Message from President Holloway: COVID-19 Vaccination and the Fall term

 

Members of the Rutgers Community:

 

We write to share news of our plans to welcome back all members of our community to our campuses this fall. The anticipated additional availability of the COVID-19 vaccine is enabling Rutgers to take steps to protect the health of our academic community and to move toward a full return to our pre-pandemic normal as a vibrant institution in Fall 2021.

President Biden recently announced that he is encouraging all states to open their COVID-19 vaccine eligibility requirements to include all adults and, further, that he expects that all adults could have access to at least one inoculation dose by the early summer. The Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also recently issued helpful guidance for those individuals who have been fully vaccinated. These announcements have provided us with the opportunity to clarify what our path forward will entail as we plan for the Fall 2021 academic semester.

In support of Rutgers’ commitment to health and safety for all members of its community, the University will be updating its Immunization Requirements for Students to include the COVID-19 vaccine. This health policy update means that, with limited exceptions, all students planning to attend in the Fall 2021 semester must be fully vaccinated. In parallel, we continue to strongly urge all Rutgers faculty and staff to get immunized against COVID-19 at the earliest opportunity.

The benefits of COVID-19 vaccination include prevention of serious illness, hospitalization, and death from the virus. Broad immunization is critical to help stop the current pandemic and to protect our University community. Benefits specific to the Rutgers community include:

 

  • An expedited return to pre-pandemic normal
  • Additional face-to-face course offerings and academic experiences
  • Opportunities for a wider range of events and activities offered at our campuses
  • Expanded dining and recreation options at Rutgers
  • Greater interpersonal collaboration among faculty, students, and researchers

 

Most important, a safer Rutgers community supports a safer New Jersey for our families, our friends, and our neighbors across the state.

The University has also been approved by the State to offer Rutgers clinics for on-campus administration of vaccines to faculty, staff, and students when vaccine supplies become available. However, we have not yet been given vaccine to administer. Thus, the University urges all members of its community currently eligible to receive a vaccine not to wait and to register with the State in order to get vaccinated as soon as possible, wherever you can, if you have not done so already. 

Proof of vaccination will be required for all students planning to attend this fall. Any vaccine authorized for use in the U.S. (currently Moderna, Pfizer, and Johnson & Johnson) is acceptable.  It is understood that some incoming students may be 17 years old, and may be only eligible for the Pfizer vaccine.

Students planning to attend the fall 2021 semester may request an exemption from the vaccination requirement for medical or religious reasons. Students enrolled in fully online degree programs (typically defined as having no access to on-campus facilities), as well as individuals participating in fully online or off-campus Continuing Education programs, will not need to provide proof of vaccination.

Should you have any questions about the vaccination program or Rutgers’ requirements, please see the FAQs https://coronavirus.rutgers.edu/covid-19-vaccine/#forStudents. For general questions about COVID-19 vaccines, please visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/faq.html and https://covid19.nj.gov/pages/vaccine.

From the onset of the pandemic, the safety of the broader Rutgers community has been our shared responsibility. This has never been more true. The importance of an effective vaccination program to make our community safer for all cannot be overstated.

Please look for additional information and instructions regarding Rutgers vaccine clinics and exemptions in the coming days from Brian Strom, Executive Vice President for Health Affairs. Chancellors and their staffs will follow with additional information about fall planning as well.

We appreciate your patience, understanding, and commitment to health and safety during these challenging times, and we look forward to seeing you on campus this fall.

 

Sincerely,

Jonathan Holloway

President and University Professor         

 

Prabhas V. Moghe

Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs

Distinguished Professor

 

Antonio M. Calcado

Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer