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

Weekly COVID Newsletter: October 2, 2020

Posted in: Coronavirus

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October 2, 2020

The Weekly COVID Newsletter provides the latest information about COVID-19 for the University community. It will be published on Fridays throughout the semester.

Mask Policy Updated
Face coverings are now required in all shared workspaces.
The University has updated its policy about face coverings. Employees are now required to wear masks in all indoor shared spaces. Previously, employees who work in open-plan offices were allowed to remove their face covering when seated at their workstation and able to remain at least 6 feet away from other people. Based on the most current scientific information and assessments of the external environment, this exception is no longer allowed and employees must keep their face masks on in those settings. Remember, wearing a mask slows the spread of the virus and protects all of us.

COVID Testing on Campus
The University has been regularly testing students in high-contact areas, including Athletics and the performing arts. As of Sept. 30, nearly 1,800 tests have been administered. The testing program is being expanded to include regular random testing of residence hall students and residence hall staff.

Get your Flu Shot Now
It is always a good idea to get a flu shot every fall, and during the pandemic it is even more important, so that the health care system is not overwhelmed by an influenza epidemic at the same time as COVID-19. Flu vaccinations are available at your doctor’s office or local pharmacy, and they are covered by health insurance. Montclair State is offering eight flu shot clinics on campus this month, including four completely free clinics for the uninsured.

Do your Hawk Check
It is important to do Hawk Check 6 to 14 hours before every time you come to campus. It only takes a minute, and you can do it from your home computer or smartphone. If you receive the message to stay home, please do so and expect a call from Occupational Health to ask about your symptoms. Hawk Check helps to keep the virus off campus, and its use is mandatory.

New App Aids in Contact Tracing
The State of New Jersey released a new smartphone app that can alert you if you’ve been in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. Montclair State students helped test the app before the NJ Department of Health released it. Consider adding this to your phone, and please tell your friends and family about it. The more people who have it, the better it will work.

Question of the Week

Q. What can I say to someone who isn’t wearing their mask or not keeping their social distance from me?

“If you’re crossing paths with someone, especially outdoors, but even in a large classroom building hallway, that might not be a time when it’s important to give unsolicited advice about mask-wearing,” says Amanda Birnbaum, professor and chair of Public Health. “On the other hand, if you’re in an indoor setting, or even an outdoor setting where you are going to be within six feet of someone for 10 minutes or more, that’s the time to mobilize.

“What we know from health behavior research is that messages are most effective when they are respectful, empathetic, and specific,” says Birnbaum. “So instead of, ‘hey buddy, mask up!’ try something like, ‘I know masks are awkward’ or ‘I’m sweating in my own mask.’ And then make a respectful request.”

Read more tips for handling this thorny problem in the University News Center.

Good News, in case you missed it
Our student musicians have been making the national and local news for their innovative use of the Red Hawk Parking Deck as an outdoor rehearsal space. Check out this clip from The Today Show of the University Singers performing the “Hallelujah Chorus”. As Hoda Kotb says, “they sound like angels.”

Thank you for reading the Weekly COVID Newsletter, a production of the Office of University Communications & Marketing. Comments and suggestions may be sent to Vice President Joseph Brennan,