Campus closure following first positive case of coronavirus

By TORI D'AMICO
On March 17, 2020
Photo courtesy of the Office of Marketing & Communications, Ramapo College of New Jersey

Photo courtesy of the Office of Marketing & Communications, Ramapo College of New Jersey

A Ramapo College employee tested positive for coronavirus, as communicated by the office of the president on Saturday, which prompted a full campus closure through March 22. The college will reopen on March 23, and continue remote classroom instruction until further notice from the state. 

The employee was last on campus Tuesday, March 10, according to the email sent out to all students, faculty and staff. The statement said that all who had contact with this employee would be contacted, and a message from the office of the president on Monday indicated that this process has been completed with the help of local health authorities.

Before this announcement, the college reported that in-person instruction after spring break would be moved to remote instruction until April 4. That date may be extended, as Gov. Phil Murphy has declared that all New Jersey schools of higher education would be using remote instruction effective March 18, until the state declares it safe to return to in-person classrooms.

During the campus closure, there will be a deep clean of the campus. No students or faculty are allowed on campus other than those necessary to the health, safety and welfare of the college, as the email stated.

The governor has continued to issue precautionary orders to help contain the spread of COVID-19, including limiting social gatherings to 50 people or less. The White House has since instructed that gatherings should be limited to 10 or less persons.

With numbers rising everyday, the college continues to uphold the message that it is essential that all members of the community follow guidelines from the Center for Disease Control. This includes frequent washing of hands and surfaces, social distancing and staying home if one feels sick. 

Social distancing is a tactic that medical personel continue to remind people that distancing helps to slow the spread of the virus from potential asymptomatic carriers to those who are immunocompromised. 

On Tuesday afternoon, New Jersey officials reported 267 positive cases, and three deaths which the governor has indicated are linked to the virus. Bergen County has reported the most cases, with 84 residents testing positive.

As a community, it is key that all continue to remain informed from reliable sources and do their part to slow the spread. Students or faculty with any questions concerning COVID-19 or the college’s procedures during this time should reference the Information and Updates from Ramapo.

To help answer pertinent questions, here are some common concerns during the continuation of the pandemic, and information concerning social distancing.

What is social distancing?

Social distancing means maintaining physical distance from others. This includes keeping a generous amount of space between people - about 6 feet - when one must go into public places, but otherwise doing one’s best to remain home in self-quarantine if there is any possibility you or someone close to you has been exposed to the virus. 

I don’t have internet at home. How will I complete remote instruction?

Ramapo students are encouraged to reach out to their faculty members or dean as soon as possible if Wi-fi access is an issue for them. However, several internet providers are now offering free Wi-fi for K-12 students during remote instruction, including Xfinity and Spectrum.

How can I keep up to date on factual information?

The best information to pay attention to are emails sent directly from Ramapo College titled “Campus Communications on Coronavirus.” All of the college’s resources and communications concerning COVID-19 have been archived and can be accessed at:  www.ramapo.edu/health/coronavirus-covid-19/ 

Additionally, Governor Murphy has been actively pushing information through social media that concerns New Jersey specifically. 

Someone in my community has tested positive. What do I do?

If you or someone you know has been in contact with someone who has tested positive, the CDC is recommending you self-quarantine for 14 days following and continue to practice good sanitation and social distancing.

How can I help to avoid panic?

Continue to rely only on factual information, and encourage those around you to practice all recommended health precautions. 

 

vdamico@ramapo.edu

 

The Ramapo News is dedicated to keeping the Ramapo College community up to date and informed on all factual information about the coronavirus. During the period of remote instruction, the Ramapo News will not publish weekly issues in print, but we will continue to publish stories on our website. Reach out to editor.rcnjnews@gmail.com if you have any questions. 

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