Fairleigh Dickinson University continues to take measures to reduce the risks concerning COVID-19, also known as the coronavirus. We are planning in line with recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), U.S. Department of State and the State of New Jersey Department of Health, as well as Canadian federal and British Columbia health authorities for our Vancouver Campus, and the Department of Health and Social Care in the United Kingdom for Wroxton College. In accordance with state guidelines, on July 17 FDU submitted to the New Jersey Office of the Secretary of Higher Education its Plan for Reopening Its New Jersey Campuses.
The University’s notifications regarding the coronavirus will be posted here in reverse chronological order so that all messages are available and the most recent appear first. Related information for reference is also provided as links shown on this page. Members of the University community who are feeling ill or who are aware of someone who is feeling ill should review the Student, Faculty and Staff Health sections of Coronavirus Information from HR.
August 10, 2020
President’s Update – Fall 2020 Semester
Dear University Community,
As promised in my last update on July 31, I am writing to you now to provide additional information concerning the Fall 2020 semester. First, several of our key dates remain unchanged, and I want to open this update by noting those dates again:
August 17: The Fall 2020 semester begins with remote course instruction for all courses on both New Jersey campuses.
September 4: Residence hall move-in begins on both New Jersey campuses for students who wish to return to campus.
September 14: A limited number of in-person classes will begin.
Changes to Course Instruction
On July 31, I noted that in-person classes would begin on September 14. However, in New Jersey, the number of COVID-19 cases and the transmission rate continue to be a concern, and the state remains in Stage 2 of its recovery plan and will likely remain in Stage 2 for most of August if not longer. Therefore, in keeping with the state’s guidelines for reopening colleges and universities, only a limited number of courses will be offered in person beginning on September 14. These include some labs, a few clinical courses in health sciences and psychology, and possibly a few additional courses that require hands-on programming — all of which must follow health and safety guidelines provided by the state. More information concerning such courses will be provided soon.
As I have emphasized in each update, our plans to return to full in-person instruction have been based on Governor Murphy advancing the state to Stage 3 in the state’s recovery plan. Clearly we are not there yet and may not get there soon. Therefore, most of our courses will be delivered remotely or fully online for the entirety of the Fall 2020 semester, with the exception of those courses noted above.
While I regret having to make this decision, especially knowing how hard so many members of our community have worked all summer long to prepare to fully reopen our campuses, I believe that making this decision now is in the best interests of the entire University community. With classes beginning remotely next week, faculty and students need clarity on how we will proceed. In addition, offering most of our courses remotely this fall will help our state recover more quickly, which is a goal that we must play a role in.
In the event New Jersey is able to advance to Stage 3 before September 14 or shortly thereafter, the University’s senior administration will assess the situation at that time and determine whether to offer more in-person classes than the limited number of courses permitted under Stage 2. However, at this time, it is my expectation that even if New Jersey moves to Stage 3 later this month or in early September, most of our courses will continue to be delivered only through remote platforms for the remainder of the fall semester.
While many of our community members were looking forward to returning to the classroom and the workplace, many also have expressed concerns. In fact, the University received a very high number of requests from faculty, staff, and students to make accommodations so that they could perform their roles remotely. We understand and sympathize with their concerns. As always, the health and well-being of our community members remain the driving imperative determining each step of our path forward.
We remain very excited for the opportunity to continue our mission, and we are fully prepared to engage and serve our students. Unlike the spring, when we were forced to adjust without warning, we have prepared for months for the possibility that many operations might need to be delivered remotely.
Academic Calendar and Advising
As noted, the academic calendar in place has not changed. The New Jersey campuses will begin the semester on August 17, and the semester will continue through November 24. Many of our faculty have been very busy this summer taking online instructional workshops and tailoring their lessons to remote instruction in preparation for the possibility that remote instruction could be necessary. In addition, we have made significant investments in educational technology that will enhance all course offerings. Advising services, as noted previously, will be offered remotely as well.
Housing and Dining
Despite the move to fully remote instruction for most courses, we know many students remain interested in returning to live on campus, and so I am pleased to announce that we will continue to offer students a resident life experience in accordance with state guidelines, which will be strictly enforced and will include immediate dismissal from the residence halls should a violation occur. Our top priority will be the health and safety of our community, so a zero-tolerance policy will be in effect when it comes to COVID-19 violations. Moreover, while we will be testing symptomatic and asymptomatic students on a regular basis, and setting aside dormitory space for students to quarantine or self-isolate should they become infected or if they are suspected to be infected, it may be necessary for students to return home to quarantine or self-isolate if the space we have set aside on campus is fully utilized.
