President Susan Cole announced on June 17 what Montclair State University’s plan is regarding the upcoming fall semester. The plan is based on Gov. Phil Murphy’s proposal on lifting the restrictions on higher education institutions in a series of three stages.
If New Jersey reaches stage three by the time the fall semester starts, the university expects that the higher education institutions will be able to offer a combination of in-person learning, hybrid and remote learning. Depending on these restrictions the university also hopes to provide students with campus housing, a few campus events, along with other services and activities.
If the plan to hold in-person instruction and events becomes available, it will be handled with a strict protocol of precautions to reduce the spreading of viruses. The policies will include precautions such as face coverings, hand sanitizing, room and equipment cleaning, social distancing in both instructional and workspaces along with ensuring health monitoring and limits on the number of people who can simultaneously occupy specific areas.
Each vice president responsible for their division is working on a developed plan for safely returning employees to campus as well.
Changes to the academic calendar have also been made to decrease the number of people on campus during the timeframe when viruses become more active. The adjustments result in classes starting earlier on Tuesday, Aug. 25 and ending on Monday, Dec.14 with solely online instruction after Thanksgiving break.
During President Cole’s announcement she expressed how the university will do its best to keep all parties informed going forward.
“Now that the Governor [Murphy] has announced his intentions for colleges and universities, we can start moving forward and our goal will be to get very clear and very complete information to all of you as soon as possible,” Cole said.
Following the announcement from President Cole, further information including housing and dining services will be announced shortly. There will also be options for anyone who may need to continue virtual learning.
In addition to addressing the upcoming fall semester plans, President Cole also expressed how she is looking forward to seeing students back on campus soon.
“I know that you have wanted, and needed, to return to campus, and we are very much looking forward to welcoming you back,” Cole said.
Julie Shields, a sophomore linguistics major, hopes to be on campus for the fall semester instead of solely online instruction.
“I know the precautions that the school is taking is to keep us all safe and I’m happy to be going back,” Shields said. “I don’t see a problem with starting a week earlier than the date we were originally going back.”
Anaes Allan, a senior economics major, trusts that starting in August and ending in November is a good idea.
“The virus will probably be more active in the winter so it’s definitely better to be safe than sorry, even though I’d be missing out on most of my senior year,” Allan said. “I feel glad that we’re at least given the option to go back on campus, which could benefit students socially and academically. But I also feel as though it won’t be close to the same experience as before because of all the new policies in place and the precautions everyone will take.”
Anthony Wright, a sophomore pre-major, believes that it’s safe to go back on campus.
“I feel like going back [on campus] would be fine. I don’t think it’s as big a deal as people think,” Wright said. “I thought we started in September so I’m kind of bummed we start in August instead.”
Further updates will be announced throughout the summer so that students, faculty and employees can know what to expect for the fall semester.