Spring Guidance

Dear Members of the RBHS Community:  

COVID-19 cases in our region and at Rutgers have decreased dramatically in the past weeks as we had forecasted (and hoped) they would, and hospitalizations are dropping as well. This news brings us much relief as we all look to return to our regular activities. 

Last Friday, Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer Antonio Calcado affirmed this progress by confirming the university’s return to on-campus operations on January 31. Though much of RBHS clinical care, research, and clinical training programs continued their in-person sessions these past few weeks – as we have for most of the pandemic – any programs that shifted to remote methods should resume in-person activities on the 31st, where appropriate. Thank you all for your flexibility as we continue to adjust and respond in our efforts to safeguard the health of our community. 

Vaccination remains critical to our continued recovery. COVID-19 vaccine boosters are required of ALL Rutgers students and employees who are eligible to receive them. As a reminder, proof of the booster must be uploaded to the appropriate student or employee vaccine portal by January 31, 2022. Vaccine boosters are readily available throughout the region, including at all three Rutgers campuses. Information on scheduling a booster is available on the Rutgers COVID-19 Vaccination webpage. Those with a previously approved medical or religious exemption from the vaccine mandate are also exempt from the booster requirement. Those who have recently tested positive for COVID-19 may extend the booster deadline by 90 days from the date of their positive COVID test. The application process can be found on the Return to Rutgers vaccine portal.

Though we are cautiously optimistic to be moving past Omicron, it is important to remember the danger this disease poses to our community. Many lives have been unnecessarily lost, the vulnerable and unvaccinated remain at risk of severe illness, and our health care providers and facilities are stressed. As the virus evolves, we must continue to be agile and vigilant to protect public health. Though changing guidance may feel frustrating, it is evidence of advancement in our health and disease prevention agencies’ understanding and ability to respond to this threat, and we urge you to do your best to keep informed on CDC and NJDOH recommendations.

As always, please get vaccinated and boosted, wear a well-fitting face mask or respirator – preferably an approved KN95 – when in public, and stay home and contact your personal care provider if you are not feeling well or if you test positive for COVID-19. KN95 face coverings will be made available to RBHS employees and students next week beginning with patient-facing units. Further details regarding their distribution will be forthcoming. Additional information, including Rutgers’ current quarantine and isolation guidance and event requirements, can be found in the recently updated Guide to Returning to Rutgers.

This is a challenging time for all of us. If you are feeling anxious or know someone who is, we urge you to seek assistance. Rutgers has many wellbeing resources available to assist students and employees. Please become familiar with these documents and bookmark and share them with others as needed. 

Thank you all once again for your fortitude. So many of you have worked tirelessly to serve our communities and continually advance our mission. We are incredibly grateful for your hard work and resilience. 

In good health and with very best wishes, 

Brian L. Strom, MD, MPH 
Chancellor, Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences 
Executive Vice President for Health Affairs, Rutgers University 

Vicente Gracias, MD 
Senior Vice Chancellor for Clinical Affairs, Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences 
Vice President for Health Affairs, Rutgers University