Dear Members of the RBHS Community:
Yesterday, Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer Antonio Calcado announced critical updates related to university requirements and operations in response to recent developments in the COVID-19 pandemic. Please review his message carefully as it contains important information related to COVID-19 vaccine booster requirements, in-person return dates, and more. This is subject to change, of course, as the pandemic continues to evolve.
The university, all clinics, libraries, and research operations will continue to remain open. The telecommuting guidance for employees whose responsibilities do not require them to be on campus has been extended through Sunday, January 30, 2022, in accordance with the Telecommuting Policy relaxation. In-person schedules for employees are expected to resume on Monday, January 31, 2022. Where possible, in-person classes will temporarily convert to remote classes through Sunday, January 30, 2022.
Please note that RBHS clinical care, research, and clinical training will continue to be held in-person, unless specified otherwise by RBHS deans and program leaders. Any other courses that can be held remotely during this time, should be. Additional guidance regarding specific programs and courses will be provided by each of the RBHS deans in the coming days.
As indicated in Mr. Calcado’s message, COVID-19 vaccine boosters are now required of all Rutgers students by January 31, 2022. Proof of the booster must be uploaded to the vaccine portal by that date. Given it takes two weeks for the booster to take effect, students in clinical rotations or residing on campus are strongly encouraged to receive their boosters and upload their status as soon as possible, at least by January 15, 2022. All employees, except those with previously approved medical or religious exemptions, will also be required to receive a vaccine booster and upload proof of same. A follow-up email on this topic will be sent later this week to all employees.
COVID-19 boosters are recommended by the CDC for ALL who are eligible. Emerging data indicate that most breakthrough cases of Omicron in people who previously completed an appropriate vaccination regimen have been mild or asymptomatic. Vaccination continues to be the most effective weapon in our fight against this virus. If you haven’t already, protect yourself and your loved ones by getting boosted as soon as possible. Booster appointments can be made on the Rutgers vaccination portal or at one of several locations throughout the state.
We will continue to carefully monitor the environment and provide guidance as needed over the coming days and weeks. To hear the latest information, and to have some of your questions answered, please join Dr. Martin Blaser and me live at 9 am tomorrow, January 6, for another COVID-19 Health Briefing. In the meantime, please continue to follow these time-tested public health practices: stay home if you are sick, wear a mask when meeting indoors in groups, maintain a safe distance, and get tested for COVID-19. The State of New Jersey and Vault Medical Services continue to offer at-home COVID-19 testing at no cost. Visit the program’s website to order your test. Employees whose presence on campus is required may also access free weekly testing at the university through January 31, 2022; information is available on the Rutgers Strategic Testing Program webpage. If you test positive for COVID-19, reach out to your personal physician or student health (for students) for care and guidance.
Thank you for your dedication as we continue on our path toward recovery. I know this has been a long and challenging road, and I am very grateful for your resilience and support.
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