Return to Campus FAQ
When you return, the campus will look different. Here is what we have determined so far:
- Stockton’s fall 2020 term is scheduled to begin on Tuesday, September 8th and finish on Friday, December 18th. If calendar adjustments are necessary due to any state or federal directives, we will alert the University community as soon as possible. For more information on Stockton’s fall calendar, visit the University’s fall 2020 academic calendar page.
- Courses may be taught in multiple teaching modalities. These may include in-person classes on campus, hybrid classes that combine in-person and online lessons, and completely online classes.
- There will be extensive safety protocols in place for faculty, staff and students. Masks will be required in some settings. Building modifications will be in place to promote and enforce social distancing. Signage around campus will provide guidance. Cleaning procedures will be enhanced.
- Student housing will be modified to comply with state and federal guidelines. Students will be notified in July of changes in housing availability.
- Procedures will be implemented to test and/or quarantine faculty, staff and students as needed.
- Those unable to return to campus can apply for a return to work modification by completing the Return to Work Modification Request Form (available at the Office of Human Resources). Requests for modifications may be considered under limited circumstances.
- In addition, the New Jersey Department of Labor developed a set of new rules for Returning to Work: Health, Safety, Childcare & Caregiving. Additional information can be found at the Labor and Workforce Development website for returning to work during COVID-19.
- Additional information about the federal government’s Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) can be found here.
Stockton continues to follow Governor Murphy’s three-phase reopening plan for the entire state (Roadmap to Recovery). For the month of July, most of Stockton’s employees will continue to work from home. The state has transitioned from Phase 1 to Phase 2 of its plan, and Stockton is starting its own phased reopening of campus operations.
Stockton’s Office of Human Resources has begun contacting employees to return to campus. Everyone should continue to work from home until they receive such a notice. Stockton will relay updates about work restarts as the Governor’s Office provides additional details regarding the state’s plan.
Employees are being called back to campus in a phased approach based on specific operational needs that will help ensure the campus is ready for an anticipated September opening. Supervisors and managers are working with employees to coordinate schedules, job locations, and work safety guidelines.
With the initial call-back, many employees work in the Division of Facilities and Operations: HVAC, plumbing, electrical, maintenance workers, grounds crew, etc. As the summer progresses and more on-campus services need to resume, staff members in other areas will be contacted.
The tentative schedule for essential employees to return to campus is:
- Level 1: June 15; Facilities & Operations (F&O)
- Level 1a: June 22: additional F&O; some ITS
- Level 2: July 6
- Level 3 and 4: August 3
The four levels of employees are:
Essential Level 1
Employees crucial to the process of reopening the campus and who must perform critical duties on-site. To this end, it is necessary that these employees physically be on campus to support/assist the University’s reopening and continued operations.
Essential Level 2
Employees who perform critical duties towards resuming and supporting campus operations, and can work both at home and on site. These employees will begin a staggered schedule of returning to campus on July 6.
Non-Essential Level 3
Employees and who can perform their duties both at home and on site. These employees will gradually return on a staggered schedule once the governor has determined that we are in Stage 3 of reopening, on or around Aug. 3.
Non-Essential Level 4
Employees who not categorized as essential, but who must be on campus to perform their duties. These employees will gradually return on a staggered schedule once the governor has determined that we are in Stage 3 of reopening, expected on or around Aug. 3.
Employees should coordinate schedules and work location with their supervisor.
The health and safety of our campus community remains our highest priority and Stockton will continue to follow all public health guidelines as our restart plans progress.
To support the well-being of our Stockton community, Stockton is employing six major safety protocols:
- Physical distancing guidelines
- Sanitation procedures
- Campus signage
- Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
- Ongoing communication
- Health monitoring
To support the well-being of our Stockton community, all employees should familiarize themselves with these Guidelines for Campus Health and Safety before returning to work and follow these measures at all times when on campus. In addition, all employees will be required to complete a Coronavirus Awareness training course through the Safe-Colleges platform. More information will be forthcoming.
While our protocols are designed to help protect our campus community to the greatest extent possible, no plan or set of guidelines can be considered perfect. Our goal at Stockton is to do as much as possible to support a healthy environment while we all do our best to keep ourselves and each other safe.
The success of our plan will rest on the willingness of the community to share responsibility for each other’s health and safety. Every member of our community must do their part. This means adhering to national and state health guidance and requirements, and to those measures the University deems safe and appropriate for our campus.
As additional guidance is made available from state or federal entities, Stockton’s procedures will be adjusted and communicated as needed.
