In March, as the COVID-19 pandemic was spreading around the world, Stevens undertook the same steps most universities in the U.S. were forced to undertake: closing our campus for health and safety reasons and sending students home prior to the end of the semester.
At this time, Stevens has made the decision to reopen campus for the fall semester with substantially reduced density, a mix of online and hybrid learning experiences, and COVID-19 testing to monitor students, faculty and staff on campus.
The key details of this decision are as follows:
- Only new first-year students, new transfer students and new graduate students are allowed to participate in the on-campus learning experience, which will be a hybrid experience of in-person, socially-distanced courses and online instruction. All other students will learn online for the fall semester.
- Only first-year students and new transfer students choosing to take StevensFlex hybrid online/in-person classes are permitted to live in student housing. Stevens-Leased Housing, Stevens-owned fraternity and sorority houses, the Lore-El Center for Women’s Leadership and the CARE House will be closed for Fall 2020.
- We will phase in some socially distant, low-density student activities, while temporarily pausing others such as public performances and athletics. We will initiate the return of campus-based business operations.
- Access to the campus and facilities is being strictly controlled.
- Buildings and spaces have been upgraded and redesigned, and are being sanitized very regularly to promote health and safety.
- Stevens will follow COVID-19 health and safety guidelines and practices including social distancing, additional cleaning and disinfection and continual education about COVID-19 precautions.
- COVID-19 testing is required of every member of the community within five days prior to returning to campus, and Stevens will require regular, repeated COVID-19 testing of all students, faculty and staff who will be on campus during the fall semester. Contact tracing will be performed as needed in the event of positive test results.
The plans for reopening the Stevens campus have been developed with the dual goals of: (i) supporting a safe and healthy campus environment for our community and, (ii) seeking to provide the best education and living experience possible for our students under these most challenging circumstances.
This decision was informed by many factors, including the increasing rates of COVID-19 infection in New Jersey, particularly among those between the ages of 18 and 29; extensive consultation with the university community; preliminary feedback from medical and other experts from Hackensack Meridian Health’s Reopening America program; a science-based approach to mitigation of infection; and taking into consideration the State of New Jersey's current guidance to colleges and universities and the recent lifting of restrictions on large in-person classes.