June 11, 2020

To William Paterson Faculty and Staff:

As I’m sure you know, Governor Murphy this week lifted his stay-at-home order and announced more details about Stage 2 of the State’s reopening, beginning next Monday, June 15, which allows for an increasing range of activities. 
As I wrote in my June 8 message, our plan is to begin the Fall semester either a week or two early and conclude at Thanksgiving break. While we are still determining that exact date, an early start to the semester means that it is especially important that certain critical functions shift back to campus soon. Staff in those critical roles will be notified by their Vice Presidents or supervisors as soon as possible next week and will return to campus on Monday, June 22. If you are not specifically notified by your Vice President or supervisor, you do not need to return to campus on the 22 nd  and should continue working remotely for the time being.
While we don’t yet know the exact number of employees who will be identified as critical in this first phase of our return, it will be far below the 50% threshold that the Black and Orange schedule aimed for and well within State guidelines. As such, we will not implement the Black and Orange schedule during this first phase. If you are identified as a critical employee and required to return to campus, Vice Presidents and supervisors will work through scheduling details with you directly. If you are among those called to return and believe that health or other qualifying exemptions preclude you from doing so, please contact Human Resources, which will work with you to make appropriate accommodations.
I want to assure everyone that the health and safety of our community remains a priority, and we will adhere to federal and State guidelines as well as the strict standards of our own Re-Opening Preparedness Committee. Once Vice Presidents have identified critical staff, committee Co-Chairs Dr. Jill Guzman and Charles Lowe will conduct walk-throughs of those employees’ work areas to make sure all sanitization, social distancing, and related protocols and resources are in place and the space is safe. Should any critical employee work area be found lacking, alternative work spaces that do meet our requirements will be used until all areas are up to standards. 
I know that this will be a change after months of working remotely, but I am encouraged by the fact that the State’s restrictions have been lifted precisely because we all took such strict measures to control the spread of the coronavirus, and it is on the wane in New Jersey. Of course, we have to remain vigilant and continue to take all necessary steps to ensure a safe and healthy work and learning environment for all our students, faculty, and staff.
I will communicate with you again on the subject of our phased return to campus next Thursday, June 18. In the meantime, stay safe, and enjoy the summer weather.
Richard J. Helldobler, PhD