Health and Safety

The health and safety of the William Paterson University community is our top priority. As the University returns to fully in-person work and study, the institution has developed policies and procedures to protect vulnerable students, staff, and faculty in order to help ensure a safe and healthy learning environment.

COVID-19 Vaccine Requirement

All students who are returning to campus in fall 2021 will be required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as was stated in President Helldobler's letter of June 23, 2021. This includes all residential and commuter students, undergraduate and graduate. The only exceptions to this requirement are for students enrolled in WP Online’s fully online programs, and those who qualify under New Jersey law for medical and religious exemptions.

In the further interest of the health of the University community and equity among its various constituencies, all employees who are not covered by a collective bargaining unit also will be required to be vaccinated. As with students and non-unionized employees, faculty and staff covered by the AFT agreement will have to be fully vaccinated when the fall semester starts. All employees who are not yet vaccinated are encouraged to do so as soon as possible.

Verification of COVID-19 Vaccination

The University has worked successfully with the New Jersey Immunization Information System (NJIIS). This means that for anyone who was vaccinated in New Jersey and did not opt out of NJIIS, we will likely be able to obtain your vaccine information. This applies only to those vaccinated in New Jersey.

To verify that the University has your vaccine information, please visit the WPconnect COVID Vaccination Portal, also located on the main page of WPconnect.  Once there, you will be able to verify if we have your vaccine information on file. If you are fully vaccinated and we have your information, you don’t need to do anything further. If we do not have your COVID-19 vaccine information, you will be able to upload an image of your vaccine card into the portal.

All exemption requests must be submitted through the WPconnect COVID Vaccination Portal, also located on the main page of WPconnect. The University will consider requests for exemptions due to religious or medical reasons. All exemptions must be requested by July 21, 2021. You must log in to WPconnect to access the portal and will find instructions for requesting an exemption.

If requesting an exemption for religious reasons, students, or a parent/legal guardian if the student is a minor, will be required to attest that the immunization conflicts with the student’s religious beliefs.  A religious exemption is not the same as a philosophical, moral, or conscientious exemption.

Students requesting a medical exemption will need approval from the Counseling, Health and Wellness Center. Students must submit a letter from their medical provider explaining the medical contraindication and the time period for which the exemption is being requested.

Employees that are requesting a medical or religious exemption will need to be approved by Human Resources. Employees must submit a letter from their medical provider explaining the medical contraindication and time period for which exemption is requested.

Vaccination Deadlines

Students must be vaccinated with their last dose by August 11, 2021 (or two weeks before the start of the semester on August 25, 2021). Students who arrive early to campus (i.e., resident assistants or athletes) must be vaccinated two weeks prior to their return. For students who choose to receive the Moderna vaccine, the two-dose series must be started by July 11. For students who choose the Pfizer, the two-dose series must be started by July 18. Students who choose to receive the Johnson & Johnson vaccine must receive it by August 11.

Vaccination deadlines for unionized and non-unionized employees are to be determined by the Office of Human Resources.

International Students

We understand that students not currently in the U.S. may not have access to U.S.-authorized vaccines prior to arrival. William Paterson follows CDC guidance for people immunized with vaccines not currently authorized in the U.S. The Counseling, Health and Wellness Center will review each case individually and will provide guidance for all international students. More information can be found at https://www.wpunj.edu/covid19/vaccine-faq.

More information

The University has developed COVID-19 Vaccine FAQs for Students, which will be updated as more information becomes available:  https://www.wpunj.edu/covid19/vaccine-faq

If you have further questions which are not addressed in the FAQs or on this page, please email CovidVACCINE@wpunj.edu (students) or Payroll@wpunj.edu (employees).

COVID-19 Symptom and Exposure Reporting

All members of the William Paterson community—students, faculty, and staff—are required to report any diagnosis, exposure or symptoms consistent with COVID-19. The COVID 19 Symptom and Exposure Reporting Form is a web-based form; the link can be found in the yellow bar on the University homepage and in the WPconnect portal. Anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 must stay home for 10 days from the start of symptoms or, if there are no symptoms, from the date of the test. If you have symptoms or have been exposed, you are required to fill out the form prior to arrival on campus, leaving a residence hall room, attending any athletic or campus-sponsored activity, arriving at any clinical or teaching placement or any internship program, or participating in any other University activity or gathering. All unvaccinated employees and students who have traveled internationally are also required to report symptoms or exposure on this form.

All individuals who report being diagnosed with COVID-19, exposed to COVID-19 and are unvaccinated, or exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms, will be referred to Human Resources (employees) or the Counseling, Health and Wellness Center (students). These individuals will not be allowed on campus and must report being absent. All information will be kept confidential in adherence to federal and state HIPAA guidelines.

Testing of Employees

William Paterson University requires that all employees notify Human Resources if they are unvaccinated and exposed to, or are experiencing symptoms consistent with, COVID-19. All unvaccinated employees exposed to, or symptomatic for, COVID-19 will be referred to their primary care provider to get tested and must inform HR of their test results. All unvaccinated exposed employees will be sent home and advised to self-quarantine. An unvaccinated individual who was a close contact of a person that was diagnosed with COVID-19 must quarantine for 14 days from the date of the exposure.

Positive Results

If the employee tests positive, and/or is experiencing symptoms, that employee will be directed to remain out of the workplace until:

  • At least 3 days (72 hours) have passed since recovery, which is defined as resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and improvement in respiratory symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath) and,
  • At least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared.

All employees who are asymptomatic but test positive for COVID-19 will be advised to self-isolate and not be allowed on campus until:

  • 10 days have passed since the date of their first positive COVID-19 diagnostic test assuming they have not subsequently developed symptoms since their positive test.

Testing of Students

William Paterson University requires that all students notify the Counseling, Health and Wellness Center if they are exposed to, or are experiencing symptoms consistent with, COVID-19. Students need to report their exposure or symptoms on the COVID Symptom and Exposure Reporting form in WPconnect. Students can call the Health Center at 973.720.2360 to speak to a medical provider or email COVIDCHWC@wpunj.edu. Prior screening via telehealth is required before entering the center.

If it is deemed necessary, students will be offered a test. They will be referred to local testing centers or given a campus-obtained test if available. This will be coordinated through the Counseling, Health and Wellness Center. 

All unvaccinated students who were a close contact of someone that tested positive for COVID-19 will be required to quarantine for 14 days from the last date of exposure.  All students who are having symptoms consistent with COVID-19 will be required to seek medical attention and must be cleared by CHWC before returning to campus.

Positive Results

If the student tests positive, and/or is experiencing symptoms, the student will be not be permitted to attend in-person classes until:

  • At least 3 days (72 hours) have passed since recovery defined as resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and improvement in respiratory symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath); and,
  • At least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared.

Asymptomatic and Positive Results

Any students who are asymptomatic but test positive for COVID-19 will not be allowed on campus until:

  • 10 days have passed since the date of their first positive COVID-19 diagnostic test assuming they have not subsequently developed symptoms since their positive test.


On-Campus Testing Program

For fall 2021, William Paterson University has contracted with Bergen New Bridge Medical Center to provide testing for our University community members who have been approved for a medical or religious exemption with a focus on populations most at risk for COVID-19. The University has developed a priority-based testing plan to ensure that our campus has a systematic approach.

At this time, Bergen New Bridge will be conducting nasal and saliva PCR tests. Results will be available within 24 to 48 hours. Individuals who have been tested for COVID-19 will access their results via the Bergen New Bridge Medical Center portal. All positive results will be reported to the Counseling, Health, and Wellness Center (CHWC) for contact tracing.

Testing will be held every Wednesday from 2 to 6 p.m. Individuals must be referred for testing by CHWC, including any faculty or staff. If this time does not work for these individuals, they must make other arrangements with Counseling, Health and Wellness. Contact CHWC at 973.720.2360 to make an appointment.

*If individuals are required to participate in the testing program and have had COVID-19 in the past three months, they must first contact CHWC at COVIDCHWC@wpunj.edu or call 973.720.2360.

NCAA Athletic Testing:

For fall 2021, all student-athletes who have received an approved exemption are required to participate in weekly COVID-19 testing. These exempt student-athletes need to participate in testing during the designated testing day in order for them to be eligible to participate in their sport that week. Only students who receive a negative test will be permitted to participate. Coaches and athletic trainers who have an approved medical or religious exemption will be part of this testing program as well.

Club Sports:

Students who have an approved medical or religious exemption who wish to participate in club sports must participate in the weekly testing program. In order for these exempt students to participate in their sport, they must participate in weekly testing.

Residential Students:

All residential students who have been approved for a religious or medical exemption are required to participate in the weekly testing program. They will be required to test on site through Bergen New Bridge Medical Center.  Residential students will receive information about testing via email from Residence Life staff. Students who do not comply with weekly testing and miss two testing days will be removed from housing. If resident students are not able to be tested on the designated day, they must make other arrangements with CHWC at 973.720.2360. All residential students may be subject to surveillance testing, whether vaccinated or not, if there is an outbreak within the residence halls or if conditions warrant such testing.

Academic Programs:

Certain academic programs, due to the nature of their classes or clinical work, may be at more risk for contracting or spreading COVID-19. Therefore, all exempt students in such programs will be required to test weekly. Failure to comply with testing requirements will be referred to the Office of Student Conduct. Faculty and staff in these programs who have an approved exemption are also required to participate in the required testing. These programs include but are not limited to:

Kinesiology, Music (performance-based), Communication Disorders, and Nursing.

All students that have been approved for an exemption are subject to weekly testing. When they are contacted, they are required to comply. The frequency will be determined by CHWC and may vary during the semester.

General Student Population

Students who may have been exposed to COVID-19 may get tested through the Bergen New Bridge testing program. These individuals must be screened and referred for testing by the CHWC medical team. All students in need of testing must reach out by calling 973.720.2360 or by email at COVIDCHWC@wpunj.edu.

Employees

Employees who are exposed to or may have contracted COVID-19 while performing their in-person job responsibilities will have access to the New Bridge testing program. All employees must be referred for testing by the benefits team in Human Resources in collaboration with CHWC. Any employee who is requesting testing should contact Human Resources at payroll@wpunj.edu or CHWC at  COVIDCHWC@wpunj.edu.

Insurance

The Bergen New Bridge Medical testing program will utilize an individual’s health insurance plan to cover the cost of testing. Anyone who has health insurance is required to use it. All full-time students are required to have insurance as part of their enrollment. If students are unsure if they have school-sponsored insurance, they can verify coverage through this website:

https://www.aetnastudenthealth.com/en/school/686212/index.html

Testing Location/Hours:

All testing will take place on campus and will be held on every Wednesday from 2 to 6 p.m.*

*These days and times are subject to change due to demand or the needs of our campus.

Note: Students who are having symptoms must be screened and referred by the Counseling, Health and Wellness Center medical team. Students in need of testing must reach out by calling 973.720.2360 or by email at COVIDCHWC@wpunj.edu.

Quarantine and Isolation Procedures for Residential Students

The University has developed guidelines for the quarantine and/or isolation of residential students who are diagnosed with, or exposed to, COVID-19. A Counseling, Health and Wellness Center medical provider (physician or advance practice nurse) will make a determination whether a student needs to be quarantined or placed in isolation.

Diagnosed with COVID-19

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, any residential student who is suspected of having COVID-19 due to symptoms, or who is diagnosed with COVID-19, will be moved to a separate room for isolation.

Students who require isolation will be placed into a single room, subject to availability. During isolation, students must remain in their rooms. They are not permitted to go to class, walk around campus, or engage in any extracurricular or social activity. No visitors will be permitted. Students must order food and have it delivered.  Students are not allowed to leave isolation unless cleared by CHWC.

