Health and Safety

The health and safety of the William Paterson University community is our top priority. As the University returns to in-person work and study, the institution has developed policies and procedures to protect vulnerable students, staff, and faculty in order to help ensure a safe and healthy learning environment.

The Office of the Secretary of Higher Education (OSHE) has issued standards for institutions of higher education as they begin restarting campus operations impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic in New Jersey, in concert with Gov. Phil Murphy’s state reopening plan, “The Road Back: Restoring Economic Health Through Public Health.” While there will be some level of risk as operations resume for reopening, the University has put a number of protocols in place to help mitigate those risks and safeguard our campus, employees, students and athletes.

Daily Health Screenings

All members of the William Paterson community—students, faculty, and staff—are required to participate in daily self-administered health screenings and temperature taking (see the Self-Screening for All Employees for COVID-19 or Self-Screening for All Students for COVID-19). Anyone who reports symptoms or a fever over 100 degrees Fahrenheit will be referred for testing. This health screening is a web-based form and is required prior to arrival on campus, leaving a residence hall room each day, attending any athletic or campus-sponsored activity, arriving at any clinical or teaching placement or any internship program, or participating in any other University activity or gathering. All employees and students are also required to report any travel on this form.

All positive health screenings or temperatures over 100 degrees Fahrenheit will be forwarded to Human Resources (employees) or the Counseling, Health and Wellness Center (students). These individuals will not be allowed on campus and must report absent. All information will be kept confidential in adherence to federal and state HIPAA guidelines.

Testing of Employees

William Paterson University requires that all employees notify Human Resources if they are exposed to, or are experiencing symptoms consistent with, COVID-19. All employees exposed to, or symptomatic for, COVID-19 will be referred to their primary care provider to get tested and must inform HR of their test results. All apparently symptomatic or exposed employees will be sent home and advised to self-quarantine, until results are obtained.

A recommendation to quarantine means you are not known to be sick but may have been exposed or could be getting sick.

Negative Results

If the test is negative and the employee is asymptomatic, that employee can resume work with use of social distancing guidelines, hand hygiene, and face coverings while in the presence of others.

Positive Results

If the employee tests positive, and/or is experiencing symptoms, that employee will be directed to remain out of the workplace until:

  • At least 3 days (72 hours) have passed since recovery,which is defined as resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and improvement in respiratory symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath) and,
  • At least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared.

A recommendation for isolation means you tested positive for COVID-19 or are presumed positive with symptoms of the virus.

All employees who are asymptomatic but test positive for COVID-19 will be advised to self-isolate and not be allowed on campus until:

  • 10 days have passed since the date of their first positive COVID-19 diagnostic test assuming they have not subsequently developed symptoms since their positive test. If they develop symptoms, then the symptom-basedor test-based strategyshould be used.

Testing of Students

William Paterson University requires that all students notify the Counseling, Health and Wellness Center if they are exposed to, or are experiencing symptoms consistent with, COVID-19. Students can call the Health Center or visit the online student portal for an appointment. Prior screening via telehealth is required before entering the center.

If it is deemed necessary, students will be offered a test. They will be referred to local testing centers or given a campus-obtained test if available. This will be coordinated through the Counseling, Health and Wellness Center. 

All suspected or exposed students will be recommended to self-quarantine, until results are obtained.

A recommendation to quarantine means you are not known to be sick but may have been exposed.

Negative Results

If the test is negative and the student is asymptomatic, the student can resume classes with use of social distancing guidelines, hand hygiene, and face coverings while in the presence of others.

Positive Results

If the student tests positive, and/or is experiencing symptoms, the student will be not be permitted to attend in-person classes until:

  • At least 3 days (72 hours) have passed since recovery defined as resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and improvement in respiratory symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath); and,
  • At least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared.

A recommendation for isolation means you tested positive for COVID-19 or are presumed positive with symptoms of the virus.

Asymptomatic and Positive Results

Any students who are asymptomatic but test positive for COVID-19 will not be allowed on campus until:

  • 10 days have passed since the date of their first positive COVID-19 diagnostic test assuming they have not subsequently developed symptoms since their positive test.


On-Campus Testing Program

For spring 2021, William Paterson University has contracted with Bergen New Bridge Medical Center to provide testing for our University community with a focus on populations most at risk for COVID-19. The University has developed a priority-based testing plan to ensure that our campus has a systematic approach.

At this time, New Bridge will be conducting nasal PCR tests. Results will be available within 24 to 48 hours. Individuals who have been tested for COVID-19 will access their results via the New Bridge Medical portal. All positive results will be reported to the Counseling, Health, and Wellness Center (CHWC) for contact tracing.

Testing will be held every Wednesday and Friday. Individuals must be referred for testing, including any faculty or staff.

*If individuals are invited to participate in the testing program and have had COVID-19 in the past three months, they must first contact CHWC at covidchwc@wpunj.edu or call 973-720-2360.

