Fall 2021: Back Together Again

To the Campus Community:

This is the message I have wanted to write for fifteen months. It is the one that responds to our collective yearning for community and connection by announcing that TCNJ is all-systems-go for an in-person return to campus in Fall 2021. 

What will an “in-person return” mean?

  • The campus will repopulate with students, faculty, and staff.
  • Classes will be held in person consistent with any state spacing limits in place at the time. If there are limits—they currently remain at 6 feet for indoor gatherings—most classes will rotate cohorts of students for in-person attendance.
  • Travel restrictions will be lifted in accordance with state and federal guidelines, enabling faculty, staff, and students to begin attending conferences once again.
  • Welcome Week for incoming students will proceed in person. There will be special activities for sophomore students who missed the social opportunities of Welcome Week this past fall.
  • The residence halls will reopen with multiple occupancy (doubles, suites) in addition to singles. Residents may use lounges and other social spaces pursuant to state rules for distancing and face coverings. We will continue to reserve one residence hall for isolation accommodations, as needed.
  • Dining options will expand, including T-Dubs, satellite cafés, and possibly The 1855 Room in addition to Eickhoff and the eateries in Brower Student Center. We will continue to follow state distancing rules and other protocol for indoor dining.
  • We look forward to reactivating varsity athletics, recreation options, and most student club and organization activities, consistent with state density limits.
  • Employees not already on campus will begin returning over the summer. All offices will be open and staffed during regular hours by Monday, August 9. We anticipate a combination of fully on-campus and staggered rotational schedules. Supervisors will set work arrangements based on operational needs to ensure office coverage and in-person service.

To allow us to come together safely and protect our families and members of our community on and off campus, we will sustain or put in place a number of health and safety measures. Specifically:

  • We are adding the COVID-19 vaccination to the list of vaccinations we require of all students. Students with valid medical reasons precluding vaccination, as well as those with established and sincerely held religious beliefs that preclude receipt of a vaccination, may request an exemption from the vaccine requirement. We also expect to institute a vaccination requirement for all employees at TCNJ, including part-time and temporary workers. We have begun discussions with our unions about this requirement and will provide updated information as it becomes available.
  • Students must upload their vaccination record by July 23, 2021, using the OWL site. Employees may submit their records via Oracle Cloud (follow these instructions for Oracle submission).
  • We will continue to facilitate access to the vaccine. TCNJ will host a vaccine clinic on Monday, May 10, 2021; registration information was sent to the community yesterday under separate cover. Note that in the case of two-dose vaccinations (e.g., Pfizer or Moderna), state guidance allows persons to get their first vaccine at one location and their second at another. This enables those on or near campus to take advantage of the TCNJ vaccine clinic now and complete their vaccination series at a site closer to their summer location.
  • For summer 2021, testing for students, faculty, and staff coming to the campus will be once per week. Beginning with the fall semester, we anticipate a reduced expectation for testing of members of the campus community who are fully vaccinated. Our testing partner, Bergen New Bridge Medical Center, will continue its services with TCNJ through the fall semester.
  • We will continue to comply with state guidance as it changes over the next several months and beyond.
  • We will continue to adhere to Roscoe’s pledge to guide distance, masking, daily self-health checks, and hygiene expectations.

We have prepared a Fall 2021 website that provides information and instruction on COVID-19 health and safety protocol and requirements necessary for our successful return to campus. For all other matters, please refer to the appropriate departmental website (e.g., library, fitness center) for the most current information.

Although the fall is still several months away, which means that the current course of the pandemic and state regulations may change, the improving conditions give us optimism for our fall plans. Welcoming you back, meeting in person, and enjoying the opportunity to once again learn and work together is a vision within our grasp. Thank you for your resilience and dedication as we head back to the future at The College of New Jersey.

In anticipation,

Kathryn A. Foster