We are planning on reduced capacity in the residence halls this fall to comply with Stage 2 restrictions. Students who desire to return to the residence halls must apply for new room assignments and enter into an Amendment to their Housing & Meal Plan Contract with special COVID-19 provisions. Students who elect to return will receive a 15% discount on the housing fees that were previously announced. You should know too that no outside visitors will be permitted in the residence halls during the fall semester.
Food services and dining will be provided and will be aligned with state regulations as well, which during Stage 2 exclude the use of indoor dining facilities. Therefore, student meals will be provided on a grab-and-go basis, and students will be able eat outside or in their residence hall rooms. In addition, we are working on a delivery service so that students can order food from their favorite restaurants as part of their meal plan option. More information on new meal plans and related financial terms, including a 15% discount on current meal plan rates, will be announced shortly.
Students who do not wish to return to the residence halls will be entitled to a full refund (including any deposit) of the fees paid under their Housing & Meal Plan Contract. The Office of Housing & Residence Life will be in touch shortly with students who previously applied for housing with more information on new arrangements.
Student activities also will be permitted as again directed by current state guidelines. While the experience may not be exactly what we are all used to, we are determined to offer engaging programs and a wide range of support services for students to the fullest extent practical. For example, both club and group activities for all students will be provided virtually. These will include opportunities for students to schedule their own get-togethers using a new virtual platform. In addition, students will be able to participate in discussions, games, and other extracurricular activities on a virtual basis. While in-person interaction will be significantly reduced, students will be able to enjoy the camaraderie of their peers regardless of their location. And, for student-athletes, it is anticipated at this time that coaches will arrange practices and activities to keep their teams fit and engaged.
Other Services and Policies
In addition, the Offices of Financial Aid, Admissions, and Enrollment Services will be providing remote services, details for which can be found on their webpages. Those residing on campus can also make appointments for in-person services if necessary.
As I’ve noted in earlier communications, we are working in unprecedented circumstances but we remain committed to fulfilling our core mission of providing a high-value education for our students. Regardless of the modality of instruction, tuition and associated charges will remain the same for the fall semester.
We are now in the process of updating our website to reflect these latest changes and will continue to provide more information as it becomes available, so please check www.fdu.edu soon for further details.
I understand how anxious many members of our community are, and I hope this decision now provides the certainty we need to move forward. I again so appreciate your understanding and patience as we navigate our way through these challenges. Together we will continue to do great things, distinguish our institution, and help our students transform their lives.
Yours in FDU,
Christopher A. Capuano, Ph.D.
Fairleigh Dickinson University
Links to Updates
August 10: President’s Update – Fall 2020 Semester
July 31: President’s Update – Returning to Campus
July 20: President’s Update – Fall 2020 Semester Reopening Plan
July 7: President’s Update – Preparing for Fall 2020 Semester
June 12: President’s Update – Supporting Our Students
June 4: Task Force for Campus Re-occupancy and Operations.
May 29: President’s Update – The Fall 2020 Semester.
May 8: President’s Update – Planning for the Fall 2020 Semester.
April 20: President’s Update – Important Cost-Saving Measures.
April 9: President’s Update – A Note of Appreciation.
April 9: Deadline Extension for Student Withdrawal from Classes.
April 7: All Summer Sessions for 2020.
April 3: Update on Pass/Fail Option for Spring Semester 2020.
April 2: Graduate Summer Sessions 2020.
March 30: Undergraduate Summer Sessions 2020.
March 25: President’s Update – Commencement.
March 25: Pass/Fail Option for Undergraduate Students for Spring Semester 2020.
March 20: President’s Update – Remote Learning Extended for Remainder of Spring Semester.
March 20: Pass/Fail Option for Undergraduate Students for Spring Semester 2020.
March 15: President’s Update – Latest Actions Related to COVID-19 Pandemic.
March 13: Wroxton College Students to Return Home.
March 10: President’s Update on Moving to Remote Learning.
March 9: Working together as a community and an update on potential self-isolation.
March 6: Update on travel restrictions and recommendations, and a travel registry for faculty and staff.
March 2: Update on University-sponsored international trips as well as more travel-related news.
February 28: Update on international travel, study abroad, our international campuses and necessary precautions.