October 26, 2020

Dear William Paterson Faculty & Staff:

Communications experts vary in their opinions on how many times we need to hear a message before it sinks in and we retain it and act on it. Some say seven – the Rule of 7 is an old standard. Some say 10, or even 14. But they all agree that repetition is key. So, here I am again asking you all to please wear your masks at all times on campus, with the sole exceptions of when you are eating, drinking or, for residential students, when you are in your room.
We have made it this far into the semester with an on-campus experience because the William Paterson community has, for the most part, been good about respecting this important message that comes from health experts, Governor Murphy, our campus health professionals, and hundreds of signs across campus. But we will only make it to Thanksgiving on campus if everyone continues to abide by it. I know mask fatigue may be setting in on campus and nationally, but the coronavirus isn’t sensitive to our weariness. It will exploit it and spread further unless we keep our guard up. Let me put a (masked) face on the urgency of wearing a mask at all times. 
One of the several people who have contacted my office recently to express concern about people not complying with our mask rule was an hourly employee, who is caring for an elderly grandmother at home. She is concerned about being a risk to her vulnerable relative, and she needs to work to feed her family. Her concern is real, and we should all share it. Please, wear a mask!
This week’s WPWe’re Proud – Some folks who know all-too-well what’s at stake are Dr. Jill Guzman and her team in the Counseling, Health & Wellness Center, who are doing much of the hard work of keeping our campus safe during this pandemic. Dr. Guzman co-chairs our Reopening Committee, whose thorough planning and vigilance have allowed us to be on campus so far this semester. 
Along with Dr. Guzman, Fazia Weaver, APN leads the screening, treatment, and tracking of COVID-19 cases and exposures. She helps rapidly identify and immediately isolate any potential cases and oversees the review of all daily health screens. They are supported in this critical work by Susan Lee, RNCarola Gremlich, RN; and Denise Ginyard-Potts, MA. As a team, they have tested over 175 students on site, both those who present as symptomatic and students participating in surveillance testing.  
And this is all on top of their other work tending to the physical and mental health care needs of our students. Associate Director Daisy Rodriguez has responded to students who have mental health concerns related to COVID-19, and numerous counselors and support staff continue to respond to the influx of patients and myriad other concerns that the Center handles.
A special thanks to Dr. Guzman and her entire team for their hard work and dedication – seven days a week – in caring for our students and helping keep our entire campus safe!
Be well, and have a great week.
Richard J. Helldobler, PhD