LIVE UPDATES: Montclair State University Changes Policies During COVID-19 Pandemic

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Published March 10, 2020
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The Montclarion
Photo courtesy of CDC

Updates as of Thursday, March 26:

  • According to Ben Omuya, Director of Parking Services, the refunds were made after the university switched to online instruction. “Since parking charges are based on usage, a decision was made to issue refunds after all classes were changed to online only,” Omuya said.
  • The university has decided to refund the unused portions of housing plans, dining plans or parking permits for students.
  • Students can choose to take their refund in the form of a credit that they can apply towards their fall 2020 bill or as a direct payment.
  • For students who choose the credit option can view it on NEST when the fall 2020 bill is posted in June.
  • Students who choose to take their refund as credit will also be allowed one free course in the Summer 2020 session or the Winter 2021 session.
  • The refund will only be for the period of time students could not use their housing, dining, or parking starting from Monday, March 23 to Tuesday, May 12.
  • Students who continue to live on campus will not receive a refund.
  • Students will receive information on how to select and apply for their credit or refund no later than Friday, April 3.
  • Credits and refunds will be issued within 2 to 4 weeks.

Updates as of Wednesday, March 25: 

  • Parking Services is refunding students, faculty and staff who no longer need to park on campus.
  • Those who desire a refund must complete the top portion of the Refund Request Form and submit the form to parking@montclair.edu by June 30.
  • Students who remain on campus for legitimate reasons must vacate their current housing and relocate to the Heights during their assigned time.
  • Sinatra Hall residents must check out between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Thursday, March 26.
  • Freeman Hall residents must check out between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Thursday, March 26.
  • Russ and Stone Hall residents must check out between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Friday, March 27.

Updates as of Monday, March 23: 

  • Students will have the option to choose between receiving traditional letter grades or taking classes as PASS/FAIL this semester.
  • A few courses in accredited programs are an exception.
  • Students will have until Monday, May 4, 2020 to make a decision. 
  • a PASS grade has no impact on a student’s GPA.
  • Commencement and Convocations will be postponed.

Updates as of Sunday, March 22: 

  • For student employees who are still enrolled and want to continue working, they will be able to do so and will get paid for the hours they work.
  • Some departments will continue to employ students in on-campus positions but only students who continue to live on campus may work on campus.
  • If a department has work that can be assigned to a remote employee, enrolled students may work this way. This applies to both current residents or commuters.
  • There are no changes to the process for submitting hours worked, supervisor approval or paychecks being processed.
  • Students who are able to can maintain their current work schedule but additional hours will not be supported by the Federal Work Study Program.
  • Federal Work Study students should not work more than 10 hours per week.
  • Federal Work Study students are still restricted to the amount of their academic year award and cannot exceed their posted award on the NEST portal.
  • The university is unable to increase student awards; when students have earned their academic year allotment, they will have to stop working or be moved to a position funded by the university, if available.
  • Federal Work Study students may work remotely only if the department supervisor has assignments that they determine can be performed remotely.
  • A remote Federal Work Study student’s activities will be documented and the departments will be asking students to report the number of hours worked and tasks completed on a daily basis.
  • Federal Work Study students who are unable to continue working on campus and unable to work remotely must inform their department supervisor.
  • University Funded Student employees should not work more than 20 hours per week.
  • If a department has university funded students who are unable to work, either on campus or remotely, the students will not be paid.

