As President Foster outlined in her May 7 message, The College of New Jersey has added the COVID-19 vaccine to its list of required vaccinations for students. Proof of vaccination must be uploaded to OWL by July 23. Please refer to the COVID-19 Vaccination Requirement webpage for detailed information, including critical dates.
We understand that some of you still have questions about the safety and efficacy of the vaccines. If so, we’d like to share several resources that respond to frequently asked questions, including concerns that have been raised about vaccine side effects, fertility issues, vaccine eligibility, contraindications, and the scientific underpinnings of the vaccines. We encourage you to learn more on the following sites or by consulting your physician: CDC, the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the New Jersey Department of Health. Additional resources can be found on the COVID-19 Vaccination Requirement webpage.
Students with valid medical reasons precluding vaccination, as well as those with established and sincerely held religious beliefs that preclude receipt of a vaccination, may apply for an exemption from the vaccine requirement. However, the TCNJ experience will differ in fall 2021 for students who are fully vaccinated and those who are granted an exemption. (The CDC considers individuals to be fully vaccinated if they have received their single-dose vaccine or second of two doses two or more weeks ago.)
Students who are fully vaccinated may:
- live on campus and participate in the full range of activities on campus this fall. They do not need to wear masks, physically distance, or have routine COVID-19 testing if they do not have COVID-19-like symptoms. If they are a close contact of someone who has tested positive, vaccinated students would be exempt from quarantine unless they develop COVID-19-like symptoms.
- be subject to symptomatic testing, or random asymptomatic testing, or regular testing if there is evidence of substantial or high transmission in the community.
- choose to wear a mask, maintain physical distance, or receive asymptomatic testing if they wish.
Students who have been granted a medical or religious exemption from the vaccine must:
- wear a mask and observe physical distance requirements while on campus.
- be tested on campus multiple times (generally twice) weekly for COVID-19.
- quarantine if they have been identified as a close contact of someone who has tested positive for the COVID-19 virus, even if they themselves have tested negative.
Students with an exemption will be permitted to (while wearing a mask and physically distancing):
- attend class in person. (Faculty will be provided with names of exempted students in their course; staff will be provided with names of exempted students with whom they meet for advising, mentoring, or other high-contact interactions.)
- use the library.
- visit offices on campus.
- use the dining facilities.
- participate in varsity athletics (with potential restrictions for team travel).
- participate in club, organization, recreation, cultural or campus activities that do not involve high contact with others and for which physical distancing is feasible and enforced by the group.
However, students with an exemption will not be permitted to:
- live in the residence halls.
- participate in club, organization, recreation, cultural or campus activities that involve high contact with others and for which physical distancing is not feasible and enforced.
If you have not yet received your vaccine and would like to attend our next vaccination clinic on campus, please note Bergen New Bridge Medical Center will host an on-campus clinic on Thursday, June 17 from 1–3 p.m. Dose two will be administered on Thursday, July 15 from 1–3 p.m. on campus. Additional information, including a registration link, will be forthcoming under separate cover.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, TCNJ has prioritized the health and safety of its community members. While we would prefer to have all students enjoy the same on-campus experience this fall, we feel the measures outlined above are essential to promoting campuswide well-being.
Sean O. Stallings
Vice President for Student Affairs
Director of Student Health Services