Dear Rutgers University Healthcare Providers:
As you have heard by now, the university has suspended in-person classes and teaching activity, while maintaining essential functions to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 at Rutgers. Clinical care is one of those essential functions, and we are writing you today to offer guidance as you continue to deliver patient care. This guidance is to all of our healthcare providers/personnel, i.e., faculty, staff, and students who interact directly with patients, including those within RBHS and those in other parts of the university. The patients we treat tend to be older and ill, and so those most likely to be at greatest risk of poor outcomes if they become infected with COVID-19. As such, with our patients’ health at the forefront of our decision-making, we need to take extra measures to protect them.
Effective immediately, we are directing all healthcare faculty, staff, and students who interact directly with patients, in all Rutgers schools, to:
- CEASE all domestic business-related travel, including travel to Philadelphia and New York City, for any and all Rutgers sponsored activities; this ban does not prohibit travel needed to provide patient care;
- Understand these travel limits are in addition to the university’s limitations on international travel;
- Not attend meetings on- or off-campus with more than 15 people;
- Cancel in-person group meetings that are not related to patient care; and
- Move classroom teaching activities to internet-based platforms, consistent with Dr. Barchi’s memo from earlier today. Remember that, per Dr. Barchi’s memo, there are no changes in clinical rotations and clinical instruction.
Again, this applies only to Rutgers healthcare providers who interact directly with patients.
If you have questions regarding this guidance, please contact the office of your dean or clinical institute director.
We will continue to monitor, prepare, and respond to this situation as we have since international reports of the epidemic were first made known. The university will keep the community updated about new critical information as it becomes available, and encourage you to bookmark our COVID-19 webpage for up-to-date information about the university’s general guidance and preparations related to COVID-19. In addition, the New Jersey Poison Information and Education System at Rutgers is serving as the NJDOH COVID-19 Call Center and is available 24 hours a day to provide assistance in multiple languages. Call the hotline at 1-800-222-1222.
Wishing you good health,
Vicente Gracias, MD
Senior Vice Chancellor for Clinical Affairs, Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences
Vice President for Health Affairs, Rutgers University
Brian L. Strom, MD, MPH
Chancellor, Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences
Executive Vice President for Health Affairs, Rutgers University