The outside of Blanton Hall on a sunny day with students walking around.

Fall Semester Plans

A Message from President Cole to all Employees.

Posted in: Coronavirus

Office of the President

Dear Faculty and Staff:

I am writing to update you on the status of planning for the fall semester. Today, Governor Murphy laid out a roadmap for the lifting of restrictions on higher education institutions in a series of three stages. Our planning is based on the likely assumption that we will be at Stage 3 by the time the fall semester begins.

Under that scenario, we expect that higher education institutions will be permitted to offer a mixture of in-person, hybrid and remote learning, to provide students with campus housing and other services, and to offer some campus events. All of this would be done with a comprehensive protocol of precautions in place designed to reduce the risk of spreading the virus. In that regard, the University will have policies in place in regard to face coverings, hand sanitizing, room and equipment cleaning, social distancing in both instructional and work spaces, health monitoring, limitations on the numbers of persons who can simultaneously occupy specific spaces, and many other related areas.

All of these policies and protocols, together with clear explanations and a good deal of campus signage and communication about them will be available well in advance of the fall term. In addition, each division vice president is developing a careful and phased plan for returning employees to campus as safely as possible. Those plans will include reduced density and some combinations of both on-campus and remote working.

Now that the Governor has announced his intentions for colleges and universities, we can start moving forward, and our goal will be to get very clear and very complete information to all of you as soon as possible. Please remember that if you have a significant health-related concern that may affect your employment or your return to campus, please contact Betty Paulino, Director of Benefits in the Division of Human Resources at:

I do want to announce now one important decision, an adjustment to the Academic Calendar for the fall semester. The term will be moved up one week, with classes starting on Tuesday, August 25 and ending on Monday, December 14, with no on-campus instruction after Thanksgiving. The period after Thanksgiving will be limited to remotely delivered instruction, projects, and final exams. This change will significantly decrease the population density on campus just about the time when respiratory viruses, including the coronavirus, typically become more active.

As I said above, now that the Governor has announced his higher education restart plans, we will be able to start providing much more of the information that you all want and need.

In the meantime, please continue to stay safe and well, and try to enjoy some of the wonderful summer weather.

President Cole