Rutgers University officials announced on Tuesday that the new semester will begin with remote instruction and remote work until Jan. 31 due to the surge in COVID cases in the state.
“The data and the science surrounding the surge in COVID-19 cases, and the dramatic spread of the Omicron variant, require that we adapt to the evolving situation without sacrificing our goal of returning to a campus experience that is robust, rewarding, and safe,” wrote Rutgers Executive Vice President Antonio Calcado in an email to students and staff. “To do so, we are implementing appropriate contingency plans that rely on today’s best available information and expertise so that we may continue to manage the impact of this virus at the university.”
University clinics, libraries, and research operations will remain open. A pause of the in-person return to campus for employees has been extended through Sunday, Jan. 30. All employees who can telecommute will do so, while essential employees will continue to report to work.
All employees must be vaccinated or have an approved medical or religious exemption, and will also be required to get a booster shot. All vaccinated students must get a booster as soon as they are eligible. Students who are eligible must receive a booster by Jan. 31.
In-person classes will temporarily convert to remote classes through Jan. 30. The return to campus housing has been moved from the weekend of Jan. 16 and 17 to Jan. 29 and 30. Students returning to campus housing must have received a booster when eligible, and are being strongly encouraged to take a COVID-19 test within 72 hours prior to their arrival on campus.
Recreation, student, and campus centers are limited to people with university identification cards. University libraries will provide remote services and contactless pickup for materials until Jan. 31.
The use of face coverings while in indoor settings on campus is mandatory unless someone is seated alone in an enclosed office or at a workstation.
“The health and safety of our community remain our top priority,” Calcado wrote. “Protocols will change as we consult with public health agencies and assess data, including the number of positive cases in New Jersey, COVID-19 hospitalizations, state and regional hospital capacity, and the severity of the dominant variant.”