NCAA Athletic Testing:

Testing began the week of January 4, 2021, with testing for all NCAA basketball players, who are resuming practice this week. All student-athletes who wish to participate in their sport this spring must participate in mandatory weekly testing.  All student-athletes need to participate in testing during designated testing days in order for them to be eligible to participate in their sport that week. Only students who receive a negative test will be permitted to participate.  Coaches and Athletic Trainers will be part of this testing program as well.

Club Sports:

Students who wish to participate in club sports must participate in the testing program. Recreational Services and CHWC will determine who needs to get tested and the frequency of that testing. Students in affected club sports will be notified via email.

Residential Students:

All residential students are required to participate in the testing program. They will be required to test on site through New Bridge during the week of move-in. Residential students will receive information about testing via email from Residence Life staff. New Bridge will be on site for four days during move-in week.

Throughout the spring 2021 semester, the University will conduct surveillance testing of the residential student population and Residence Life staff. The goal is to test approximately 25 percent of residential students every week. Students who are contacted must comply with testing as part of their housing agreement. (Approximately 250 residential students will be tested weekly.)

Academic Programs:

Certain academic programs, due to the nature of their classes or clinical work, may be at more risk for contracting or spreading COVID-19. Therefore, surveillance testing will be available for these programs. Faculty and staff in these programs are eligible to participate. These programs include but are not limited to:

Kinesiology, Music, Communication Disorders and Nursing.

If you are an academic department chair and are requesting that your academic program needs priority for testing, please contact CHWC at COVIDCHWC@wpunj.edu.

General Student Population

Students who may have been exposed to COVID-19 may get tested through the New Bridge testing program. These individuals must be screened and referred for testing by the CHWC medical team. All students in need of testing must reach out by calling 973-720-2360 or by email at COVIDCHWC@wpunj.edu.

Employees

Employees who are exposed to or may have contracted COVID-19 while performing their in-person job responsibilities will have access to the New Bridge testing program. All employees must be referred for testing by the benefits team in Human Resources in collaboration with CHWC. Any employee who is requesting testing should contact Human Resources at payroll@wpunj.edu or CHWC at  COVIDCHWC@wpunj.edu.

Insurance

The New Bridge Medical testing program will utilize an individual’s health insurance plan to cover the cost of testing. Anyone who has health insurance is required to use it. All full-time students are required to have insurance as part of their enrollment. If students are unsure if they have school-sponsored insurance, they can verify coverage through this website:

https://www.aetnastudenthealth.com/en/school/686212/index.html

Testing Location/Hours:

All testing will take place in the White Hall Lounge in the Residential Complex.  Commuters can park in Lot 5.

Testing hours are:

Wednesday, noon-4 p.m.

Friday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

*These days and times are subject to change due to demand or the needs of our campus.

Note: Students who are having symptoms must be screened and referred by the Counseling, Health and Wellness Center medical team. Students in need of testing must reach out by calling 973-720-2360 or by email at COVIDCHWC@wpunj.edu.

Quarantine and Isolation Procedures for Residential Students

The University has developed guidelines for the quarantine and/or isolation of residential students who are diagnosed with, or exposed to, COVID-19. A Counseling, Health and Wellness Center medical provider (physician or advance practice nurse) will make a determination whether a student needs to be quarantined or placed in isolation.

Diagnosed with COVID-19

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, any residential student who is suspected of having COVID-19 due to symptoms, or who is diagnosed with COVID-19, will be asked need to leave campus.

All residential students must have a designated permanent address in the event that they must leave due to their own illness or to campus closure. If students are within 200 miles of their permanent residence, they will need to leave immediately. Students should return home or to an alternate off-campus location to prevent further spread of COVID-19.  If students live further than 200 miles and cannot return home, they will be placed into separate isolation rooms on campus, subject to availability. Students who require isolation will be placed into a single room, subject to availability. During isolation, students must remain in their rooms. They are not permitted to go to class, walk around campus, or engage in any extracurricular or social activity. No visitors will be permitted. Medication and food will be brought to the student’s room.

A student with a medical exemption or concern about returning home can contact the Counseling, Health and Wellness Center at COVIDCHWC@wpunj.edu to discuss further.

These steps will be taken:

  • Verbal and written discharge instructions will be given to the student.
  • A thermometer will be given to the student if they do not have one for continual monitoring of their temperature.
  • The student will be required to don a mask and will be sent to their room to pack supplies to either return home immediately or to be relocated to a room designated for isolation.
  • Medication and other supplies will be offered to the student, if remaining on campus. If necessary, CHWC could arrange medication from a pharmacy to be delivered.
  • For students remaining on campus, a phone triage by a nurse will occur daily (during working hours) to assess the symptoms present and to determine if further treatment is needed.
  • The student will be asked to log temperatures to report. In order for the student to return to campus or to their regularly assigned residence hall room, the student must not be contagious. This will be determined on a case-by-case basis and will be determined at the sole discretion of CHWC. Students under isolation for COVID-19 will only be cleared to return to residence halls and/or regular campus activity by CHWC. Students who receive care from an outside provider will need to provide a clearance note to CHWC for approval, prior to returning to campus and/or normal activity.
  • For students who remain on campus, food delivery services will be coordinated by CHWC/ Residence Life. The student will be instructed to only open doors for food delivery while wearing a mask.
  • Affected students will be instructed to communicate with their professors that they will not be able to attend class in-person. If they are in need of extended absences or have academic requirements that can’t be met, CHWC will partner with the Dean of Students who will work with the student’s advisor to assist with necessary arrangements.
  • The Residence Life staff will be notified that they have a student placed in isolation due to illness.
Exposed to COVID-19