Updates as of Saturday, March 21: 

  • Gov. Phil Murphy mandated the closure of all municipal, county and state public libraries on Saturday, March 21. This includes libraries and computer labs at private and higher education institutions.
  • Gov. Phil Murphy orders all residents of New Jersey to stay at home. This, however, is not a shutdown as people can leave their home to get supplies or take a walk as long as they practice social distancing.
  • All nonessential businesses must close by 9 p.m. tonight.
  • All gatherings are banned.
  • Laptop loaners are now available to students who do not have access to a desktop, laptop, tablet or smartphone at home.
  • Students who need a loaner laptop must come to the fifth floor of University Hall today before 8 p.m. to pick it up.
  • Students must have their student ID to request a loaner laptop.
  • University Hall will be open for the next few days to allow students to pick up loaner laptops.
  • Only essential employees will be physically working on campus and as needed. Almost all Montclair State University employees are working remotely or are on some type of leave.
  • No gatherings of any kind will be permitted on campus.
  • Montclair State University will not be hosting public events or providing any services to members of the general public.
  • The majority of buildings will be locked and access will be restricted to employees who need to enter for essential purposes only.
  • Students who need Wi-Fi access are allowed to use the Student Center cafeteria on the second floor and the third floor lounge, these spaces will be under supervision.
  • The Student Recreation Center, Panzer Athletic Center, Sprague Library and Kasser Theater are closed.
  • The only campus dining options will be Sam’s Place and The Student Center Convenience Store.
  • Sam’s Place will be open from 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. every day to serve resident students with “Fix Your Plate and Go” service and The Student Center Convenience Store will provide “grab and go” service Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • The university is urging students to not, under any circumstances, come to campus if they are sick. The only exception would be students who need to be seen at the Health Center.

Updates as of Friday, March 20: 

  • President Donald Trump temporarily closes the Mexican border for non-essential traffic, effective at midnight.
  • At the end of the extended spring break, instructors will notify students about the format of their online classes.
  • Courses that are already fully online will follow their original schedule and School of Nursing courses will follow their specific schedule.
  • Registration for summer and fall will take place on schedule. Academic advisors will be available virtually, either on the phone or online.
  • The Academic Success Center and the Center for Writing Excellence are available to students virtually. In addition to offering tutoring, the Academic Success Center will provide livestream workshops to assist students with online classes.

Updates as of Thursday, March 19: 

  • Gov. Phil Murphy orders all personal care businesses, including massage and tattoo parlors and social clubs to shut down at 8 p.m.
  • Montclair State has given its residents until Sunday, March 29 to collect their belongings and check out, extending the original checkout time.
  • Items remaining in rooms after the deadline may be moved to another location.
  • According to an email from the Office of the Provost, librarians will be working remotely so that students, faculty and staff will continue to have access to online library resources, including streaming media and consultations with librarians through chat, email or text.

Updates as of Wednesday, March 18:

  • The university has ordered all students who do not have a legitimate reason to remain on campus to remove all their belongings from the residence halls and to return home.
  • Legitimate reasons include:
    • International or visiting students.
    • The residence hall is their permanent residence.
    • Students who have inadequate resources outside of the university to complete academic work.
  • All students must vacate their space and complete the check out process with their building’s front desk by 4 p.m. on Monday, March 23.
  • Students have a check-out schedule in accordance with their residence hall.
  • Failure to respond to the check-out survey or move out of their residence hall by Monday will result in check out fees and lock change fees applied to the student account.
  • The university was informed of two new confirmed cases of COVID-19. They are both employees of the university who were last on campus Friday, March 6 and Thursday, March 12.

Updates as of Tuesday, March 17:

  • All courses the university offers will now be online.
  • Plans are being implemented for employees to work remotely.
  • Dining services will remain open with “grab and go” options.
  • Tables and chairs are being separated to increase social distancing.
  • The Student Recreation Center will remain open, but activities may be limited.
  • All performances and athletic events have been canceled and no group events will be held until further notice.
  • Montclair State University is discussing refunds for housing costs, parking passes and meal plans, but have not come to a decision yet.
  • The university has not come to a decision on graduation and commencement yet. Early April is scheduled as the deadline for when a decision will be made.
  • The construction of College Hall will continue as the university transitions to online instruction.
  • Gov. Phil Murphy orders the closure of malls and amusement parks beginning tonight after 8 p.m.