The UROC umbrella team and its four sub-teams are preparing a set of recommended procedures and protocols to help bring our students, faculty, and staff back safely to our physical campuses. These recommendations will be presented in a final report to the President’s Cabinet in early July. From there, detailed guidelines on a variety of topics – such as academics, housing, food service, athletics, library facilities, and many others – will be made available to the Stockton community, mainly through the University’s web site.
We will continue to release details of our reopening plans as greater clarity is provided by the various state and federal agencies leading the way, including Governor Phil Murphy’s office, the Office of the New Jersey Secretary of Higher Education, the CDC, and OSHA, to name a few.
Stockton’s fall 2020 term is scheduled to begin on Tuesday, Sept. 8, and finish on Friday, Dec. 18. If calendar adjustments are necessary due to any state or federal directives, we will alert the University community as soon as possible. For more information on Stockton’s fall calendar, visit the University’s fall 2020 academic calendar page.
Stockton will offer an enhanced variety of instructional modalities for fall classes: in-person, online, and hybrid (a combination of in-person and online). We are also studying a pilot “flex” model that could provide a new option for faculty and students. Full details about our course modalities will be presented in the coming weeks, with an emphasis on providing options that are safe for our students and faculty
Although Stockton’s detailed fall restart plans are still under development, there are a few high-level concepts we can offer:
The University-wide goal is to support a general principle of six feet of physical separation in public spaces, including::
- Classrooms, labs, and studios
- Residential living facilities
- To the extent possible, public access facilities and routes such as restrooms, hallways, and stairwells
- Dining and food service areas
- Shuttle transportation
These efforts will be supported with protocols relating to campus signage, classroom, and public-space guidelines.
As just one example: many standard classrooms may incorporate a “checkerboard” seating arrangement for students (every other seat in every other row) to help support physical distancing.
Cleaning and Sanitizing
Protocols for cleaning, disinfecting and sanitizing campus rooms and buildings are being developed in accordance with local, state, and federal public health guidelines.
Stockton’s maintenance and custodial staff will clean and disinfect campus buildings more frequently to help reduce the spread of germs on commonly-touched surfaces like door handles, sink faucets, handrails, computer stations, etc.
Our dedicated employees can’t do it alone. We must all do our part by using disinfecting wipes (provided by Stockton) to wipe down common areas to minimize surface transmission of bacteria and germs.
The University is also working to increase the number of touch-free hand-sanitizer units and waste receptables throughout our campus locations.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
The University will require everyone – students, employees, and visitors – to wear face coverings while in public/shared spaces on campus. Individuals who have underlying health conditions which prevent the wearing of such coverings will need to contact Human Resources (employees) or the Wellness Center (students) to request an exception.
In general, cloth face coverings that are reusable/washable will serve as the recommended PPE. These masks should be washed daily.
Similar to other protective wear (like shoes), each person will be expected to provide their own mask or cloth covering. A limited supply of disposable surgical masks will be available at various campus locations for individuals who forget their cloth covering.
Stockton’s University Restart Operations Committee (UROC) – consisting of students, faculty, and staff – is discussing optimal ways to support compliance with the University’s COVID-19 related health and safety protocols. It is important these protocols are followed to the greatest extent possible to help protect ourselves as individuals as well as the entire community.
The University will maintain an ongoing education and awareness campaign to remind everyone of the importance of healthy and safe behaviors.
Stockton is currently analyzing space needs for instructional courses that will have a face-to-face component. We are also studying the use of other spaces and how they might be able to accommodate students who will need to study on campus in a safe (physically distanced) environment.
Stockton has engaged in conversations with experts in the field, including faculty and deans, regarding lab work and studio space (dance, art).Some suggested protocols have been developed and are currently with the faculty and deans for their review and input.
The University will supply every classroom with disinfectant wipes or sanitary cleaner and paper towels. We currently have sufficient inventory both on campus and on order. Our goal is to have enough on hand for the fall for all classrooms, common areas and office suites. These cleaning supplies are in compliance with state and federal guidelines (CDC, OSHA, EPA, etc.)
- All students, faculty, and staff will be provided with at least one reusable face covering.
- Supplies of disposable masks will be available throughout campus in the event someone forgets their face covering. Likely locations will include the Campus Center Information Desk, the Library Front Desk, Deans’ offices, etc., as well as a small supply in classrooms.
- Please remember, disabilities are not always visible and some people may not be able
to wear a face covering because of respiratory problems. People will be able to disclose this
- Students should contact the Wellness Center
- Faculty and staff should contact the Office of Human Resources
- If you have a private office and you are alone, you will not be required to wear a face covering.
We hope to have a set of procedures available on the web by the end of July.
