July 26, 2021

Dear William Paterson Students,

I am excited to see everyone back on campus in less than a month. While the rules for managing the pandemic have changed from last year, our adherence to them will again be critical to keeping our community safe and having a successful year. As you know, all students, except those enrolled only through WP Online, are required to be fully vaccinated in time for your return to campus, as are all non-union staff. Under our agreement with the American Federation of Teachers local, that requirement extends to all faculty and staff AFT members. New Jersey officials are negotiating with State-level leadership of CWA, PBA, SLEU, and IFPTE with the goal of reaching agreements on vaccination that, if successful, will mean that all William Paterson students, faculty, and staff will be vaccinated against COVID-19. The more members of our community who are vaccinated, the safer we all will be. 

The only exceptions to the current requirements are people with approved medical and religious exemptions. Anyone who is not vaccinated, whether they have an exemption or there is not an agreement in place with their union, will be required to wear a mask while on campus and maintain social distance wherever possible. They will also be subject to regular COVID-19 testing. Even if you are vaccinated, but at high risk for complications from COVID-19, in situations where you may be unable to maintain social distancing, or simply feel more comfortable doing so, please go ahead and wear a mask, as well. 

As I have mentioned in earlier messages, a growing majority of students, faculty, and staff are already vaccinated, so if you aren’t yet, please do so now. Toward that end, the Counseling, Health and Wellness Center is hosting another vaccine clinic tomorrow, July 27th,  from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in University Commons 171 A&B for all employees and students, where the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will be available. Please book an appointment and register in advance at Use passcode: WPUJ&J (case sensitive).

This week’s WPWe are Proud – It will be another week until we return to campus on a regular schedule and another month until our students return, but a wonderful sign that William Paterson is already truly “back” came last week, with the return of live music to the Shea Center during the Summer Jazz Room Series and Summer Jazz Workshop. I had the pleasure of attending one of the week’s performances, and it was great to see and hear talented musicians again performing on stage for a grateful audience. Congratulations to Music Department Chair and Professor of Music Dr. Timothy U. Newman, who serves as Director of the Summer Jazz Workshop and Producer of the Summer Jazz Room, for a successful week packed with performances and classes, and to all the performers and instructors. The Workshop is produced through a collaboration between the Music Department and the School of Continuing and Professional Education, so congratulations also to SCPE’s Iris DiMaio, Executive Director of Youth Programs, and Kimberly Wolfe, Manager of Pre-College Youth Programs. And, of course, congratulations to Operations Manager Al Schaefer and his entire Shea Center crew, including Lou Hamel, Director of Audience Services, and Craig Woelpper, Marketing and Grants Manger. 

As we get closed to the Fall semester, let’s appreciate that we have all done so much to get to a place where we can safely bring our entire community back to campus for a full academic year experience. However, the highly-contagious Delta variant poses a real threat, particularly to the unvaccinated. Let’s all do our part to ensure the continued health and safety of our fellow Pioneers.  

Richard J. Helldobler, Ph.D.