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COVID-19 Update, Campus Dashboard

To the Monmouth University Community:

I am writing to share some important information as we enter the second week of the Fall 2020 semester. As you know, for the past several months we have worked diligently to develop plans and protocols to address COVID-19 and our return to the campus. One of the commitments we have made throughout this process is to be as transparent as possible in sharing information with you regarding the presence of COVID-19 on campus. To that end, we have created a COVID-19 Campus Dashboard which can be found at www.monmouth.edu/dashboard on our Monmouth University website.

This dashboard reflects our commitment to transparency related to the health and safety of our campus community. The dashboard, which will be updated daily by 4:00 p.m., tracks cumulative confirmed COVID-19 cases on campus among residential students, non-residential students, and employees who are working on campus, even if on a flexible schedule, as well the number of university-sponsored beds occupied by students currently in quarantine or isolation.  In addition, the dashboard also reflects the number of students living off campus in the local community who may have in person or hybrid courses here on campus who are in quarantine or isolation at their homes in the community.

I hope that our students, their families, and our employees will find this dashboard to be a useful source of information as we work to keep our campus and surrounding communities as safe as possible during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Secondly, I want to remind you that if you become aware of an employee/student who tests positive for COVID-19 you should notify Health Services by contacting Kathy Maloney at kmaloney@monmouth.edu or health@monmouth.edu. Upon such notification, the Health Services will keep the academic area informed should students or professors will be missing classes due to the illness by informing Danielle Schrama from the Center for Student Success.

Just as we did in the spring, this is an important part of our overall campus health and safety plan. Our health professional will provide medical guidance, track progress, conduct contact tracing as required and provide medical clearance when needed.

Finally, I thought it might be helpful to share some important information with you about the process to be followed if there is a positive case of COVID-19 on campus. Please see below from the COVID-19 Fall Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s).

What is the procedure if positive cases are discovered?

Students: Students who receive a positive diagnosis of COVID-19 will be isolated from the general student population. Students who live within 100 miles of campus and are able to go home will be encouraged to do so. For COVID-positive students who are unable to go home, they will be moved into campus isolation housing. The COVID-19 Response Team, which consists of members of Health Services, Residential Life, Student Life, Dining Services, MUPD, and Center for Student Success will be tracking positives. They have developed an Excel spreadsheet to track essential information, date of positive test, symptoms, location of isolation, monitoring and date of release from isolation, etc. They will ensure the health, safety, and academic needs of the student are met. The team member who represents the Center for Student Success, Danielle Schrama, will be responsible for serving as academic liaison between the student in isolation and the student’s professors to ensure that studies continue in a remote fashion while providing any additional academic support services that are needed.

Faculty: Faculty teaching onsite courses who must quarantine and/or isolate will be encouraged to work with their department Chairs and Deans to provide temporary onsite departmental coverage for their courses where possible, as they normally would when faculty experience limited absences from the classroom due to illness or approved travel. Faculty may also be encouraged to move their onsite class meetings online for the duration of their quarantine or isolation period. 

Staff: All employees are asked to stay home when they are ill, or when experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19.  Employees will be expected to self-screen for COVID-19 symptoms including temperature taking each day prior to coming to work. If you are experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19, stay home, contact your health care provider, and report your absence to your Supervisor. Please report a COVID-19 diagnosis to the University Health Center.

Also, if you have been in close contact with a person in the last 14 days who is confirmed to have COVID-19, please stay at home and contact your private medical provider and the University Health Center. 

Additional information: Contact tracers will notify professors and classmates with instructions as appropriate to the situation. Students who are quarantined due to pending test results are responsible for notifying their professors, as this is a short-term quarantine situation. If the test comes back positive, then the COVID Response Team is activated and contact tracers will notify professors and students as needed. For example, if physical distancing was not maintained and involved a COVID-positive student, then the class + professor will be directed to quarantine and get tested. If a student is positive but physical distancing was maintained, the class + professor will be instructed to self-monitor for symptoms.

What will faculty or students need to do if a student or faculty tests positive for COVID-19 in an in-person class?

In a classroom situation such as the pairing of lab partners, if physical distancing was not maintained and there was a student who tested positive for COVID-19 then the affected class member(s) and/or professor within the radius of exposure will be directed to quarantine and get tested. If a student is positive but physical distancing was maintained in the classroom at all times, the classmates and the professor will be instructed to self-monitor for symptoms. Physical distance is maintained if all parties are beyond (>) 6 feet from the COVID-positive person. For example, if someone is in the same class but is in the opposite corner of the room and there is 12 ft. between them and the positive case, they do not have to quarantine but must self-monitor for 14 days.

The University, working with the state and local health experts, strongly recommends, that faculty assign seating to minimize potential exposure to COVID positive individuals and assist in contact tracing should the need arise. Faculty may keep a record of the seating arrangement to assist contact tracers determine persons at highest risk and to expedite the communication and quarantine process. Health and safety of our community members is our number one priority. We all have a community responsibility to maintain public health principles of masking and social distancing. Although not required, this recommendation is a tool geared toward ensuring the health and safety of our students and faculty and supports state health guidelines. The COVID-19 Response Team is available for your assistance. For questions, faculty and students may contact Danielle Schrama: dschrama@monmouth.edu. Please contact Associate Vice President Christine Benol at cbenol@monmouth.edu if you wish to receive room assignment configuration information.

Since our fall reopening, we are pleased to see so many of our students and employees respecting and following the health and safety protocols. Practicing social distancing, hand-washing, wearing masks, and following the health and safety protocols will help us mitigate the virus and enable us to continue to offer in-person instruction and campus experience for everyone. Stay safe and well; keep others safe and well.

Dr. Patrick F. Leahy

President