August 25, 2020

Dear William Paterson Community:

It’s wonderful to see those of you who are back on campus!  I write today to thank everyone who followed the signage, wore your masks over your mouth and nose, social distanced yourselves, and used the hand-sanitizer stations around campus. I took a stroll through campus Monday afternoon, and while many of you were wearing masks, I had to ask some of you to put one on and others to please cover your nose.  
As both our student and employee training videos point out, on a college campus, you never know when you will go from being socially distanced or by yourself to being within 6 feet of someone else. That is why it is important to wear your mask at all times, inside and out, unless you are completely alone. And yes, the mask must cover both your nose and mouth, because respiratory droplets are the leading cause of COVID-19 spread. Many experts agree that masks are the best protection against getting the disease. I know that wearing the mask can be uncomfortable, and the current weather is not helping, but I really do not want the next University RAVE alert to announce a switch to remote learning and closing of the residence halls. However, if we cannot all follow the rules, that is what I am prepared to do. If you want to stay on campus, follow the rules. Most importantly, wear a mask.
You may have read that another local University recently suspended students from on-campus housing for gathering in large groups to party without masks or social distancing. Please know that we will do the same, and there are no refunds for students who are suspended due to conduct issues laid out in the Pioneer Pledge.
I know that some faculty yesterday morning found their classrooms without cleaning supplies. I apologize for that shortcoming. We focused on rooms that had 1000-level classes in them. We missed some rooms that should have been stocked. In other cases, faculty teaching 2000+-level classes decided to return to campus during the first week, and those rooms were not yet stocked. Our Facilities staff is working to quickly provide those supplies to all rooms. If supplies are missing or low, please contact your departmental office, which ordered supplies with this contingency in mind. Otherwise, please check nearby classrooms for supplies that you can borrow and return until all classrooms are stocked, which will be soon, or dismiss your class and report the issue. 
Also, please do not take cleaning supplies from the classrooms.  These are meant to be shared by the faculty and students who are using the room. We are back on campus because it is safe to be here with one another. But that is only IF – and  yes, it is a big ‘IF’ – we all follow the rules.  Wear a mask, wash your hands often, and stay 6 feet away from others.  Do it for yourselves and for each other.  If we do this, we can distinguish William Paterson as a university that succeeded in providing an on-campus experience and keeping everyone safe.  Thank you, and Go Pioneers! 
Richard J. Helldobler, PhD