These steps will be taken:

  • Verbal and written discharge instructions will be given to the student.
  • A thermometer will be given to the student if they do not have one for continual monitoring of their temperature.
  • The student will be required to put on a mask and will be sent to their room to pack supplies to be relocated to a room designated for isolation.
  • Medication and other supplies will be offered to the student, if remaining on campus. If necessary, CHWC could arrange medication from a pharmacy to be delivered.
  • For students remaining on campus, a phone check-in by a nurse will occur daily (during working hours) to assess the symptoms present and to determine if further treatment is needed.
  • The student will be asked to log temperatures to report. In order for the student to return to campus or to their regularly assigned residence hall room, the student must not be contagious. This will be determined on a case-by-case basis and will be determined at the sole discretion of CHWC. Students under isolation for COVID-19 will only be cleared to return to residence halls and/or regular campus activity by CHWC. Students who receive care from an outside provider will need to provide a clearance note to CHWC for approval, prior to returning to campus and/or normal activity.
  • For students who remain on campus, food delivery services will be coordinated by CHWC/ Residence Life. The student will be instructed to only open doors for food delivery while wearing a mask.
  • Affected students will be instructed to communicate with their professors that they will not be able to attend class in-person. They will be provided an excuse note, which they are responsible for forwarding to their professors.  If they are in need of extended absences or have academic requirements that can’t be met, CHWC will partner with the Dean of Students who will work with the student’s advisor to assist with necessary arrangements.
  • The Residence Life staff will be notified that they have a student placed in isolation due to illness.

Exposed to COVID-19

If an unvaccinated student is exposed to COVID-19, but is not exhibiting symptoms, they will need to quarantine. Students who require quarantine will be placed into a single room, subject to availability. During quarantine, students must remain in their rooms. They are not permitted to go to class, walk around campus, or engage in any extracurricular or social activity. Students in quarantine are permitted to order food and pick it up while wearing a mask. They are not permitted to walk around campus.

No visitors will be permitted.

These steps will be taken: 

  • Verbal and written instructions will be given to student.
  • A thermometer will be given to student if they do not have one for continual monitoring of their temperature.
  • In the event that a student plans to return home or needs to be moved to another residence hall room, the student will be required to wear a mask and will be sent to their room to pack supplies.
  • For students remaining on campus, a phone check-in by a nurse will occur daily (during working hours) to assess if any symptoms are present or if testing and treatment is needed.
  • Student will be asked to log temperatures to report. In order for the student to fully return to the campus community, the student must not be contagious. Assuming no symptoms of COVID-19 develop, this would occur 14 days after the exposure. Students under quarantine for COVID-19 will only be cleared to return to regular campus activity by CHWC. Students who receive care from an outside provider will need to provide a clearance note to CHWC for approval, prior to returning to campus and/or normal activity.
  • Food delivery services will be coordinated by CHWC/ Residence Life. The student will be instructed to only open doors for food delivery while wearing a mask.
  • Students will be instructed to communicate with their professors that they will not be able to attend class in-person. A note will be provided to the student and they are responsible for sharing it with their professors. Assuming the student remains well, they will be expected to continue to meet course requirements. If they have academic requirements that can’t be met, CHWC will partner with the Dean of Students who will work with the student’s advisor to assist with necessary arrangements.
  • The Residence Life staff will be notified that they have a student quarantined due to exposure.

In the event that a student refuses to remain in isolation or quarantine, and/or is a health risk to themselves, their roommates or member(s) of the Community, appropriate interventions will be used, consistent with University policy and applicable law.

Contact Tracing

William Paterson will continue to partner with public health officials to support contact tracing. The University has established relationships with local health departments and will coordinate with local officials to effectuate prompt and accurate contact tracing to help mitigate spread of COVID-19. 

All community members who test positive for COVID-19 must cooperate with contact tracing efforts.  All employees and students who test positive will be asked to complete a contact tracing form to be submitted to local health officials to help to expedite contact tracing (See Appendix).

 

[Updated August 24, 2021]