Dear Monmouth University Community:
Despite the dismaying events of last week, I hope that the new year has brought you renewed energy and good health. As we prepare to welcome a new semester on January 25, I write to share reminders and updates on our plans for the spring.
Academic Schedule: The spring 2021 academic calendar is available online. In an effort to mitigate the risk of virus spread at the height of cold and flu season, we have delayed the semester start to Monday, Jan. 25. This postponement, coupled with the public health objective of preventing non-essential travel, has required us to eliminate the traditional spring break. In lieu of a weeklong spring break, the spring academic schedule incorporates “break days” in March and April. This adjusted schedule allows us to maintain our typical 14-week semester, which will end at its regularly scheduled time in early May.
Course Delivery: Course delivery methods for the spring will closely resemble those offered in the fall, with a mix of in-person, hybrid, and online delivery, designed to accommodate as many individual student preferences as possible. Students can access individual class schedules by logging into their Personal Academic Information section in WebAdvisor for details on course modalities for specific scheduled classes. Students should contact their faculty advisor or department chair directly with any questions or concerns. While we may not be able to completely satisfy the preferred schedule of every student, our faculty advisors and department chairs stand ready to address any questions or concerns.
Academic Support Services: All academic support services offered through the Center for Student Success – including advising, tutoring, career development and disability services – will remain available throughout the semester in a combination of in-person and virtual sessions.
Flexible Grading Policy: The Faculty Council will make a decision in a few weeks about continuing the Pass/Fail grading option for the spring 2021 semester, which will be communicated as soon as it is available.
Global Education: The spring 2021 semester Study Abroad programming, Global Seminars, and Global Experience programs remain suspended. Given the uncertainties of COVID-19, we strongly suggest that employees and students avoid travel during the spring 2021 semester. Exceptions to the suspension of Monmouth-sponsored employee travel must be approved by each area vice president.
Campus Living and Learning
Residential Life: We will continue to offer on-campus housing and meal plans for all interested students. Students who deferred or cancelled fall 2020 housing contracts and have reconsidered their decision may reinstate room assignments for the spring by emailing email@example.com. Residence halls will continue to follow all previously prescribed community standards, including visitation limits and participation in COVID-19 surveillance testing.
COVID-19 Testing: All residential students, as well as students enrolled in hybrid or in-person courses, are encouraged to obtain a COVID-19 test within seven days preceding the start of the spring semester on Monday, Jan. 25. If a student is positive for COVID-19, they should not return to campus until they have completed the required 10-day isolation period. Any student in this situation must also contact the Department of Health Services at firstname.lastname@example.org to inform the University of their health status.
If a residential student or student enrolled in hybrid or in-person courses is unable to obtain a test in the seven days prior to their return to campus, they are required to be tested on campus within the first 72 hours (three days) of their return. We will be initiating a new pooled testing program for all residential students and will continue to provide routine testing of student athletes throughout the spring semester. Students residing off campus are also encouraged to participate in the pooled surveillance testing program.
Flu Shot: In addition to COVID-19 testing, all residential students and all student-athletes are required to upload documentation that they have received a flu shot, or that they qualify for a flu shot exemption, to the Student Health Portal before returning to campus.
Travel Quarantine: Students traveling to Monmouth University from one of the impacted states on New Jersey’s travel advisory list or from outside the U.S. must quarantine in-state for 14 days prior to their arrival on campus. Residential students affected by these guidelines have been accommodated with an early arrival date to satisfy this quarantine requirement.
Students who reside internationally should be aware that effective January 26, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will require all air passengers entering the United States (including U.S. citizens and Legal Permanent Residents) to present a negative COVID-19 test, taken within three calendar days of departure, or proof of recovery from the virus within the last 90 days.
Dining: Dining services will continue to be available to all students, compliant with state guidelines. Limited indoor dining will be available in various locations, and we will continue to offer takeout meals and space for socially distanced outdoor dining as the weather permits. New menu items and food stations have been added to Magill Commons, including cooked-to-order omelets, rotisserie chicken, nightly pasta dishes, and a dessert and ice cream station. The mobile ordering app introduced in the fall will be available this spring for individuals to place to-go meal orders.
Student Activities: Our full range of clubs, organizations, and intramural/recreational activities will continue to operate on a virtual basis. When safely possible, we will consider limited in-person activity, in accordance with public health guidelines on social distancing and proper use of face masks. As the weather improves, we will make every effort to accommodate outdoor programming to safely allow for increased in-person student activities. The recruitment process for students looking to affiliate with a fraternity or sorority will also be held virtually.
Athletics Activities: University Athletics will resume practice and competition this spring for most sports, including fall sports teams whose practice and competition schedules were disrupted due to COVID-19. Coaches and student-athletes are required to follow guidelines set forth by the State of New Jersey, the NCAA, and the specific conferences in which they play. All formal practices and individual and small group training must be supervised by athletics staff.
Tuition and Fees
As a reminder, tuition and fees are fully refundable through Monday, Feb. 1, one week after the start of classes, and we will continue to offer pro-rated credit adjustments for housing and meal contracts through the spring semester. Students should contact email@example.com with any questions related to their spring bills.
As always, these plans are predicated on current and prevailing public health guidance. If public health restrictions change, which subsequently affect plans for the spring semester, updated information will be communicated as quickly as possible.
To reduce the risk of virus spread, particularly during the height of cold and flu season, we will continue to require the proper use of face masks and social distancing of at least six feet. We also encourage all students and employees coming to campus to utilize the CampusClear symptom tracking app and COVID Alert NJ contact tracing app. As always, we urge anyone exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms to get promptly tested. The most current and comprehensive campus information, including daily dashboard data, is updated and available on our COVID-19 website.
The past several months have presented countless challenges, but I have been routinely encouraged by the goodwill and resolve of our University community in responding to them. If we continue to demonstrate the compassion and determination that has typified our community since its earliest days, I am confident that we will grow smarter and stronger – and even more exceptional – together. I appreciate your ongoing patience and understanding as we navigate these challenging times together, and look forward to a successful spring semester with you. Please feel free to reach out to SpringRestart@monmouth.edu with any questions regarding our plans for the spring. Our team is ready to assist you.
Dr. Patrick F. Leahy