our part to control the spread of the virus.
Here’s a friendly reminder about what we all need to do.
Make sure you are fully vaccinated
That means getting a booster shot if it has been more than two months since your Johnson & Johnson (or other single dose) vaccine or more than six months since your second dose of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines.
The Essex County Health Department will be on campus to provide vaccinations, including boosters, on January 20. Details on how to register will be announced soon. It’s also possible to get boosted/vaccinated immediately at one of the Essex County vaccination sites, or you can choose another convenient location. To find a vaccination site near you, send a text to 438829 with your zip code, and the nearest vaccine sites will show up.
Please remember to upload a copy of your vaccination card to VaxCheck after you’ve received your booster shot.
You could have the virus in your body without having any symptoms, and you might unknowingly infect a family member, coworker, neighbor or friend. Our health experts report that in many recent cases among our campus community, the infected person either didn’t have symptoms or thought that they had a cold or allergies. So don’t take a chance – get a test.
The University strongly recommends that all members of the campus community get tested for COVID-19 no more than 72 hours before returning to campus after the winter break.
All employees and students can be tested at no cost in the on-campus testing center in Webster Hall. The center is open this week and following its regular schedule:
Monday – Thursday: 10 a.m. – 7: 30 p.m.
Friday, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. (yes, it is open on New Year’s Eve).
Sunday 2 p.m. – 6 p.m.
The Webster Hall site is limited to only employees and students.
Unfortunately, the University is unable to provide testing for family or friends for several reasons, including capacity limitations at our Webster testing center, insurance issues (asymptomatic individuals and routine testing are not covered by health insurance), supply chain demands on testing materials, and restrictions on how the University can use federal pandemic relief funds. Our testing center has been developed to serve our employees and students, and we appreciate your understanding.
If you are unable to use the Webster Hall testing center prior to returning to the campus from the winter break, you may obtain a test wherever possible, including using a test that can be taken at home. Please note, students and employees with approved medical or religious exemptions must continue to use the Webster Hall testing center.
After you have obtained your test result from an off-campus location, please upload it using the VaxCheck portal. If you test positive, remember to report it in Hawk Check, then isolate yourself and wait for a phone call from one of our healthcare providers, who will provide instructions.
For more information about how to find testing sites or to have a home test kit shipped to you, visit the New Jersey Department of Health’s COVID-19 testing information website or call 211.
Wear Your Mask
The virus that causes COVID-19 spreads from person to person through the air, in the tiny droplets that we all exhale. Wearing a properly-fitted cloth mask over your nose and mouth protects you from spreading the virus and from breathing it in from someone else. Many of us don’t particularly enjoy wearing the mask, but doing so is a way to show others that you care.
The University’s Community Health Advisory Team (CHAT) recently created a custom Montclair mask with the slogan “For Me. For You. For Us.” as a way to remind everyone that wearing a mask is an action we take because we are part of a community that we cherish. President Koppell gave them out at the Winter Gathering earlier this month. If you do not yet have yours, ask for one at your dean’s office or the Vice President of Student Development and Campus Life office.
Do Hawk Check
Hawk Check is one of the most important ways that our health-care providers find out about potential cases. Reporting your risks and symptoms accurately – and promptly – gives them a head start on helping keep the virus under control.
Remember to complete the Hawk Check self-screening application consistently. Do it every workday, Monday through Friday, and on any weekends or holidays on which you plan to come to campus. If you live on campus, do it every day. If Hawk Check gives you the thumbs up, come to campus. If it tells you not to come, then please stay home and wait for a phone call from one of our health care providers, who will advise you on next steps.
Stay Home if You’re Sick
At Montclair, we like to share things – but not our germs! Any time you’re not feeling well, regardless of whether you have COVID-19 or something else, stay home, rest and recover before coming back to campus. It’s one more way we show that we care about the people who make up our cherished community.
For More Information
The University will continue to publish the Weekly COVID Newsletter on Fridays during the semester and will share updates with the campus as new information becomes available from the CDC and the State of New Jersey.
Please visit the University’s COVID-19 Information website for links to resources, policies and guidelines – as well as the weekly dashboard of cases on campus.
Thank you for doing your part to help keep our campus community as safe as possible. Getting vaccinated and boosted, getting tested, wearing your mask, doing Hawk Check and staying home when you’re sick are important actions we all must take for the welfare of our University community. As the saying goes, we do these things “for me, for you, for all of us.”