We write with updates to our recent message on health and safety plans in preparation for our fall 2021 return to campus.
Vaccine Requirement: We are aware that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is meeting this week to discuss increased reports of myocarditis and pericarditis (heart inflammation) happening after mRNA (Pfizer and Moderna) COVID-19 vaccination. While there has not been a recommendation that individuals delay being vaccinated for this or any other reason, we know that some may prefer additional guidance before making the decision to vaccinate. We are therefore extending the date by which we ask that you submit your proof of vaccination from July 23 to August 9, 2021. We encourage you to explore the Informative Resources section of the Student Health Services’ COVID-19 Vaccination Requirement web page found here.
Some have asked whether people with past COVID-19 infection would have natural immunity and therefore might be waived from the college’s vaccination requirement. We continue to be guided by the CDC and other public health experts, who advise that natural immunity provides less predictable protection from the virus, especially with the highly contagious variants. For this reason, the college will not accept proof of having had the virus as a substitute for proof of vaccination. In addition, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) is reminding the public and health care providers that results from currently authorized COVID-19 (SAR-CoV-2) antibody tests should not be used to evaluate a person’s level of immunity or protection from COVID-19 at any time.
We continue to actively work with the state and unions to implement a vaccination requirement for all employees, including part-time, contract, and temporary workers. While these conversations are on-going, we note that steadily increasing numbers of our faculty and staff have already voluntarily uploaded their proof of vaccination and have been verified by Human Resources. To date, almost two-thirds of our employees, across all union and non-unit groups, have completed this process. The college’s goal is to have parity between students and employees in terms of the restrictions that will be placed on unvaccinated members of our community this fall.
Vaccination Access and Appreciation: We are pleased to provide access to the vaccine. Our COVID-19 testing partner, Bergen New Bridge Medical Center, will hold its next on-campus vaccination clinic on Thursday, June 17, from 1–3 p.m., with dose 2 administered on Thursday, July 15, from 1–3 p.m. Moderna vaccine will be offered, as well as the single-dose Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen COVID-19 vaccine. Instructions for how to register for the clinic were sent under separate cover on Tuesday, June 15. While we are pleased to provide access to the vaccine on campus, as a reminder you may receive the vaccine at a different location.
As a token of our appreciation for your time and responsiveness, we will provide a $25 gift card for use at any Campus Town food or retail establishment to TCNJ students who have already uploaded a copy of their COVID-19 vaccination certification or who do so by August 9, 2021. (We have also offered this token to TCNJ employees.) Additional information regarding the distribution of the gift cards will be sent under separate cover prior to the start of the fall semester.
Indoor Masking/Social Distancing: Effective immediately, and consistent with Governor Murphy’s recent executive order, the college is no longer requiring those who have been fully vaccinated to wear masks or maintain six feet of physical distance indoors. (The CDC considers individuals to be fully vaccinated two weeks after they receive the single-dose Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine or the second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines.) Those who are not yet fully vaccinated are required to continue wearing a mask indoors and maintain six feet of physical distance.
Thank you for everything you have done to ensure we return to a vibrant and healthy campus in the fall. We look forward to seeing you again in person soon.
Sean O. Stallings
Vice President for Student Affairs
Janice Vermeychuk, MSN, FNP-BC
Director, Student Health Services