It’s important to understand that the procedures Stockton will eventually articulate will relate to:
- Keeping our entire University community safe;
- Adhering to public health guidelines at the county, state, and federal level.
- Like classrooms and office spaces, common restrooms will have occupancy limits. For example, even though a restroom may have five fixtures/stalls, there might be a limit of two people at a time.
- Stockton staff will not be able to monitor every restroom, so it will be important that we all do our part to make smart, healthy decisions. For example, if you enter a restroom with a modified occupancy limit of two people and see two people already in there, please step back outside and wait for someone to exit.
- Common restrooms will now be cleaned twice per day with a third deep cleaning at night.
- Custodians throughout the buildings will monitor the potential need for additional cleaning of certain high-traffic areas. Custodians will pay particular attention to high-touch areas, such as door handles, hallway railings, etc.
There will be a number of factors involved when such a scenario occurs. Testing and contact tracing will be essential in all situations. Contract tracers will speak with the individual (or the person’s parent or guardian as the circumstances require) to learn more about with whom the person has had contact. The tracers will then make recommendations to these individuals.
It is important to remember that public health guidelines and directions are constantly changing and evolving. For example, right now, if a positive case is discovered in a classroom, it is not best practice to automatically place everyone in that class into a 14-day quarantine. On the other hand, if a residential student tests positive for COVID-19, the student’s roommates will be contacted and advised to test.
Domestic travel is another example of changing conditions. Stockton presently does not have its own set policy on domestic travel in the time of COVID-19. As a public institution, we will adhere to guidelines and directives set forth by the state of New Jersey.
By way of example (for illustration purposes only), if a Stockton employee travels domestically or internationally, and the destination location requires (from the state of New Jersey) a 14-day self-quarantine upon return, the employee may need to use vacation or personal time to fulfill this quarantine requirement. When making personal or professional travel plans, please consider the implications of this travel regarding your work schedule.
In the field of building maintenance, when it comes to COVID-19, there is much discussion about bringing more outside air into buildings to increase air quality. Such a step is dependent on the type of mechanical systems within the building.
Stockton’s mechanical systems are limited to bringing in outside air and this can only be done at night (after hours). The Facilities and Operations division is looking further into this opportunity as well as additional filtration alternatives.
Stockton’s goal is to provide updates to students regarding their fall classes by mid-July. Adjusting over 2,000 courses is a complex process and we want to make sure everything is in order before announcing updates. It is important to understand that, while Stockton is planning for in-person courses in the fall, course delivery methods may be impacted by prevailing health conditions and/or directives issued at the state or federal level.
Yes, Stockton’s cleaning, sanitizing and equipment procedures will be consistent at all of our locations.
Stockton is researching online appointment systems to help manage space capacity and physical distancing requirements. The University will also likely expand its use of remote interactive opportunities, such as Zoom sessions, tele-counseling, etc.
The prevailing recommendation from health care professionals is to not require testing for all. Testing is a point-in-time function. If someone gets tested today and it takes 48 hours for the results to come back, the results themselves will be outdated by two days.
Lowering the campus’ risk relates to Stockton’s “safe environment plan:”
- Wear a face covering;
- Stay physically distant (six feet apart as often as possible);
- Practice safe hygiene – wash hands, don’t touch your face, etc.
At this time, the New Jersey Department of Health has not informed Stockton of any positive COVID-19 cases. When students are residing at home, as most have been since mid-March, they are not required to report their health conditions to the University.
Although there is no definitive answer at this time, Stockton will adhere to all county, state and federal recommendations and regulations in this matter.
Faculty can contact their dean to discuss their course modalities for Fall 2020, including the possibility of a fully online teaching schedule.
Survey results from Stockton students regarding the fall semester indicate a preference for in-person classes. One of Stockton’s primary goals is to accommodate students’ needs while safeguarding everyone’s health.
Employees should submit the work modification request form available through the Office of Human Resources, which now includes a section for childcare. Human Resources will then reach out to the employee and his or her manager to determine the feasibility of a modification plan. We will continue to monitor updates from the state regarding this issue.
There is additional information on the state’s Department of Labor web site, including a link regarding “Returning to work: health, safety, childcare, and caregiving.” This information includes up-to-date information as well as links to state and federal benefits, resources and guidelines.
This will depend on certain factors. If a staff member works in a space where it is not possible to physically distance from co-workers, staggered work schedules will be a possibility. However, Stockton’s goal is to begin having staff members return to on-campus work in August.
Yes, provided Stockton’s “safe environment plan” procedures are followed:
- The faculty member and student must both wear face coverings and practice a physical distance of at least six feet. In addition, faculty members should consider hosting office hours through remote means such as Zoom sessions.