FDU Releases Final Fall Reopening Plan

By Jhoana T. Merino-Martinez

News Editor

The university emailed the community on Monday, July 20, to share the reopening plan that has been submitted to New Jersey state government, as required. 

The state mandated colleges and universities to submit plans for reopening at least 14 days before the respective start of their semesters. President Christopher Capuano said the plan was submitted to the office of the Secretary of Higher Education on Friday, July 17 — a month ahead of our Aug. 17 start to the semester. 

“I urge everyone to read it carefully and become familiar with the policies and procedures that will be in place this fall,” Capuano said. 

The 37-page plan, linked on the email via PDF, covers the components for reopening as defined by the state:

  1. General safeguarding
  2. Screening, testing and contact tracing protocols 
  3. Instruction
  4. On-campus residential housing
  5. Libraries and computer labs
  6. Research/science labs
  7. Student services
  8. Transportation
  9. Dining
  10. Study abroad and international travel 
  11. Athletics

“The full plan expands upon the protocols and procedures outlined in my earlier update, including robust screening, testing, and physical distancing requirements,” Capuano said. 

In order for student athletes and resident students to return to campus, they are required to choose any of the following options: 

  1. Show proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken 72 hours prior to designated return date
  2. Self-quarantine at home for 14 days (certified by a signed pledge)
  3. Quarantine on campus for 14 days before in-person instruction 

While on campus, however, the document states that testing will be supported and may even include testing venues on both the Florham and Metropolitan campuses. There are three scenarios where testing is required:

  • Symptomatic testing for those who exhibit symptoms. Students will be isolated in their residence hall rooms until the results return. 
  • Contact testing for those that had contact with a COVID-19 positive individual, even if asymptomatic. This will follow investigations around the infected individual’s classmates and/or suitemates. 
  • Surveillance testing may be randomly ordered by FDU for both the general community or high-risk populations such as student athletes and residents. 

“We will continue to monitor the COVID-19 landscape and will adjust these and other policies should conditions change,” President Capuano said.

Three task forces were assembled from FDU faculty of various positions for the planning process: finances, academics, and campus operations. 

Another task force has been formed for the fall, called the “University Steering Committee,” to ensure the implementation of the processes in the plan. This group will work in tandem with the University’s Emergency Management Team, which is responsible for responding and mitigating any potential spreads of coronavirus on any campus. 

There are sub-groups within the Steering Committee: Academic Planning, Health and Safety, Facilities, Student Experience and Residential Housing, and Athletics. 

There will also be opportunities for FDU students to raise concerns or questions in the future. 

“We are holding town halls for community members, and we invite you to join these events, ask questions, and provide further input,” Capuano said. 

“Our plans and initiatives are only as strong as our collective commitment to each other,” Capuano said. “We have to work together, and we will be dependent on each other to do all that is possible to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 on our campuses.”
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Art by Jhoana Merino Martinez.

Final fall 2020 plan outlined for FDU.