To: The Stevens Community
From: Christophe Pierre, Provost and Marybeth Murphy, Vice President for Enrollment Management and Student Affairs
Date: October 5, 2020
Subject: Planning for the Thanksgiving Holiday Break
We are writing today to address many of the questions we are receiving about the Thanksgiving break, which extends from Wednesday, November 25th through Sunday, November 29th. As you know, Stevens has not changed the fall semester academic calendar and will continue to hold hybrid classes and online final exams after the Thanksgiving break.
As of Friday, October 2, with three positive COVID-19 test results out of 5,204 tests administered on campus (0.06% positivity rate) since the start of the semester and two positive cases from off-campus testing sites, we do not believe a change to the academic calendar is warranted. Should our positivity rate increase or we see an increase in COVID-19 cases in Hoboken or in the surrounding area, we may revisit this decision.
However, we recognize that travel and gatherings over the Thanksgiving break may have an impact on the spread of the virus and are strongly recommending the following:
- All members of the Stevens community should take every precaution to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, including avoiding gatherings where social distancing is not possible, wearing facemasks, social distancing and frequent handwashing.
- Members of the Stevens community should also avoid travel outside of New Jersey, New York and Connecticut during the Thanksgiving break. These three states have joined together to require strict measures to mitigate the spread of the virus by requiring quarantine of visitors returning from international travel and COVID-19 hotspot states. If you must travel outside the tri-state area, we urge you to take stringent precautions to mitigate the spread of the virus, including facemasks, social distancing and frequent handwashing – and to monitor the prevalence of the virus in the area you are visiting.
- Members of our community should not travel internationally or to the current 34 states and territories on the list of COVID-19 hotspots, since you will be required to quarantine for 14 days upon your return and be tested for COVID-19. Note that this list is updated each Tuesday, which may impact your plans without notice.
Special Guidance and Options for Residential Students and Students Taking Classes In Person for Fall 2020
Due to the uncertain nature of COVID-19 conditions, we encourage you to consider carefully your plans for Thanksgiving and your plans for returning to campus after the holiday break. Students have a number of options to choose from as they make their plans.
An online form will be available in early November so that you can let us know of your plans that work best for you and your family for the Thanksgiving break. The online form must be completed by Friday, November 20th.
Options for residential students and students taking in-person classes are as follows:
- Residential students may choose to remain on campus throughout the Thanksgiving weekend. Stevens Dining will provide a socially-distanced Thanksgiving dinner and Residential Education and Student Affairs will provide opportunities for activities and social events throughout the weekend. More details will be available as we get closer to the holiday.
- Residential students and students residing off campus may choose to return home for Thanksgiving, remain at home after the break, and take classes and final exams online for the remainder of the semester.
- Residential students may choose to travel to a state that is not on the COVID-19 hotspot list for Thanksgiving and return to campus for the remainder of the fall semester. A COVID-19 test is not required upon your return to campus as you will immediately resume the mandatory weekly COVID-19 testing on campus. Please check the list of hotspot states, since states can be added to the list without notice.
- Although not recommended, students may have an essential need to travel internationally or to one of the COVID-19 hotspot states over Thanksgiving. If you select this option, you will be contacted by Graduate Student Life or Undergraduate Student Affairs to make plans for your return to New Jersey and your 14-day quarantine and COVID-19 testing. We strongly recommend that you seriously consider not returning to campus from international travel or a COVID-19 hotspot and finish the semester remotely.
If you have additional questions, please refer to the contacts below: