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A Thanksgiving Message

Dear Colleagues:

As we prepare for the Thanksgiving break, let me take a moment to share my gratitude for all that you do to make Monmouth University such an exceptional community. I am grateful for your many contributions to the life of our university. Your strong commitment and service to Monmouth – even in these uncertain times – makes my job as President truly rewarding.

This has been a challenging year, but you have faced these untold challenges with both grit and grace. I appreciate the patience and flexibility that you have shown since the outset of the COVID-19 health crisis, and I am grateful for the steps that you have taken – big and small alike – to protect the safety and well-being of our community.

I offer my heartfelt thanks for all that you do to enrich our community, as well as my profound gratitude to all of your loved ones who support you throughout the year. As a small gesture of thanks, and to allow time to prepare for the holiday, I have provided for an early dismissal at 12:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 25 for all non-essential employees.

May your time together this Thanksgiving be joyful, restful, and safe. May you return to us replenished and ready for a successful end to the semester. Amy, the kids, and I wish you all the very best.

Pat
Dr. Patrick F. Leahy
President

Spring 2021 Update

Dear Monmouth University Community:

I write with details on Monmouth’s plans for the coming 2021 spring semester. As with all of our planning and decisions since the outset of the COVID-19 health crisis, our plans are guided by maintaining the safety of our community and are informed by collaborative discussions with public health officials and key stakeholder groups at the University. I believe that these plans are well-informed and reflect the best interests of our community.

Academic Affairs

Academic Schedule: The spring 2021 academic calendar has been updated and posted 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 when it normally does 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 be as accommodating to 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 answer any questions about schedule adjustments. 

Academic Support Services: All academic support services offered through the Center for Student Success – including advising, tutoring, career services, 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 early in the spring about continuing the Pass/Fail grading option for the spring 2021 semester.

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 travel must be approved by each employee’s 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 reslife@monmouth.edu.  Residential halls will continue to follow all previously prescribed community standards, including visitation limits and participation in surveillance COVID-19 testing.

COVID-19 Testing: All residential students, as well as all students enrolled in hybrid or in-person courses, are required to provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 test result within seven days of the start of the spring semester on Monday, Jan. 25. Students impacted by the COVID-19 testing requirement will receive further instruction as we approach the start of the new semester.

Travel Quarantine: Students traveling to Monmouth University from one of the impacted states on New Jersey’s travel advisory list must quarantine in-state for 14 days prior to their arrival on campus. Residential students will be accommodated with an early arrival date to satisfy this quarantine requirement. Students affected by the quarantine requirement will be contacted by the Office of Residential Life with specific instructions prior to the start of the semester.

Dining: Dining services will continue to be available to all students, compliant with State guidelines. We hope to make limited indoor dining available and will continue to offer takeout meals and space for socially distanced outdoor dining as the weather permits.

Tuition Payment

Billing: Invoices for the spring 2021 semester will be sent electronically to students and their designated authorized user contacts beginning Monday, Nov. 23.  Payment deadline for the spring 2021 semester is Wednesday, Dec. 16. Students should contact bursar@monmouth.edu with any questions related to their spring bills. 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.

Public Health

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. In the meantime, please feel free to reach out to SpringRestart@monmouth.edu with any questions regarding our plans for the spring semester. Our team is ready to assist you.

To reduce the risk of virus spread, 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.

Monmouth is a University grounded in resilience and determination, and I have great faith that our community will continue to demonstrate these strengths in the months ahead. I am grateful for your continued patience and understanding as we navigate these challenging times together and look forward to a successful spring semester with you.

Sincerely,

Dr. Patrick F. Leahy
President

A Veterans Day Message from President Leahy

Dear Members of the Monmouth University Community:

At the 11th hour, on the 11th day, in the 11th month of the year, we Americans pause and recognize our men and women in uniform – past and present – who have defended our freedom and constitutional rights. On this Veterans Day 2020 all of the members of the Monmouth University community join me in thanking them for their service to our country.

Today, especially, we thank all of the veterans who are part of Monmouth University, including the students, faculty, staff, and alumni whose public service continues to enhance the character of our community. In recent years our veterans have inspired new academic and outreach efforts including: our Military Bridge Program; a long collaboration with Frontline Paper; and the Coming Home Project, grounded in our School of Social Work. These are initiatives at Monmouth of which I am very proud.

I would also like to thank Michael Callahan, our director of Veteran Services and Student Support, for organizing today’s virtual Veterans Day ceremony at 11:30 a.m. I hope you will join me at that time to hear from Michael and two more of our veterans – Michael Eck ’18 and Joshua Hartman ’22 – each of whom have served our country and university community in exemplary ways.

Please join me in thanking our men and women in the armed forces whose heroism protects our great nation. May their selfless acts inspire our own.

Dr. Patrick F. Leahy
President

Election Day Message from President Leahy

Monmouth University President Patrick F. Leahy shares his thoughts on our responsibility to vote and his hopes for our country and our community in the days following the election.

Important University Update: Campus Operations Following Thanksgiving Break

Dear Monmouth University Community:

Thank you for your continuing cooperation and understanding as we have strived to make each decision related to our fall restart and ongoing campus operations with caution and consideration for the overall safety of our university community, and with as little disruption to the academic and student experience as possible. We deliberately waited until early November to make a final decision on our post-Thanksgiving plans to ensure that we had a clear understanding of the impact of COVID-19 on our campus community, as well as the most current recommendations from our state and local public health officials.

Thanks to the collective efforts of the university community, we have experienced a notable decrease in cases at Monmouth over the past month. However, we simultaneously recognize the rise in cases elsewhere in New Jersey and throughout the country. Consequently, following the Thanksgiving break, in-person and hybrid courses – with limited exceptions outlined below – will move to online delivery for the remainder of the fall semester, including the final exam period. This decision will result in reduced activity on campus, particularly as residential students will be given the option to stay home after the break, thereby helping to prevent future spread of the virus among our campus community.

The decision to shift to online delivery for most courses after Thanksgiving will have the following impact on academic services:

  • Academic Course Delivery. Courses currently offered online will continue to be offered remotely. Exceptions are in-person or hybrid courses that are not amenable to remote delivery, including in-person clinical and field-based experiences. Faculty and students who are impacted directly by these exceptions will soon receive further instruction from their dean or department chair. We acknowledge that there have been a series of modifications to academic delivery this fall, and we appreciate your flexibility in helping to preserve the health and safety of our community.
  • Flexible Grading Policy. Please recall that we have extended our flexible grading policy through the Fall 2020 semester, whereby students may opt to receive a letter or pass/fail grade for each course. When grading concludes, the registrar will provide additional information to students on grading and a link to the pass/fail e-form.

The decision to move most courses to online delivery after Thanksgiving will have the following limited impact on campus living and learning:

  • Residential Life. All residential halls will remain open to students who wish to return to campus after Thanksgiving. If you are an on-campus residential student and choose to stay home after Thanksgiving, you will need to inform us of your decision by Friday, Nov. 13. The Office of Residential Life will follow-up soon by email with detailed instructions for this process. If you choose to leave university housing, you will receive prorated refunds or credits on unused room contracts, meal plans, and parking fees. All refunds and credits will be prorated for the period beginning Monday, Nov. 30, 2020 through the end of the semester. 
  • Quarantine and COVID-19 Testing Requirements.
    • Individuals traveling to NJ/NY/CT/PA/DE: Pursuant to New Jersey’s 14-day quarantine travel advisory as of today, Nov. 2, if you will be visiting New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, or Delaware during Thanksgiving break, then you may return to campus without the requirement to quarantine. You will need to be tested for COVID-19 between Monday, Nov. 30, and Wednesday, Dec. 2. If you choose to be tested at a site other than the Ocean First Bank Center Lobby (Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.), then you must submit evidence of testing during this 72-hour period, along with test results, to health@monmouth.edu no later than Wednesday, Dec. 2. Individuals testing positive will be required to isolate, just as any individuals deemed at-risk through contact tracing efforts will be required to quarantine.
    • Individuals traveling to states and jurisdictions other than NJ/NY/CT/PA/DE: Pursuant to New Jersey’s 14-day quarantine travel advisory as of today, Nov. 2, if you will be visiting any of the states and jurisdictions on New Jersey’s travel advisory list, then we strongly encourage you to stay home after the break to avoid the required 14-day quarantine upon returning to campus. As an alternative, we can make accommodations for you to remain on campus over Thanksgiving break.
  • Social Interactions. Social interactions will continue to be limited to five or fewer people. If these interactions take place indoors, masks must be worn and six feet or more of social distance must be maintained. Residential hall visitation restrictions will remain in effect.
  • Health Center. The Health Center will remain open during this time. The additional testing site in the Ocean First Bank Center Lobby will also be open and providing free COVID-19 testing Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. If you feel ill and/or are presenting any COVID-19 symptoms, please make immediate arrangements to be tested.
  • Library. The Guggenheim Memorial Library will be open with modified hours, and with reduced capacity to allow for social distancing. Computer use and study space will be available for students and the campus community following health and safety guidelines. Contactless book request and pickup service will continue.
  • Pool and Fitness Center. The pool and fitness center will remain open, subject to mandatory health and safety protocols and previously prescribed restrictions on capacity.
  • Dining. Limited indoor dining will continue, at 25% capacity, compliant with State guidelines. Masks are required at all times, except when eating, and social distancing must be maintained. Takeout and socially distanced outdoor seating will remain available on a modified basis. Hours of operation for dining services may also be modified based on demand.
  • Computer Labs. Computer labs will remain open with modified hours. Users must maintain six feet or more of social distance and observe other health and safety protocols.
  • Athletics. University athletic team activities will continue – including limited winter sports competition, formal practices, and individual and small group training – provided all activities are supervised by athletics staff.

All previously stated health and safety protocols will remain in effect during this period, including the mandatory use of face coverings and the required practice of social distancing. Upon extensive consultation with our public health officials and lengthy discussion with our key constituencies, we are confident that the decision to move academic programming primarily online, while continuing to offer on-campus residential and student services, will be the best move forward for our university community this fall.

I will be in touch again soon with a message detailing plans for the spring semester. In the meantime, you may continue to access the most current and comprehensive campus information, including daily dashboard data, by visiting our COVID-19 website. If you have any questions on plans for the remainder of the fall semester, please direct them to FallRestart@monmouth.edu.

Thank you for your continued flexibility as we navigate these challenging times together.

Sincerely,

Dr. Patrick F. Leahy
President

Resuming In-Person and Hybrid Instruction Effective October 21

Dear Monmouth University Community:

As we near the end of our temporary two-week shift to remote instruction, I am encouraged by the significant decline in active COVID-19 cases on campus. Since reaching a peak of 193 active cases on Oct. 6, we have effectively halved the number to 96 active cases, resulting in a corresponding reduction in the number of students in isolation, and decreasing the number of students in quarantine from 274 on Oct. 5 to 82 today.

The two-week move to remote instruction was necessitated by the dramatic increase in case activity that our campus community experienced earlier this month. This pause was designed to settle the campus, and to provide us with an opportunity to weigh all possible scenarios in making a final determination on next steps for the fall semester. To that end, we have spent the week engaged in long and thoughtful discussions with New Jersey and Monmouth County public health officials, as well as key constituencies at the University, including student, faculty, staff, and Board leadership. Based on the recommendation of the Crisis Management Team, I have decided to resume course offerings to their original format at the start of the fall semester, thereby restarting in-person and hybrid instruction at this time. As you know, all academic programming will resume on Wednesday, Oct. 21.

