Dear Members of the RBHS Community:
These past months have been a challenging and humbling bookend on the academic and fiscal year. Though we have much work ahead of us, I am very proud of what we have already accomplished and have high expectations for what we will achieve.
Rutgers is a national leader in the fight against COVID-19, and a critical partner for the state of New Jersey. The fortitude of our frontline workers who provided critical care and infrastructure services was augmented by the gratitude and diligence of a New Jersey community whose altruism helped “flatten the curve”. Consequently, we can now look ahead to a partial recovery period that will allow Rutgers to carefully begin to repopulate its campuses.
In a message earlier today, President Holloway outlined Rutgers’ plans for a Fall 2020 semester that will combine a majority of remotely delivered courses with a limited number of in-person classes. We are equally committed to enabling our faculty and staff to be productive, our researchers to continue to make life-changing discoveries, and our health care heroes to provide quality care to our patients. RBHS’s repopulation plan aligns with those intentions and was developed to ensure the continuation of our clinical, training, and research missions while maintaining quality and safety. Built over the past several weeks, the RBHS plan was developed with extensive participation by our schools, centers, and institutes, and central support services, as well as in consultation with state and federal health agencies. In conjunction with the guidance developed in the Returning to Rutgers and Returning to Research documents, the Repopulating RBHS document will provide additional detail on operations specific to the delivery of health professions education, biomedical research, and patient care. This is a living document which will change as the circumstances change, and in response to the feedback we receive as it is implemented. RBHS community members still have the opportunity to offer their feedback on the draft plan through the end of the day today.
Educationally, we will continue to hold many didactic classes online with select in-person classroom and clinical activities. However, RBHS is obviously professionally diverse, and the needs of each school and program are different. Our deans have been collaborating with their appropriate accrediting bodies and agencies, as they continue in these changing times to deliver programs that prepare our students for outstanding professional careers. The RBHS deans and academic leadership at our eight schools therefore will shortly be providing their students and faculty with additional details that are specific to each school and program. Additional information can be found on the RBHS campus status webpage.
Thank you all for your commitment as we work together to face the challenges ahead and continue on our mission to shape the future of human health as one of the best academic health centers in the country.
Brian L. Strom, MD, MPH
Executive Vice President of Health Affairs, Rutgers University