If a student is exposed to COVID-19, but is not exhibiting symptoms, they will need to quarantine. All residential students must have a designated permanent address in the event that they must leave due to their own illness or due to campus closure. If students are within 200 miles of their permanent residence, they will need to leave immediately. Students should return home or to an alternate off-campus location to prevent further spread of COVID-19. If students live further than 200 miles and cannot return home, they will be placed into separate isolation rooms on campus, subject to availability. Students who require isolation will be placed into a single room, subject to availability. During quarantine, students must remain in their rooms. They are not permitted to go to class, walk around campus, or engage in any extracurricular or social activity. No visitors will be permitted.

A student with a medical exemption or concern about returning home can contact the Counseling, Health and Wellness Center at COVIDCHWC@wpunj.edu to discuss further.

These steps will be taken: 

  • Verbal and written instructions will be given to student.
  • A thermometer will be given to student if they do not have one for continual monitoring of their temperature.
  • In the event that a student plans to return home or needs to be moved to another residence hall room, the student will be required to wear a mask and will be sent to their room to pack supplies.
  • For students remaining on campus, a phone triage by a nurse will occur daily (during working hours) to assess if any symptoms are present or if testing and treatment is needed.
  • Student will be asked to log temperatures to report. In order for the student to fully return to the campus community, the student must not be contagious. Assuming no symptoms of COVID-19 develop, this would occur 14 days after the exposure. Students under quarantine for COVID-19 will only be cleared to return to regular campus activity by CHWC. Students who receive care from an outside provider will need to provide a clearance note to CHWC for approval, prior to returning to campus and/or normal activity.
  • Food delivery services will be coordinated by CHWC/ Residence Life. The student will be instructed to only open doors for food delivery while wearing a mask.
  • Students will be instructed to communicate with their professors that they will not be able to attend class in-person. Assuming the student remains well, they will be expected to continue to meet course requirements. If they have academic requirements that can’t be met, CHWC will partner with the Dean of Students who will work with the student’s advisor to assist with necessary arrangements.
  • The Residence Life staff will be notified that they have a student quarantined due to exposure.

Following regulations set forth by HIPAA, a written authorization will be obtained for the release of only pertinent medical information for communication with the following:

  • Family or parent or guardian
  • Dean of Students
  • Residence Life
  • University Police
  • Food Services

In the event that a student refuses to remain in isolation or quarantine, and/or is a health risk to themselves, their roommates or member(s) of the Community, appropriate interventions will be used, consistent with University policy and applicable law.

Contact Tracing

William Paterson will continue to partner with public health officials to support contact tracing. The University has established relationships with local health departments and will coordinate with local officials to effectuate prompt and accurate contact tracing to help mitigate spread of COVID-19. 

All community members who test positive for COVID-19 must cooperate with contact tracing efforts.  All employees and students who test positive will be asked to complete a contact tracing form to be submitted to local health officials to help to expedite contact tracing (See Appendix).

Guidance for Medical Exceptions

Employees

Employees who are expected to return to the workplace and have a medical condition that places them in a higher risk group for COVID-19 infection may wish to seek a reasonable accommodation. These employees should complete an abridged reasonable accommodation form: https://www.wpunj.edu/human-resources/covid-19-HR-for-employees.

Accommodations for faculty, where warranted, may include fully online teaching, either via shifting one’s courses online or switching with another instructor currently teaching online who is willing and not health compromised. Department chairs and College deans are charged with the oversight of this matter and its optimal consideration of students, faculty, and pedagogy. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control, individuals with certain conditions may have a higher risk for COVID-19 infection. Those conditions may include:

  • Asthma: moderate to severe
  • Being immunocompromised
  • Chronic kidney disease being treated with dialysis
  • Chronic lung disease
  • Diabetes
  • HIV
  • Older adults (aged 65 years and older)
  • Serious heart disease
  • Severe obesity
  • Pregnancy and childbirth

If deemed eligible for an accommodation through Human Resources, the employee should then speak with their supervisor/dean to review remote work options that may be available. If there are no suitable options, contact the Office of Human Resources to determine next steps.

Students

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, approximately one-half of courses will be fully online, the remainder being blended learning (i.e., a mix of online and on-campus), or fully on-campus. Given that all courses for the spring semester have teaching approaches identified in the Schedule of Classes, students may register for preferred teaching approach, and if/as needed or desired, to adjust schedules during the first week of the semester through January 28., 2021 After that point, faculty may, but are not required to, accommodate a student for distance learning unless provided an approved accommodation from the Accessibility Resource Center. Faculty are also prepared to accommodate a student who is diagnosed with COVID-19 or who must quarantine at any point during the semester.

[Updated February 1, 2021]