While I fully recognize that not everyone will agree with this decision, we have determined that this is a reasonable and safe course of action, particularly because extensive contact tracing efforts have not shown evidence of intergenerational transmission among our University community. Additionally, because the majority (nearly 80%) of academic instruction is being delivered remotely this fall, a return to in-person and hybrid instruction represents a minimal change in physical density on our campuses.

Our return to in-person instruction does not mean that we may be any less vigilant or relax our enhanced safety protocols. Rather, the return to in-person and hybrid instruction places increased scrutiny on our behaviors outside the classroom. We know that the overwhelming majority of positive COVID-19 cases within our community can be traced to social gatherings where masks are not being worn and social distancing is not being maintained. As the University learns about these types of situations which put others at risk, appropriate intervention will follow. I cannot emphasize enough the critical importance of continued compliance with Monmouth University COVID-19 protocols and State of New Jersey health and safety measures to effectively protect the Monmouth University and surrounding communities.

In anticipation of your cooperation, I have modified some of the temporary changes to campus operations below. All of these protocols remain in full compliance with our original fall reopening plans and the State’s safety guidelines. These changes will go into effect Wednesday, Oct. 21.

  • Social Interactions. Social interactions – on and off campus – are still limited to 5 or fewer people. We will revisit this number in the weeks to come. If these interactions take place indoors, wearing masks and social distancing must be maintained. Visitation restrictions regarding residence halls remain in effect. We expect full compliance from our students living both in University housing on campus, and in off-campus housing.
  • Dining. Limited indoor dining will resume, at 25% capacity, compliant with State guidelines. Masks are required at all times, except when eating, and social distancing must be maintained. Takeout and socially distanced outdoor seating will continue to be available.
  • Pool and Fitness Center. The pool and fitness center will reopen, subject to mandatory health and safety protocols and previously prescribed restrictions on capacity.
  • Student Activities. Clubs, organizations, and intramural/recreational activities will continue to be conducted virtually. We will revisit the restriction on these in-person activities in the coming weeks.
  • Athletics Activities. University athletic team activities may resume – including formal practices, and individual and small group training – provided all activities are supervised by athletics staff.
  • Visitors. The University campus will reopen to registered visitors only, including prospective students and families.

Over the past two weeks, we have enhanced both our testing and contact tracing efforts. With support from the State of New Jersey Department of Health, the Monmouth County Regional Health Commission, and the Monmouth County Health Department, we have increased our testing capacity and can now provide free testing to students and employees. Members of the Monmouth University community can be tested Monday through Friday between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., with no appointment needed at the tented outdoor test center adjacent to the Health Center. All tests are being sent to the state lab, which reports a 24-48 hour test turnaround time. Priority testing will be available for those students and staff who will be returning to campus for in-person classes and work next week. And, for the continued health and safety of the campus community, we will resume random surveillance testing in our residence halls and university apartments on a required basis.

With Fall Break around the corner, residential students are strongly encouraged to remain on campus, and we urge all students – residential and non-residential – to limit their trips to essential travel only and to adhere to New Jersey state travel and quarantine guidelines. Please use this important time to rest, relax, and restore your energy for the remainder of the semester. Additional activities and programming have been scheduled so check the Experience Monmouth app for exciting, virtual events in which to participate. As promised, I will provide a firm decision on plans for Thanksgiving break and the portion of the semester that follows by Nov. 1. 

As we prepare to resume in-person and hybrid instruction on Oct. 21., please remember that social distancing – of at least 6 feet – is required in all campus spaces, and masks must be worn at all times, both indoors and outdoors, except when eating or when in your private residence hall room or private office. I am confident that we can continue to enjoy a safe and healthy fall semester on campus if we remember to continually back up, mask up, and wash up!

You may access the most current and comprehensive campus information, including daily dashboard data, by visiting our COVID-19 website. As always, questions may be directed to FallRestart@monmouth.edu.  While our current case activity is trending in the right direction, we are at a crucial juncture and need 100% cooperation from each of you in order to complete our fall semester safely and productively. If cases begin to surge again, we will have little choice but to switch back to 100% remote instruction and send all residential students home for the remainder of the semester. How we finish the semester is up to all of us!

Thank you in advance for your efforts. I will be in touch again soon with additional updates.

Sincerely,

Dr. Patrick F. Leahy
President

Update on Fiscal Realities

Dear Colleagues:

For the past several months, I have shared my concerns about several national crises that are converging at once upon the Monmouth University community – namely, the shifting student demographic crisis, the COVID-19 public health crisis, and the racial justice crisis. All along, it has been our top priority to ensure the health, safety, and general welfare of all the constituents entrusted to our care. While the cumulative effect of the demographic concern and the global pandemic on the University’s short- and long-term financial health is not yet fully known, we must turn our collective attention to the fiscal realities that these evolving crises are creating for higher education in general and Monmouth University in specific.

Fiscal Year 2020
From the outset of the pandemic, we promised to do our very best to get through Fiscal Year 2020 as safely as possible, and with as little disruption to employees’ livelihoods as possible. We instituted a limited furlough program with the goal of preserving salary and wages – as well as medical benefits, retirement contributions, and vacation day accruals – for those employees identified for the furlough. And, thanks to the Federal CARES Act stimulus package, additional payments were made available to all furloughed employees. This kept almost all employees whole on their incomes, while simultaneously saving money for the University. At the conclusion of the furlough periods, we brought all employees back to work. For all other employees, we committed to paying full wages and benefits, even for those employees whose work was nearly impossible to accomplish in a remote environment. To show our gratitude for our employees’ continued dedication to Monmouth, we provided five additional paid days off in May, June, and July. And, effective July 1, 2020, we offered a 2.75% salary increase to all full-time employees, with the exception of Cabinet members, who declined their individual increases this year. I am very proud of the institutional support that we have shown our valued employees.

Fiscal Year 2021
As the pandemic unfolded, we expressed real concerns about the likely adverse impact on summer and fall enrollments at Monmouth. Now that our fall enrollment numbers have been finalized, we have a better understanding of the negative impact to our operational budget. While we have successfully recruited the best class ever to Monmouth this fall – both in terms of academic preparedness and with regard to racial and ethnic diversity – our numbers are behind our budgeted targets in each of our enrollment categories: first-year, returning, transfer, and graduate students. In addition, we are experiencing steep revenue shortfalls in housing contracts, meal plans, ticket sales, and fundraising.  Assuming we are able to continue operating with our modified reopening for the entire academic year, we confront a $15 million budget deficit. If any of our operating assumptions change (e.g., we have to pivot to remote instruction for an extended period of time and send all residential students home), then our deficit will worsen. This deficit is a stark reality of the current situation that we must now face.  

As we make final adjustments to the Fiscal Year 2021 budget in preparation for the Board of Trustees meeting later this month, I wish to share with you the following important updates aimed at addressing the current fiscal imbalance.

  • Freeze All Hiring. All open and new positions – academic and non-academic alike – are frozen for the remainder of the fiscal year. We will only complete searches that are currently underway, including the recently launched search for the Senior Vice President/Provost. Any other essential replacement positions that arise in the near term must be approved directly by me, after consultation with my direct reports. This freeze could yield $3 million in savings.
  • Control Non-Essential Operating Expenses. After careful consideration, area vice presidents have identified nearly $5 million in non-salary expense reductions. Moving forward, all individual expenditures and purchases over the course of this academic year must be made carefully and judiciously. Please expect to hear more from your area vice president regarding specific plans on spending guidelines for your respective divisions.  
  • Eliminate Capital Funding Allocation in the Operating Budget. Eliminating the placeholder for capital projects will save the University operating budget approximately $3 million in funds. Any capital projects that emerge throughout the course of this academic year will either be funded through fundraising or capital reserves, or will simply not be funded this year. 
  • Reducing the Budget Contingency. Shrinking the budget contingency will cover nearly $2 million. This is a significant adjustment to make so early in the fiscal year by reducing our ability to respond to emergency expenses within the budget, but it is necessary to help shrink the gap.
  • Offer Voluntary Separation Program. In an effort to reduce payroll expenses, we are developing a voluntary separation program that will be made available to most of the University’s full-time staff members. The program will feature severance payments correlated to length of service and will include ongoing employer medical insurance contributions during the severance period, vacation payouts, and limited tuition remission continuation. A separate message will be forthcoming that explains this added benefit in more detail, including general informational sessions and one-on-one discussions with our HR colleagues.