Updates as of Monday, March 16:

  • The Information Technology Division is working to transition students to online classes. They have posted FAQs on the Montclair State University new coronavirus website which include:
    • Where to go for technical support.
    • Downloading Microsoft Office.
    • Faculty/staff communicating with students using Zoom.
    • Students sending sensitive documents to the Registrar.
    • Security considerations for working remotely.
  • Gov. Phil Murphy declares a school shutdown across the state of New Jersey for pre-K through grade 12 starting Wednesday, March 18. This applies to both public and private schools.
  • Gov. Phil Murphy also agrees to close bars, restaurants, theatres, racetracks and casinos in New Jersey.
  • All non-essential retail, recreational and entertainment businesses are closed after 8 p.m.
  • Gatherings of over 50 people at a time are banned.

Updates as of Saturday, March 14:

  • President Donald Trump adds the United Kingdom and Ireland to the travel ban.

Updates as of Friday, March 13:

  • The university will make sure that students have the proper equipment for online classes beginning Monday, March 23. This includes laptop, desktop, smartphone or tablet and internet access.
  • University public computer labs will reopen on Monday, March 23 and will be available for use.
  • President Donald Trump declares a national emergency over the virus.

Updates as of Thursday, March 12:

  • The university will inform the student body Monday, March 16, if certain courses will continue to be offered in-person.
  • All events on campus are canceled through March 31.
  • A Montclair State University employee was diagnosed with COVID-19 (coronavirus). They were last seen on campus Friday, Feb. 28. At the time, they showed no symptoms of the virus.

Updates as of Wednesday, March 11:

  • According to Kieran Barrett, Captain of the Montclair State Police Department, there are no changes to law enforcement on campus. “We ensure the safety of the university daily and that will not change. We will be here 24 hours, seven days a week as usual to help people and respond,” Barrett said.
  • The School of Communication and Media colloquium program is being suspended for the rest of the semester. Everyone will receive a pass for Spring 2020.
  • Internships for College of the Arts students who use mass transport have stopped immediately. Some may have to work remotely.
  • President Donald Trump announced that he is suspending all travel between the United States and Europe for 30 days beginning Friday. The United Kingdom does not apply to the travel ban.

Montclair State University has made the decision to extend spring break through Sunday, March 22 due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. The announcement was made by President Susan Cole to the student body via email on Tuesday afternoon.

According to the announcement, most of the university’s instruction will take place online for the rest of the semester. However, some exceptions are being made for certain studio or laboratory courses that will remain face-to-face.

The courses that are already being offered completely online will not be affected and will continue normally. The School of Nursing courses will follow their own special schedule by the university.

President Susan Cole released an update to the campus community via email regarding the status of courses and campus operations moving forward as of Tuesday, March 10.

Governor Phil Murphy had called a state of emergency Monday night. According to the State of New Jersey Department of Health, eight coronavirus cases have been reported and one death.

Although the instruction has been switched to online, the university is not closing. All services and facilities will remain open. These include the residence halls, dining services, the health center, the library, computer centers, research support, recreational facilities and information technology.

The Red Hawk Athletics events will continue on schedule. The residence halls will remain open during the break and students living in the dorms can come and go freely. However, access to residence halls will be limited to residents and essential personnel; guests will not be permitted until further notice.

Trips outside of New Jersey by the university will be limited to essential travel and will require approval. Most trips abroad have been canceled such as trips to Italy.

Students who were studying abroad in Italy had gone through the proper procedures upon returning and 11 of them have been quarantined. The students were not from a particular class.

According to Media Relations Director Erika Bleiberg, President Cole advised that [the quarantined students] will be given online coursework to do at home, while they stay quarantined, according to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines.

“In accordance with newly issued recommendations from the CDC, the university has recommended that those individuals that have traveled to the Level 3 or 4 countries referenced above should self-quarantine at home for 14 days after arriving in the United States,” Bleiberg said.

To prevent the spread of the virus, students are being urged to not travel and follow the university’s precautionary procedures.

Montclair State is monitoring the virus and is adapting accordingly. They will continue to post updates on the Montclair State coronavirus web site.

Updated as of March 10, 2020

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