By Jhoana T. Merino-Martinez
Strategies for reopening New Jersey businesses are underway, yet a looming concern for students and faculty alike is how universities will reopen safely — or even if it is safe to gather people indoors again.
The Equinox explored the issues surrounding reopening in a Roundtable discussion. Here is an examination of the state framework that will govern reopening.
On April 27, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy announced a plan for reopening the state’s public institutions. The six points of his strategy:
- Sustained reductions in the spread of coronavirus illustrated by a 14-day drop in new cases, hospitalizations and other metrics
- Expanding testing in the state to at least double what it was on April 27
- Robust contact tracking performed by an “army” of people to track the spread of the coronavirus
- Safe places for isolation for people who test positive for the coronavirus through proper contacts with officials
- An economic restart bolstered by a commission to spearhead the state’s reopening
- The resiliency of the state, secured by officials’ preparation for a resurgence in the virus
Using the markers listed above, a reopening plan was created in the form of stages ranging from maximum restrictions to a “new normal.”
New Jersey entered Stage 2 of the reopening plan on June 14. Libraries and venues such as restaurants and recreational facilities were cleared to open as long as they follow certain guidelines, including additional sanitation requirements and establishing hours of operation for high-risk peoples — all as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Plans for reopening schools, however, were not defined in the administrative order.
New Jersey’s interim Secretary of Higher Education Diana Gonzalez
said that the department will be responsible for sending colleges packets of safety recommendations and requirements.
In addition, colleges must submit a reopening plan that satisfies the following 10 categories of campus life before allowing students to return:
- Computer labs
- Research and labs
- Student services
- Study abroad
The above markers are being used as a reference point for universities of New Jersey to finalize their plans for the upcoming fall semester.
Art by Elizabeth Scalzo.
Crucial points needed for FDU reopening.