If we do all of this – and if our current operating plan does not change in any material way – then we can successfully manage this challenging fiscal year without significant additional austerity measures. The pandemic, however, remains a fluid situation and may require additional budgetary offsets at some future point. Additional measures could conceivably include furloughs, salary concessions, temporary reductions in retirement contributions, and layoffs. Please join me for my next open call – scheduled for this Friday, October 16 at noon – to discuss these plans further. If you have concerns in the interim, please feel free to reach out to me directly at patrick.leahy@monmouth.edu.

These are challenging times for our University community. We can navigate them successfully, if – and only if – we stick together. Thank you.

Pat

Dr. Patrick F. Leahy
President 

COVID-19 Update: Your Cooperation is Essential

Dear Monmouth University Community:

As we prepare to enter the second half of the two-week remote instruction period, I am writing to you with important updates. All along, I have directed you to the COVID-19 campus dashboard for the latest reporting on cases in our campus community, as well as the number of individuals in isolation or quarantine on and off campus. We have recently updated the dashboard to reflect the total number of active cases as well as the total number of recovered cases.

The distinction between active and recovered cases is an important one. Active cases reflect individuals who have tested positive for the virus, and are required to isolate for a 10-day period. Recovered cases represent individuals who have completed and been released from the mandatory 10-day isolation period, freeing up capacity on campus to manage future cases. While we are still seeing new cases, almost exclusively among our undergraduate students, the dashboard suggests that the positivity rate is slowing. Since August 24, 2020, we have reported 291 cumulative cases. Of these, 166 are active cases, and another 125 are recently recovered cases. In addition, there are 206 students who – through contact tracing – have been deemed at high-risk for the virus, and are required to quarantine, as a precaution, for a 14-day period. Fortunately, symptoms have been mild, but we continue to closely monitor our students in isolation and quarantine.

Since we first reported a notable increase in COVID-19 cases on campus, we have learned – through extensive contact tracing efforts – additional details about the likely origin. It appears that this increase in cases among students was tied to an off-campus event hosted two weeks ago. An overwhelming majority of the recent cases we have seen can be traced back to this isolated super-spreader event. Moving forward, we will need 100% cooperation from our campus community in order to resume our fall semester as planned. I cannot emphasize enough the critical importance of compliance with Monmouth University COVID-19 protocols  and State of New Jersey health and safety measures to effectively protect the Monmouth community. The future of our fall semester will rest, in large part, on the ability of everyone to follow these necessary protocols.

Beyond the recent changes to our operations and health and safety protocols, we will be increasing our testing efforts on campus. With support from the State of New Jersey Department of Health, the Monmouth County Regional Health Commission and the Monmouth County Health Department, we are increasing our testing capacity and are now able to provide free testing to students and employees.  Members of the Monmouth University community can be tested Monday through Friday between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., with no appointment needed. All specimens are being sent to the state lab, which reports a 24-48 hour test turnaround time. We have also increased staff support to communicate test results in an expeditious manner, as well as to enhance our contact tracing efforts within the community.

We intend to make a decision next week, before the end of the two-week remote instruction period, about plans for the second half of the fall semester. Expect to hear from me in the coming days with more information, but, as always, feel free to email FallRestart@monmouth.edu with any questions. Thank you for your continued patience and cooperation as we work through this challenging period together. 

