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Weekly COVID Newsletter

Posted in: Weekly COVID Newsletter

Weekly Covid Newsletter

Cases on Campus

There have been 96 new cases of COVID-19 on the campus in the past week – down from 165 last week. Visit the COVID-19 dashboard for a breakdown of cases by students, employees and contractors.

None of the infected people have needed to be hospitalized, according to Patricia Ruiz, director of the University Health Center.

“It’s good to see fewer cases this week, but we can’t let our guard down,” says Ruiz. “My advice to everyone is get boosted as soon as you’re eligible, get tested regularly, stay home as much as possible if you’re sick, and be sure to report any symptoms, exposures or positive test results on Hawk Check. Doing those things helps keep you and everyone else safe.”

Returning Safely

To help our students stay on track, achieve their educational goals and reduce the potential trauma of the pandemic, the University will offer a full complement of in-person instruction and support services in spring 2022.

All of us have a role to play in making our spring semester return as safe as possible, and we are following the strategies that science has shown work to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19. Read the January 11 announcement to the campus for more details. Most important: get boosted now if you’re eligible.

The University announced on January 11 that all employees must report their booster status in Vax Check no later than 5 p.m. on Friday, January 21. If you’ve already submitted proof of a booster shot in Vax Check, you don’t need to do anything. Everyone else – please visit Vax Check and answer a few questions about your vaccination history.

In addition, managers and temporary employees must submit proof of getting a booster shot no later than January 21. Members of AFT Local 1904 must submit proof of being completely vaccinated no later than May 15. “Complete vaccination” means having all CDC-recommended shots, including boosters for those who are eligible.

Read the full Employee Vax Check and Vaccination Policy here.

Students are urged to get boosted as soon as possible and no later than March 1.

Get Boosted Soon, You Might Win A Prize!

The University wants as many students and employees as possible to get their booster shots as quickly as possible, so we will be raffling off prizes to encourage everyone to get boosted soon.

Employees who submit their proof of receiving a booster shot will be automatically entered to win a $500 Visa gift card. One name will be drawn randomly every weekday starting Friday, January 14 and ending Thursday, January 20, for a total of five drawings – so the sooner you submit your proof, the more chances you will have to win.

To enter, just upload your vaccine card, showing that you have received a booster shot, in Vax Check. If you have already uploaded proof of your booster shot, you do not need to do so again.

Winners will be drawn at random, and one person may win more than once – so the earlier you submit, the more chances you have to win. Submit your booster proof today!

Winners will be informed directly, and their names will appear in next week’s issue of the Weekly COVID Newsletter.

There will also be a raffle for students, with a deadline of January 31.

Where to Get A Booster Shot

The on-campus clinics scheduled for January 20 and February 10 are full, but don’t worry — it’s really fast and easy to get a booster shot at any of the three Essex County testing and vaccination centers, including the former Kmart in West Orange. Go here to make an appointment. They’re happy to welcome any Montclair State University student or employee, even if you don’t live in the county. Just show your MSU ID card.

To find booster shots near your home, visit or use the CDC’s “vaccine finder” service. Just send a text to 438829 with your zip code, and the system will send you a list of nearby sites.
Please remember to upload a copy of your vaccination card to Vax Check after you’ve received your booster shot.

Question of the Week: What kind of a mask should I wear?

At minimum, wear a well-fitting cloth mask made of multiple layers, but for extra protection, consider pairing it with a disposable paper mask, or upgrading to a KF 94 or KN 95 mask.

“Don’t use a single layer of cloth, like a bandana. It just doesn’t give you enough protection,” says University Health Center Director Patricia Ruiz. “Think of it this way – multi-ply cloth masks are good, double masks are better, and KF 94 or KN 95s are best.

“And be sure to buy your mask from a reputable source, because there are fakes out there.”

“Regardless of which mask style you choose, it won’t work well if it isn’t fitted properly,” Ruiz says. “Make sure the mask goes over your nose and under your chin. Pinch the nose band down so that air doesn’t leak out.”

Want to learn more about KF 94s and KN 95s, and how to find a trusted retailer? Check out this article on The New York Times product recommendation site, Wirecutter.

We welcome suggestions for Question of the Week. Send them to Vice President Joseph Brennan.

Looking for a Test?

The University is requiring residential students to be tested before moving back to campus, and it continues to strongly recommend that everybody get a COVID-19 test before returning from the winter break, and whenever you have symptoms or may have been exposed.

The University’s testing center in Webster Hall will have extended hours today and throughout the holiday weekend. No appointment is necessary, and the center is open to all employees and students at no cost. Go here to learn more.

Looking for testing for friends and family? Try the federally funded site in East Orange, which will test any New Jersey resident or the Essex County testing and vaccination centers in Newark, Livingston and West Orange, which will serve all Montclair State University students or employees regardless of where they live. Morris County residents can use the new site at Morris County College.

Remember to 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.

Please also complete Hawk Check if you get a positive test result – even on a day you’re not planning to come to the campus.

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.

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 or

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,