May 15, 2020

To the William Paterson Community:

I hope everyone is doing well. In communicating with you through these regular updates, it is always my goal to provide you with as much current information as possible about the impact of COVID-19 on our community and plans for responding to the pandemic. And it is always my hope to give you actionable information that looks as far forward as possible so that you can plan appropriately for both your professional and personal lives. Of course, one of the things we have all had to adapt to is an increasing amount of uncertainty and the need for a large degree of patience. As I said in response to a question about the Fall semester at Tuesday’s online Office Hours, patience isn’t something that comes naturally to me, but I’m learning! 
I look forward to the day that I can tell you when we all will return to campus. While pandemic conditions are improving by many measures, we are not there yet. However, I am confident that the time until our return can now be measured in weeks, rather than months. For now, though, all non-essential employees will continue to work remotely through at least Friday, June 5 , when Governor Murphy’s current executive order expires. The Governor is set to release a schedule of dates for re-openings across New Jersey’s economy, which should give us a clearer sense of things soon. I will communicate with you again by email on Friday, May 29. 
As I mentioned previously, we are working out plans for several different scenarios, depending on State guidelines, the science, and what makes the most sense for William Paterson. Should the State require a reduction of the on-site workforce to 50 percent at one time, we will implement the Black and Orange staggered work schedule that has previously been mentioned. The current thinking on that scenario for the summer would have 50 percent of employees on site Mondays and Wednesdays and working remotely Tuesdays and Thursdays (Black). The other 50 percent would work remotely Mondays and Wednesdays and be on site Tuesdays and Thursdays (Orange). We are still reviewing plans for our summer professional development program, and those details will follow soon.
This Black/Orange arrangement will ensure that anticipated social distancing requirements can be met. Managers will arrange the Black and Orange groups for their areas in consultation with employees in accordance with guidelines from Human Resources. Accommodations will be made as needed for individuals with underlying health issues, as well as those who have tested positive for COVID-19, been exposed to the virus, and – through at least June 26 – people with school-age children, as designated by the State. As always, the health and wellness of our entire community will determine both when and under what conditions we all return to campus. The date of our return and the specific precautions will be determined by both State and CDC guidance. More details on the Black and Orange schedule, along with additional information on other social distancing and preventative measures that may be implemented will be shared ahead of our return. 
As a reminder, we will begin our summer work schedule on Monday, June 1. In the meantime, please take care, and I hope everyone takes the opportunity to view the 2020 virtual Commencement ceremony, beginning May 26, and share messages of congratulations and support with our graduates on social media using the hashtag #WPUNJ2020. Thank you. 
Richard J. Helldobler, PhD