Sincerely,

Dr. Patrick F. Leahy
President

Important COVID-19 Update to Operations

Dear Monmouth University Community:

Throughout this week, I have written to you with updates on the impact of COVID-19 on our University community and directed you to the COVID-19 campus dashboard for the latest reporting on total confirmed cases in our campus community as well as the number of students in isolation or quarantine. On Tuesday, I also outlined a series of changes to our operations and health protocols in response to the increase in confirmed cases over the past week.

We continue to consult with local public health officials about the increase in confirmed cases and consequently have resolved to take additional action.

Effective Monday, October 5, through Friday, October 16, all courses other than labs and clinical experiences will move to remote delivery in a further effort to reduce the risk of virus spread. Residence halls will remain open during this time. Following this two-week period of remote delivery, we will have our Fall Break, scheduled for Saturday, October 17 through Tuesday, October 20. During the break, residential students are strongly encouraged to remain on campus, and we urge all students – residential and non-residential – to limit their trips to essential travel only and to adhere to New Jersey state travel and quarantine guidelines.

In addition to moving courses online for this two-week period, we will continue to enforce the most recent changes to our campus operations and protocols to maximize safety and mitigate virus spread. I am extending the following measures through Tuesday, October 20 – the end of our Fall Break. 

Operations

  • Gatherings of any kind with greater than 5 people will be prohibited.
  • Dining services will be limited to takeout and socially distanced outdoor seating only. There will be no indoor seating.
  • Clubs, organizations, and intramural/recreational activities will be conducted virtually.
  • The pool and fitness center will temporarily close.
  • University athletic team activities will be restricted to supervised individual and small group training of 5 or fewer people only. No formal, University-sponsored athletic practices or competition will be permitted during this period. 
  • The University campus will temporarily close to all visitors, including prospective students and their families.

Protocols

  • Properly worn masks will be required at all times on the campus – indoors and outdoors – except when eating and when alone in your private residence hall room or alone in your private office.
  • Social distancing of at least 6 feet will be required at all times.
  • The University will increase testing, as appropriate.

During this period, computer labs and the Guggenheim Library will remain open and available to students, subject to existing capacity limitations and social distancing guidelines. Since University offices will remain open to serve students, there will be no immediate change to current staffing levels on campus, which are already greatly reduced. As always, if you have questions regarding work schedules, please be in direct contact with your supervisor or area vice president. 

It is my sincere hope that these actions will help to slow the spread of infection and allow us to resume our fall semester as planned. I will continue to keep you informed by sharing updates as they become available. Please remember to visit our COVID-19 website for the most current and comprehensive campus information. And, if you have questions, please feel free to direct them to FallRestart@monmouth.edu. Staff members are standing by to answer your questions as quickly as possible.

Thank you in advance for your continued cooperation and flexibility during this challenging time.

Sincerely,

Dr. Patrick F. Leahy
President 

Latest COVID-19 Update

Dear Monmouth University Community:

I promised in my communications earlier this week that I would stay in close touch regarding the status of COVID-19 within the University community. We continue to update on a daily basis our publicly available dashboard, which tracks confirmed test results in our campus community and reports the number of students in isolation or quarantine. 

Based on the most recent test results, including self-reported and university-conducted testing, today we are reporting a total number of cumulative cases of 119, a continued increase over the previous day(s). One hundred and sixteen of these cases are active cases, requiring students to be isolated for a period of time. We still have seen no evidence of transmission of the virus from students to faculty or staff members.

In addition to the measures announced earlier this week, I anticipate implementing additional health and safety measures tomorrow, following conversations with the public health officials from the Monmouth Regional Health Commission, as well as with faculty, staff, and student leadership here at the University.

I strongly urge all members of the campus community to reaffirm their personal commitment to health and safety practices in order to keep Monmouth Strong. Please be on the lookout for further guidance tomorrow. 

Sincerely,

Dr. Patrick F. Leahy
President