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June 18: Community COVID-19 Newsletter

To the Princeton University community,

Yesterday, Governor Phil Murphy announced a new Executive Order outlining the state’s guidance for higher education in light of the COVID-19. As you may have read in this afternoon’s message from Provost Deborah Prentice and Executive Vice President Treby Williams, the University is analyzing the new Executive Order and determining how it will impact operations for the remainder of the summer and for the coming fall semester. Please know that for now, nothing has changed in terms of our campus operations and the University is still planning to release our plans for undergraduate teaching and learning this fall in early July. You can read more about the state’s executive order below.

Also announced today:

Below, you can also dive deeper into:

And as always, please continue to consult the coronavirus website and University homepage for updates.

Please be safe and be well.

Message Regarding Campus Operations and Planning for Fall

Yesterday, Governor Murphy announced a new Executive Order outlining the state’s guidance for higher education in New Jersey. This guidance sets, among other things, minimum standards that every institution must meet to resume in-person instruction and welcome students back to campus for residential living.

The University is in the process of analyzing the new Executive Order and determining how it will impact the University’s operations for the remainder of the summer and for the coming fall semester. For now, nothing has changed in terms of our campus operations. You should continue to follow the guidance you have received previously. As a reminder, we are still planning to release our plans for undergraduate teaching and learning this fall in early July.

Today’s new guidelines do not determine the University’s policies in regard to students, faculty and staff—they instead lay out what is allowed for higher education in New Jersey and what standards we must meet to engage in various activities. Princeton also continues to operate under a number of other state Executive Orders that are not directly targeted at higher education, including those that set standards for workplace safety, set caps for the number of individuals who can attend events, and encourage us to decrease the number of employees that need to be in their offices or on campus.

Princeton will continue to set the policies we believe are in the best interests of the health and safety for our community within the guidelines provided by the state, and will share any changes in those policies accordingly.

More information and specific updates for faculty, staff, undergraduates, graduate students and researchers are outlined in today’s email to the campus community from Provost Deborah Prentice and Executive Vice President Treby Williams.

Announcing the Phased Resumption of On-Campus Research

Dean for Research Pablo Debenedetti has announced that on-campus laboratory research may begin phased resumption effective June 17. Please note that the phased resumption pertains to experimental, laboratory work in science and engineering. All work that can be done remotely must continue to be done remotely.

In order to return to the lab, faculty or lab directors must have their Research Lab Operations Plans approved by the University and must take a number of steps to ensure the health and safety of every person working in the lab.

Detailed requirements for the phased resumption of laboratory research are outlined on the Dean for Research website.

Listen to Stories from COVID-19 Frontlines on ‘We Roar’ Podcast

The latest episodes of the University’s “We Roar” podcast features different perspectives from the COVID-19 frontlines.

Dr. Céline Gounder, Class of 1997, is an infectious diseases specialist and host of the “EPIDEMIC” podcast. She knew COVID-19 was poised to cause a pandemic like the U.S. had never seen. Convincing others required her to use an unexpected tool in her medical arsenal: her voice. Gounder was part of a special Facebook Live conversation on June 12. Visit Princeton’s Facebook page to watch the conversation again.

Natalie Guo, Class of 2012, is helping fortify the frontline health care workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. She took two problems — hungry healthcare professionals and unemployed restaurant employees — and created one solution: Off Their Plate, a donation-funded program paying chefs and shift workers to provide meals to health care staff.

Travel Reminder from Global Safety and Security

As we enter into the summer months, the University’s Global Safety and Security Unit wish to remind all populations affiliated with Princeton University, including undergraduates, graduate students, faculty, and staff, that Associate Provost Aly Kassam-Remtulla’s April 16 guidance regarding University-sponsored travel remains unchanged. We will review our travel guidelines again in early July, after broader announcements are made regarding plans for the undergraduate teaching program.

To summarize the currently applicable guidelines:

All University-sponsored international travel continues to be suspended, and no international travel should be planned or scheduled.

University-sponsored travel within the United States should continue to be limited to essential trips. We remind travelers and travel sponsors (i.e., the department or other unit funding or otherwise supporting a trip) that they should review each proposed domestic trip to decide if it is essential. In doing so, you must use your best judgment in balancing the benefits of travel with health and safety considerations.

To aid in making the determination, we recommend considering:

  • Is the travel required to fulfill a critical research, teaching, legal, or compliance obligation?
  • Is the travel necessary to meet a graduation requirement?
  • Can the travel be postponed?
  • Is there a substitute to in-person travel such as virtual engagement?
  • Can someone in the destination location perform the activity in lieu of you?
  • Can the travel be accomplished safely and in compliance with local public health requirements, given health, community, and social conditions in the destination? The Global Safety & Security unit can assist you in evaluating these issues; please feel free to contact the team for a consultation.

In addition, undergraduate students participating in essential domestic travel should review and comply with the guidance in the Undergraduate Domestic Travel Checklist.

We appreciate your cooperation with these guidelines and welcome your questions and concerns to globalsafety@princeton.edu.

Public Health Update

All students, faculty, staff, postdocs and researchers should contact University Health Services if they are tested for coronavirus, in any jurisdiction. Please email communityhealth@princeton.edu as soon as you are tested; do not wait for results to notify UHS.

The University will continue to provide regular updates on the number of tests and cases involving community members which UHS is aware of. These numbers, especially those involving students who no longer reside on campus, are based on self-reporting. The most recent update can be found at coronavirus.princeton.edu.

University Health Services continues to support the University community through its on-campus and virtual services. Information on UHS hours, medical and psychological services, and virtual consultations is available on the UHS website.

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