I am pleased to announce the board of trustees has approved the College’s plan for resuming limited on-campus instruction for the fall semester. Classes with in-person components (those in health professions disciplines and the sciences) will resume Monday, Sept. 21 – all other classes will remain online/remote for the fall semester. As you will recall, earlier this summer, the board already approved a tuition rate freeze at last year’s levels and transitioned most classes to remote learning.
The reopening plan, created by a taskforce of faculty, staff and students divided into working groups on academic continuity, medical response, business continuity and communication, considered many variables, including community surveys, an assessment of course offerings, consultations with public health officials and best practices of peers before releasing the final version now available here.
Among the most important considerations of the plan, we will:
- Require face coverings, thermal temperature screenings and social distancing for all who enter main campus facilities;
- Practice enhanced cleaning and sanitizing of all campus common areas, while maintaining appropriate supplies of personal protection equipment, purchasing MERV-13 air filters for heating, ventilating and air conditioning equipment and limiting the flow of pedestrian traffic in hallways and entrance/exits;
- Position student services such as registration, admissions, bursar, financial aid and the Cerullo Learning Assistance Center to provide their complete complement of services online;
- Suspend the intercampus shuttle between Paramus and Bergen Community College at the Meadowlands, the athletics program and on-campus dining;
- Establish mandatory requirements for students, faculty and staff returning to campus – including by providing COVID-19 awareness training;
- Limit those on campus to students taking classes, faculty or staff conducting official College business or invited guests;
- Develop a mobile app-based two-step screening process for those entering a campus facility;
- Close access to the Sidney Silverman Library – though it will offer remote services and curbside pickup of materials – STEM Student Research Center and computer labs; and
- Appoint a “reopening coordinator,” Dr. Larry Hlavenka, to monitor real-time compliance of the College’s plan and respond to inquiries, comments and concerns.
I encourage all students, faculty and staff to review the College’s rebuilt COVID-19 resource page that contains information organized by frequently discussed topics such as requirements for returning to campus, who can visit campus this semester and what happens when you arrive on campus. This page will feature daily updates this week.
Though the fall 2020 semester will look unlike any of those from the past, the most important consideration remains your safety and the continuation of our operations. Regardless of COVID, or anything else, Bergen will serve its community and provide access to education. I thank you for your commitment to the institution, our students and each other.
Dr. Tony Ross
Based in Paramus, Bergen Community College (www.bergen.edu), a public two-year coeducational college, enrolls more than 13,000 students at locations in Paramus, the Philip Ciarco Jr. Learning Center in Hackensack and Bergen Community College at the Meadowlands in Lyndhurst. The College offers associate degree, certificate and continuing education programs in a variety of fields. More students graduate from Bergen than any other community college in the state.
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