Dear Rutgers University – Newark faculty and staff colleagues,

In the wake of President Holloway’s message about preparing for Fall 2021, I write to provide further insight into what our return for the new academic year at Rutgers-Newark will look like.

In light of how much has been done to align our on-campus protocols and environments with federal, state, and local health and safety guidelines, how cautious we are being by requiring masks to be worn in shared indoor spaces including classrooms and offices, and how much we all want to be together again in person—evident in 94% of currently enrolled Fall 2021 Rutgers-Newark students and more than 80% of our faculty and staff having uploaded their vaccination records—we are on track for a very robust return. Thanks to each and every one of you who has helped get us to this point.

Speaking of which: I invite you to join me, once again, in expressing profound thanks to all of those staff and faculty members who continued to work in person throughout the pandemic. Whether you have been maintaining our buildings and grounds, sustaining our information technology lifelines, making it possible for our research labs to forge ahead, upholding our commitment to keep our remaining residential students safe, delivering and processing our mail, or maintaining a safe and secure campus, you have buoyed us all and laid the foundation for us to repopulate without compromising health and safety. We look forward to recognizing you in a special way at a Welcome Back event being planned for September (details coming soon).

I want to call out here several detailed elements of the clear-eyed approach being taken to repopulating that speak to questions raised recently by Rutgers-Newark faculty or staff members.

  • More than 90% of Fall 2021 Rutgers-Newark courses are slated for in-person delivery, reflecting our strong commitment to in-person teaching and learning.
  • The Guide to Returning to Rutgers includes substantial information about protocols being employed to assure that HVAC systems in our buildings meet health and safety standards.
  • To support the requirement for masks in classrooms and offices, masks will be made available to all instructors for themselves and for them to provide to students who may have forgotten theirs, likewise for staff, with extra masks on hand to provide students who may be in need of one.
  • As a reminder: a feedback mechanism remains in place for faculty and staff to report observations about adherence to Rutgers health and safety protocols.
  • Faculty members who wish to assess the instructional technology capacities of classrooms, as well as request equipment such as microphones, may find that information here.
  • It is against Rutgers policy to ask faculty or staff colleagues or students if they are vaccinated. The Occupational Health and Student Health offices evaluate potential exposures to the virus and speak to individuals deemed to be close contacts, in accordance with the New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) risk assessment guidelines. This is a confidential process and those who are not contacted will have been deemed to not be at-risk.
  • All faculty, staff, and students should have their Rutgers IDs on their person while on campus.
  • We urge you to upload your vaccination records to the Rutgers portal as soon as possible if you are not yet among those who already have.
  • Vaccinations remain available on site at Stonsby Dining Center to faculty, staff, students, and community members. Walk-ins are welcome!
  • We encourage all faculty and staff members to familiarize themselves with the increased mental health support resources available, as well as remind you that employees may contact University Human Resources/Faculty Staff and Assistance Program at 848-932-3956.

To address even more aspects of preparing for Fall 2021, I invite you to join me, Executive Vice President Tony Calcado, and members of our leadership team for a Virtual Town Hall on Repopulating Rutgers-Newark on Thursday, August 19th from 3 to 4 p.m. You may submit questions in advance here.

The pandemic has changed our world in ways that remain difficult to fathom, not the least of which is the heartbreaking loss of family members, colleagues, and friends. It also has sharpened our sense of how much we need each other to heal and to find our way forward. Neither of those things will happen right away, but the first step toward both is being together. In that spirit, we can’t wait to be with you again.



Nancy Cantor