The University community has worked continuously since the global outbreak of COVID-19 to protect the health and welfare of students, faculty and staff and to continue our educational mission. Emergency Management teams have responded with daily (and often nightly) meetings and assignments to plan and respond to the rapidly changing realities. We continue to act out of an abundance of caution to do all that is possible to reduce the risk for our community and to help our larger region in this challenging time. The following summary highlights some of the most critical updates and actions.
University-wide Measures Taken
- On March 10, FDU announced its decision to suspend face-to-face instruction on the New Jersey and Vancouver campuses and switch to remote (online) learning for all classes, effective March 16. In-person classes are also suspended at FDU’s Wroxton College in England. Remote learning will continue through the remainder of the spring semester.
- Many FDU events and meetings (including Admitted Student Days, athletic competitions and alumni events) were cancelled through the remainder of the spring semester and social distancing measures have been imposed throughout the campuses.
- The campuses remain open, but supervisors have implemented their business continuity plans to enable employees to work at home. Certain employees, including public safety, facilities, technology and residence life continue to report to campuses.
- Students living on campus have been advised to all return home or seek alternative housing. Some residential students who do not have alternative housing have been granted permission to remain. Those rooms left vacated have been locked, and we must wait until social distancing measures are relaxed before allowing students to return to get the rest of their belongings. (We are committed to providing refunds for spring semester room and board but are still finalizing the details on how this will be done.) Limited services are in place on campus such as dining (grab and go only). The Wellness Centers also remain open as of course is public safety.
- Effective March 20, most buildings on the New Jersey campuses were locked with access restricted to public safety and facilities only.
- The University cancelled the May 18 Commencement scheduled for MetLife Stadium. Alternatives including the possibility of a virtual ceremony and/or allowing graduates to attend a future ceremony are being explored.
Travel Measures and Restrictions
- FDU faculty, staff, and students were informed on February 28 that they may not travel to those countries that have been issued a Level 3 Warning by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for study abroad, research, internships, service, conferences, presentations, teaching, performances, recruiting or athletic competitions. A registry was developed for those seeking to travel overseas for any FDU-related activities. All faculty and staff traveling overseas for FDU-related activities must notify the Office of Risk Management (email@example.com).
- Due to the continuing spread of the virus, on March 10, FDU expanded its travel restrictions and University-sponsored travel (both international and domestic) is now only permitted with the approval of the provost or other senior officer of the University.
- FDU suspended or cancelled all spring semester study abroad activities. Those studying abroad, including those at Wroxton College, have all been told to come home. In addition, FDU cancelled study abroad trips through the end of July 2020.
- FDU implemented policies designed to safeguard the community following the guidelines recommended by health authorities including those concerning social distancing. For example, it was decided when the outbreak emerged that faculty, students, staff and other visitors to FDU who traveled to a country with a Level 3 Warning may not come to campus until 14 days from the date of departure from that country, and only then if they are symptom free since their return. Faculty, students and staff must isolate themselves in their homes or other off-campus locations during that 14-day period.
- FDU also decided that faculty, staff or students who have been in contact with persons who are known to have the coronavirus should isolate themselves in their homes or other off-campus locations for 14 days from the date of exposure. For example, if you are living in the same household or suite with an individual who is self-isolating because of potential exposure to the coronavirus, you also should self-isolate for 14 days from the other person’s first possible exposure to the virus. These precautions also apply to travelers who have been to locations (e.g., arenas, restaurants) that are identified by governmental authorities as being a source of infection.
- FDU also has a clear policy indicating that anyone who is sick or believes they may have been exposed to the virus must notify the University. Faculty and staff need to contact Human Resources immediately if this occurs (call or write Rose D’Ambrosio at 201-692-2706 or Dambrosi@fdu.edu). And, if supervisors or managers learn first of employees who are ill or potentially exposed, please notify Human Resources. Students who suspect they may have been exposed must notify the appropriate campus health services (Florham Campus at 973-443-8535, Metropolitan Campus at 201-692-2437, Vancouver Campus at 604-682-8112 and Wroxton College at 011-44-1295-730551).
- Health resources have been provided on the Human Resources website. Employees and students covered under their respective medical plans through the University have access to seek medical care from the safety of their homes. Virtual visits allow members to have an online visit with a licensed physician, including the need to prescribe medication. Student visits are free of charge and employees pay their regular office visit copay.
Transition to Remote Learning and Operations
- The Provost has worked constantly with the deans and school directors to support faculty and students to move to remote teaching only and provide guidance and support in a number of ways. Direction from the Provost and faculty resources have been shared and posted on the FDU coronavirus website.
- The Provost shared advice and instruction for preparing for remote learning and about available modes of delivery for instruction. Virtual meetings (via Zoom) were set up as well to provide guidance and address questions.
- FDU also suspended all on-campus research activities effective March 19, and provided guidelines on how to secure research equipment, labs, etc.
- The Provost also worked with faculty to develop a policy that gives students the option to elect Pass/Fail or A-F grading for each course they are taking this semester.
- The Information Technology team worked to acquire and make available online solutions such as Zoom for classes, conference calls and meetings, and Echo 360 lecture capture tool. Additional laptops and cell phones were distributed, and network bandwidth shaping done to accommodate new traffic patterns. The IT team developed resources for Remote Learning and Operations. Articles were quickly developed and published on a dedicated webpage at https://it.fdu.edu/remote-learning/.
- A series of communications were provided to employees with information on HR concerns, IT issues and other operational pieces such as purchasing procedures and mailroom operations when working remotely.