Will remote work continue into the Fall?
All 12-month and part-time employees should by now be working at least partially on campus each week. Beginning August 30, 2021, employees will be required to report to campus for their regular workweek. Separately, teaching faculty schedules for the semester have been communicated by the Division of Academic Affairs.
Remote Work Agreements for non-union staff will follow procedures corresponding to Board Policy 4.18; a specific communication and resources regarding these procedures will be sent soon. Remote work options for employees covered by a bargaining unit are determined by the respective collective bargaining agreement.
Are face masks required on campus?
All employees, students, and visitors must continue to wear masks indoors in public and shared spaces, regardless of vaccination status. Face coverings are not required indoors when seated in a private office occupied by one person. Individuals with disabilities who, because of their disability, cannot wear a mask, or cannot safely wear a mask, may be exempted from the College’s mask-wearing requirement and should contact Health & Safety to request a face shield.
The wearing of masks outdoors is not required. However, unvaccinated individuals are encouraged to wear a mask outdoors while in a group setting.
All buildings have signage at the doors that identifies the requirement for face coverings.
The College will provide face coverings upon request. Please contact your Department Office or you can click on the “Request PPE” icon on InfoNet. Face masks will also be available for students and visitors in high-traffic areas, such as West Hall.
The College will review the mask-wearing guidance regularly.
What will social distancing look like?
The requirement for social distancing in higher education was ended by Governor Murphy’s Executive Order 242 (effective May 28, 2021). The College reviews Governor Murphy’s Executive Orders and guidance from the NJ Department of Health, the NJ Office of the Secretary of Higher Education, the Middlesex County Office of Health Services, and the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and operates in compliance with all mandatory requirements from those agencies. The College is not requiring social distancing at this time.
Unvaccinated individuals are encouraged, where feasible, to continue maintaining a safe distance from others.
Can we have in-person meetings?
In-person meetings should be avoided if the same outcomes can be achieved via a remote meeting. There will, however, be times at which in-person meetings will be more effective due to the nature and goals of the meeting. In-person meetings should be held to a minimum. All in-person meeting participants must wear face coverings and be seated with minimum six-foot separation if participants will need to remove their masks for eating or drinking. While on campus, employees are encouraged to communicate with colleagues and students as needed by email, telephone, or via computer (Zoom, Teams). If weather permits, outdoor meetings may be an option for essential in-person meetings.
Must I complete a COVID-19 screening before I visit campus?
At this time, the daily online symptom questionnaires have been discontinued for students, faculty, and staff which follows recent Executive Orders. Employees who experience symptoms consistent with COVID-19 must stay home and contact their supervisor for guidance.
Will the College offer COVID-19 vaccinations on campus?
Yes, in partnership with Middlesex County, the College hosted vaccination clinics on campus in July and August and may offer periodic vaccination events on campus as demand dictates.
What should I do if I test positive for, or have symptoms of, COVID-19?
If you are sick with COVID-19 or think you might have COVID-19, follow the CDC guidelines: stay home except to get medical care, separate yourself from other people, monitor your symptoms and consult your physician. Contact your supervisor to discuss temporary remote work options. The College will provide information on when it is safe for you to return to campus.
What should I do if I come into close contact with someone who has recently tested positive for COVID-19?
Close contact is defined as being within 6 feet of someone with known or suspected to be infected with COVID-19 for 15 or more minutes during a 24-hour period. If you come into close contact and are fully vaccinated, you are not required to quarantine if you are asymptomatic. If you are not fully vaccinated, stay home and contact your supervisor for guidance.
What cleaning processes are in place?
The College has taken great care to ensure a safe environment for employees and students. The College has established enhanced cleaning, sanitization and disinfecting campus wide using EPA-approved materials. Hand sanitizers are located throughout the campus. Staff clean and sanitize restrooms, common areas, high-touch areas, equipment and shared surfaces multiple times daily. Classrooms will be deep every evening.
Hand sanitizer dispensers are at the entrances of all buildings and near elevators. Disinfectant wipes are available in various places across campus and in labs (computer labs, health technologies labs, science labs, etc.) for students to wipe down computers and other equipment before and after use.
What Facilities (HVAC) upgrades have been made?
Management of Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems is an important component of the College’s overall COVID-19 risk mitigation strategy. Our experienced HVAC engineers and maintenance staff manage and monitor all our infrastructure and continue to manage, monitor, and adjust equipment as necessary to ensure proper and healthy operation. Applicable CDC and public health guidance has guided actions taken to address all HVAC operations. All HVAC systems have undergone maintenance to ensure that ventilation systems operate properly and provide appropriate indoor air quality for occupancy level in each space.
The following HVAC measures have been initiated in accordance with regulatory agency recommendations:
- Outdoor air levels have been maximized by opening intake dampers to increase the amount of fresh air entering the building from outside. Typically, 5% of outdoor air is introduced into a space; following COVID-19 guidance, the outdoor air levels have been increased to upwards of 10% to 20% depending on the capabilities of the building’s HVAC system.
- The cleaning frequency of Air Handling Units (AHU) and coils has increased from annually to semi-annually using newly purchased coiling cleaning equipment that is more effective.
- Filter inspections frequency has increased. Filters are now being inspected quarterly instead of biannually and changed as necessary.
- Filters have been upgraded to a minimum of MERV-13 per the system design airflow. An air filter’s minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV) rating, as defined by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), measures how effectively the filter stops dust and other contaminants from passing through the filter and into the air stream. MERV ratings range from 1-16. The higher the MERV rating on a filter, the fewer dust particles and other contaminants can pass through it and, conversely, the less air flows through the filter. Commercial systems can adequately remove airborne contaminants with a filter rated MERV 7-12. A rating of MERV 13-16 is typically found in hospital and general surgery settings. The CDC has recommended a MERV 13 for COVID-19 so as to not significantly reducing design air flow.
- The volume of air into occupied spaces has been increased. Volume is the amount of new air introduced into the space to replace the air in the space that is exhausted. Typically, the volume amount is variable based on the number of people in the room and is measured by the carbon dioxide level. Variable volume systems have been bypassed so that the maximum amount of air is being introduced into the buildings regardless of the occupancy level.
- Exhaust fans are operating at full capacity. As with the air volume levels, the variable volume exhaust fans have been bypassed so that the maximum amount of air is being exhausted.
- Portable High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) fan/filtration units were placed in higher risk healthcare and food areas such as the Dental Clinic and HCD Foods Lab where students and faculty cannot always maintain any distancing due to the nature of the activities.
- HVAC systems are operated for an additional two hours before and after the building is occupied to ventilate the spaces.
Will the College permit travel (conferences, etc.) this semester?
The College continues the restriction on College-sponsored travel, with limited approved exceptions (relating to distance, availability of online options, and other factors).
How do I request a workplace accommodation for reasons relating to COVID-19?
Employees may request a workplace accommodation due to their own health condition or disability. To make a request, please e-mail Angela Jupin, Director of Labor Relations (firstname.lastname@example.org), with your request for accommodation including the period of time the accommodation would be in place and any supporting documentation to substantiate the request. Labor Relations will acknowledge receipt and establish a timeline for a decision on the accommodation request.
What PPE is available for employees on campus?
Washable cloth face masks are available for employees. The College also has a supply of plastic face shields and masks with plastic windows that show one’s mouth. Departments can put in requests for these materials by clicking on the “Request PPE” icon on InfoNet.
The College has deployed hand sanitizers in common spaces including outside classrooms and elevators. Disinfectant wipes are available at computer labs and service counters.
Will hallways be marked for one-way traffic?
At this time, hallways are no longer marked for one-way circulation. Signage will direct individuals in hallways to refrain from congregating in the hallways for prolonged conversation.
Are restrooms marked for appropriate social distancing?
At this time, restrooms are no longer marked for social distancing.
Can water fountains be used?
Water fountains may be used, and the College is increasing the number of bottle-filler water fountains.
Will the College update the plan in advance of the spring semester?
Yes, the College will make updates to the plan based on guidance from health and government agencies.
What resources are available to me for assistance if I feel overwhelmed during this time?
All College employees are eligible to utilized the Employee Assistance Program (EAP): CCA@YourService. This confidential, third-party program provides free professional consultation, referrals, and short-term counseling for any issue that matters to you. The service is available at www.myccaonline.com or 800-833-8707 with Company Code “MCEAP”.
What do I do if a student does not comply with the face masks requirement?
All students are expected to fully comply with all applicable state requirements as well as Middlesex College policies, protocols, and guidance related to COVID-19. Failure to do so presents unnecessary risk to the College community and may result in disciplinary action through the Code of Student Conduct process. If a student does not comply with College masking requirements, we ask that you follow your classroom discipline policy in your syllabus. You should deny entry to your classroom to any student who is not wearing a mask or wearing a mask improperly. If, after reminding a student in your class about the mask requirement, the student will not wear a mask or will not leave class, you can call the Campus Police Main Line: 732-548-6000 x 6500. Please report any student who fails to comply with the masking policy to your Department Chair for follow up (that may include a Code of Student Conduct charge).
College staff will monitor building entry points during the first week of classes to assist students with information about and compliance with the College’s face covering requirement.
What happens to my class if one of my students falls ill with COVID-19?
Students are directed, through recurring communications, to inform the Office of Health & Safety at email@example.com if they have COVID-19 symptoms or test positive for COVID-19. Health & Safety will inform the Department Chair and specifics on the student’s required quarantine or isolation timeline, if any, and return date. Department Chairs will work with faculty on a case-basis to provide instruction to students who must temporarily quarantine or isolate.
Faculty should not notify the other students. Notifications will be made by Health & Safety who will coordinate with the County Office of Health Services regarding any requirements for isolation or testing of the faculty member and other students in the class. Never reveal the name of a COVID-positive student to anyone outside Health & Safety.
Can I ask my students if they are vaccinated?
Faculty cannot ask students about their vaccination status. We can anticipate that we will have some students who are not yet vaccinated. If a student discloses their vaccination status to you, you cannot disclose that information to another person.
A representative from the Health & Safety team can ask students their vaccination status to assist with quarantine or isolation guidance if students report testing positive for COVID-19, displaying symptoms, or coming into contact with someone who is positive for COVID-19.
Will students taking on-campus classes be required to complete a COVID-19 screening?
At this time, we are considering implementing a student symptom screening questionnaire to be completed via the Middlesex College mobile app. In addition, signage and ongoing communications regarding what to do should students experience symptoms consistent with COVID-19 direct students to stay home and contact the College’s Health & Safety department (firstname.lastname@example.org) for guidance.
Can I include a health advisory statement on my syllabi?
You may include a health advisory statement that explains your expectations for attendance. For example: All students must follow College, County, and State health directives. If those directives change during the semester, I will be sure to share them with the class. Students must wear masks in class that cover your nose, mouth, chin and fit snugly against the sides of your face. Students enrolled in the course are expected to attend class in person as required unless you have made alternative arrangements with me prior to the start of class due to illness, medical reasons, or the need to isolate or quarantine due to COVID-19.
In the event that you find yourself experiencing COVID-19 related symptoms, I request that you do the following:
- Stay home! This is the best way to prevent spreading COVID-19.
- Email me so that I know of your status.
- Email email@example.com and someone from the College Health and Safety Office will be in touch to explain steps for your return to campus.
What on-campus services and resources are available?
- Students will have both virtual and in-person access to Student and Enrollment Services. Regular hours resume August 23, 2021.
- The Learning Center is available for in-person tutoring and open computer lab. See below for more information.
- The Library reopens on August 30, 2021. See below for more information.
- Food service will be available only in the Pony Express (Main Hall Starbucks) and vending machines. Catering for events may be available through Gourmet Dining (formerly Culinart).
- The Bookstore is open Monday-Thursday 8 am – 4 pm; Friday 8 am – 3 pm.
- The Pool will remain closed for the Fall semester.
- The Fitness Center is only open for restricted use by student athletes.
What if students have on-campus classes and need to participate in a Remote Live class from campus?
The Library and Learning Center have spaces for students to participate in Remote Live and Online classes. Students who need to use a College computer should report to the Learning Center. A number of desktop computers in the open lab have webcams available.
Students who have their own devices can work in the Learning Center or the Library. Areas available for study include:
- Study rooms (visit the desk for checkout, occupancy )
- Small group study tables (up to students) with low talking (when not occupied by tutors)
- Desktop computing (limited space for remote live classes)
- Individual quiet study area: lower level quiet study room and carrels
- Small group study tables (up to students) for low talking: upper level open areas
- Individual study with low talking (ideal for remote live classes): upper level carrels
- Study rooms (visit the desk for checkout, occupancy ): library study rooms
- Desktop computing (limited space for remote live classes): upper level and lower level classroom
Can I get Plexiglass for my classroom?
A limited number of plexiglass barriers are available for installation in classrooms by request. Please speak to your Department Chair.
Can I get a microphone?
The College has procured a number of personal voice amplifiers for faculty use. Please speak to your Department Chair.
Can students eat and drink in the classroom?
Eating in classrooms is not permitted during the Fall 2021 semester (except under certain circumstances, such as culinary classes). Students may temporarily lift or remove masks to drink.
Will there be outdoor space for classroom use?
At this time, there is no arrangement for formal outdoor space (e.g., tents) for classroom use. Faculty may take a class outside if the weather is nice. Masks are required if physical distancing cannot be maintained. Faculty will also need to consider the accessibility of outdoor classes for students with mobility limitations and other accessibility needs.