As the University’s offices prepare to reopen on Monday, January 3, Human Resources reminds all employees to follow the guidance provided in last week’s COVID Weekly Newsletter – Special Edition. Taking these actions – getting a booster shot, getting tested before coming to campus, doing Hawk Check consistently, wearing a mask properly and staying home when you do not feel well – will help protect our campus community as we together get through the current surge.
Offices Will be Open to Meet University Commitments
In light of the fact that the University community has high vaccination rates (more than 93%) as well as a robust set of safety protocols, the University expects all employees who have on-campus job duties and assignments to fulfill those duties. We are adopting this approach to maintain safety while ensuring that the University meets its commitments to students, colleagues and the community.
The Flexible Work Arrangements Policy remains in effect. Employees with approved flexible work arrangements should continue to follow those arrangements.
Please be aware that the policy permits employees to request a short-term flexible work arrangement (less than one month in duration) subject to the operational needs of the unit and supervisor approval. Such arrangements must be documented in writing. An email describing the arrangement and including supervisor approval is acceptable documentation. Please read the policy statement for more details.
Employees who are unable to fulfill their on-campus job duties or assignments for reasons other than illness, approved leave, or COVID isolation/quarantine, must charge personal time off.
Where to Get a Test
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 to slow down the spread, 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. It should be your first stop when you get back to campus. Or you can be tested before you come back to campus and submit the result to Vax Check. Please note, students and employees with approved exemptions from vaccination for medical or religious reasons must continue to use the Webster Hall testing center.
On January 1, the State of New Jersey opened a large testing site in East Orange that offers free PCR tests for all New Jersey residents. Visit the East Orange Health Department’s website for details. In addition, a number of localities are opening or expanding testing facilities for the public. Read this NJ.com article to learn more. 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.
Make Sure you are Fully Vaccinated
Being fully vaccinated 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. A booster dose helps your body fight off the virus if you get exposed to it and significantly moderates the symptoms if you are infected.
The Essex County Health Department will be on campus to provide free vaccinations, including boosters, on Thursday, January 20. All employees and students, and any resident of Essex County, can use the clinic. Go here to register.
Even better is to get boosted or 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.
Testing and Vaccination During Employee Work Hours
To make it easier for employees to get tested or vaccinated/boosted, President Koppell has empowered supervisors to adjust employee schedules and job duties to allow for reasonable time away from the job for testing and vaccination during scheduled work hours. Accrued leave does not have to be charged for this purpose.
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.
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.
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.