Dear Rutgers University – Newark community members,
Yesterday, I wrote to you about how proud I am of the resilience of our community in response to the many challenges we are facing, and already today we find that we need to dig even deeper into our store of resilience to confront new challenges that, while perhaps anticipated, are particularly difficult because they affect fundamental aspects of our community’s culture.
President Barchi’s message of earlier today regarding the need for Rutgers to remain in remote mode for the remainder of the Spring 2020 semester means that we are taking our preparations of the past few weeks to an even higher level. We know that this raises a number of specific questions about sustaining instruction, research, and operations, but we start from the principle that we are fully committed to continue pursuit of our academic mission, maintaining operations to continue support of that mission. Important communications will be cascading out in the coming hours and days to constituencies across our community to clarify as much as can be clarified at this time.
For the immediate future, here are some key elements of our escalated COVID-19 response at Rutgers-Newark.
- All instruction will proceed as planned in remote mode after Spring Break, as of March 23, and continue that way through the end of the semester.
- Research will continue under conditions outlined by Senior Vice President David Kimball for the research community earlier today.
- Employees will continue to work with their supervisors to shift operations to remote mode to the greatest degree possible as the university remains open for business.
- As President Barchi announced in his message, prorated refunds are being planned to students for room and board, the details of which are forthcoming.
- Students who already have left university housing, but still have to retrieve belongings, will be contacted in the coming days by the Office of Housing and Residence Life regarding making arrangements to pick up belongings.
- Likewise, Housing and Residence Life will be reaching out to students who were approved to remain in university housing to provide additional information and ascertain student plans moving forward.
- Facilities will continue to operate to support the presence of those employees and students who need to be physically present on campus. Pursuant to that:
- As I described yesterday, all buildings will be on swipe access as of Wednesday, March 18, to all who continue to need access to them.
- Residence halls will continue to operate to serve students who have been approved to remain on campus.
- Staffing in the Paul Robeson Campus Center, Dana Library, and Blumenthal Hall will be calibrated to meet the needs of the faculty, staff, and students who need to be present on campus; likewise, the Center for Law and Justice and Law Library will be staffed to meet the needs of the Law School community.
- The Golden Dome is closing as of today in order to comply with the recommendations of health officials.
- Both Starbucks locations (Paul Robeson Campus Center and 1 Washington Park) will continue to operate, providing grab-and-go food for the balance of this week and until further notice on a reduced schedule from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
- All other dining operations will move to Stonsby Dining Commons starting with dinner on Sunday, March 22 until further notice. All dining options will be grab-and-go and will be provided during the following times:
- Monday- Friday
- Breakfast 8 a.m. – 10 p.m.
- Lunch 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.
- Dinner 5 p.m. – 7 p.m.
- Saturday & Sunday:
- Brunch 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
- Dinner 5 p.m. – 7 p.m.
- Monday- Friday
- We will continue to adapt the availability of facilities and services to respond to the evolving situation.
We are heartbroken about not being able to hold our end-of-year celebrations this May, including commencement, in person. We will be working with others across our campus and across Rutgers in the coming days to conceive alternate ways to celebrate our amazing students and their families and all that they have accomplished—amplified tremendously by their achievements in the face of our present adversities.
We will remain in close contact with you as we continue to navigate this shifting landscape together.