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Rutgers U. President announces early start to spring break and mandatory remote classroom instruction

Rutgers University President Robert Barchi announced Tuesday afternoon that all classes are canceled for March 12 and 13 at the New Brunswick, Camden, and Newark campuses. Spring break has been extended. After spring break, all classes will be held remotely.

“Fostering a healthy community in New Jersey is core to the mission of our university. While at this time we are not aware of any confirmed cases of COVID-19 in our community, we have been closely tracking its spread across our region. We have an imperative to do what we can to slow the spread of this serious virus and protect those who are most vulnerable. This is a difficult and extraordinary situation, and I recognize that people throughout our community are concerned for their personal health and that of their families and friends,” Barchi wrote in a letter to the Rutgers community.

“To that end, and with thanks to all members of our community who have taken steps to help us prepare, I am announcing that Rutgers University is taking the actions listed below,” Barchi wrote. “We do not undertake any of these changes without careful consideration of the hardships and inconvenience that they may impose. Thank you for your patience and your understanding, as together we navigate this challenging situation.”

Beginning Thursday, March 12, through the end of spring break on Sunday, March 22, all classes are canceled at the Camden, Newark and New Brunswick campuses. Beginning Monday, March 23, through at least Friday, April 3, all course instruction will be delivered remotely. All face-to-face instruction is suspended. This includes any class meetings. Individual instructors are expected to be in contact with their students regarding their plans for remote instruction prior to March 23.

Students living in residence halls should leave campus as soon as possible, Barchi wrote.

“Students are strongly encouraged to remain off campus through April 3,” he wrote. “The University understands that leaving campus may not be possible or prudent for everyone, and we encourage anyone with concerns to contact the student housing office on your campus.”

Beginning Thursday, March 12, Rutgers events and in-person meetings involving groups larger than 15 participants are canceled through April 15. Guidance related to the policy will be reviewed again by April 1, Barchi wrote.

Groups with events scheduled after April 15 are urged to begin considering alternative plans in case future events will need to be canceled or postponed, Barchi wrote. Athletic directors have been told to follow the guidance of their athletic conferences.

New non-essential events should not be scheduled until further notice.

Classes at Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences will continue as scheduled. Beginning Monday, March 16, all Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences classes with more than 15 participants will be provided remotely. Deans with students regarding more detailed plans for remote instruction. There will be no change to clinical rotations and clinical instruction.

School officials are recommending that all members of the Rutgers community reconsider any upcoming domestic travel, especially to areas where there has been a significant incidence of COVID-19. All Rutgers-led international spring break programs are canceled. University officials are also encouraging all students in third-party study abroad programs to return home. All international travel sponsored by Rutgers University has been suspended. Member of the Rutgers community returning from a country designated Level 3 by the CDC is required to self-isolate for 14 days before returning to campus.

University offices, labs and services will remain open during this time period. Employees are being encouraged to use teleconference services in lieu of in-person meetings.

“I urge you to remember that the most important steps you can take are self-care. I thank you again for your patience as we navigate this dynamic and complex situation,” Barchi wrote.