To: Faculty, Staff, and Students
From: President Nariman Farvardin
Date: June 8, 2021
Subject: Campus COVID-19 Update
Recent Commencement ceremonies for the Class of 2021 marked a close to what was a unique and challenging academic year. With increasing vaccination rates and reduced COVID-19 infections, we are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Based on changes by the State of New Jersey and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), I am pleased to share some updates to our campus operations starting this summer and in preparation for a safe and healthy 2021-22 academic year.
Earlier this spring, I announced plans for a full on-campus academic year starting with the Fall 2021 semester. This plan was formulated with significant input from faculty, staff and students who conveyed their strong desire for an on-campus fall semester and their support for requiring COVID-19 vaccination for all on-campus faculty, staff and students. We remain committed to an on-campus fall semester, and, with the summer as a transition period, are gradually returning to the academic, professional and social routines and connections that we have missed during the last 15 months. Vaccination is a critical element of this plan.
Based on Governor Murphy’s Executive Order 242, masks are no longer required in most outdoor and indoor settings in New Jersey, and social distancing requirements have been lifted. Therefore, effective immediately, Stevens has lifted outdoor and indoor mask and social distancing requirements, with the following important exceptions:
- On-campus classes – Masks and social distancing requirements will remain in effect for on-campus classes through the Summer 2021 terms, regardless of vaccination status.
- Unvaccinated individuals – Unvaccinated individuals who are unable to social distance must continue to wear a mask.
Consistent with New Jersey guidance, Stevens strongly urges all unvaccinated individuals to continue wearing a mask in public. Stevens supports those who choose to wear masks in all circumstances and will not tolerate retaliation of any kind against those exercising that choice.
- Indoor and Outdoor Gatherings – Outdoor gathering restrictions have been removed by the State of New Jersey, and on Friday, June 4th, New Jersey removed indoor gathering limits. Therefore, Stevens will align with State of New Jersey guidance and has lifted restrictions on indoor and outdoor gatherings (other than summer classes), effective immediately. All events must be scheduled through the Office of University Events.
- Travel – Travel restrictions and protocols have been revised. Travel for Stevens’ business purposes is now permitted subject to guidance by the CDC, the U.S Department of State and the State of New Jersey and in accordance with the Stevens Business Travel and Expense Policy. Manager approval is required for any non-refundable travel arrangements. The health and safety of our community is a shared responsibility: anyone traveling to high-risk destinations should follow all advisories and comply with testing and quarantine guidance issued by the CDC.
- Visitors to Campus – Short-term visitor registration will no longer be required, except for visitors attending admissions tours and events which require advance registration. More information about protocols for long-term visitors will be sent separately.
- Vaccination – Faculty, staff and students are required to be fully vaccinated (all doses of the vaccine plus the two-week period following the final dose) before returning to campus for the Fall 2021 semester. Student vaccination documentation should be submitted as soon as possible but not later than August 16, 2021. Faculty and staff vaccination documentation should be submitted as soon as possible but not later than August 1, 2021. Limited exemptions may be allowed for medical or religious reasons. Detailed information and instructions for uploading a vaccination record by students, faculty, and staff, as well as requirements for students and requirements for faculty and staff are available online.
- Testing – For the summer 2021 transition period, anyone coming to campus regularly who is not yet vaccinated must continue to participate in weekly COVID-19 testing. Those who have submitted proof of vaccination to Stevens do not need to participate in weekly testing.
- Daily Health Checks – For individuals coming to campus regularly, daily health checks with the CampusClear app, originally required as Governor Murphy’s Executive Order 192, will still be required per EO 243.
More details pertaining to academics, athletics, transportation and parking for the fall semester, as well as the Flexible Work Arrangement Pilot Program for staff, will be shared by relevant offices in the near future.
FAQs and other information posted on the Stevens website will be updated to conform with this information shortly.
Additionally, we will continue to monitor health and higher education guidance from the State of New Jersey, including Governor Murphy’s June 4th Executive Order 244, and may adjust our requirements from time to time. Under EO244, the majority of executive orders issued pursuant to the Public Health Emergency will expire on July 4th.
Thanks to all of you, Stevens has successfully navigated many of the challenges presented by the pandemic. I am immensely proud of our community for our determination and resilience. And, although we have persevered in the face of the intense and prolonged challenges of social distancing, Zoom interactions, and alternative approaches to our daily commitments, I know that we are all eager to rebuild the interpersonal and social fabric that binds us as a university community.
It is my sincerest hope to welcome you all back to campus in the coming summer weeks and in the fall.