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Change in Mask Protocols

To the Campus Community:

Thank you for your diligence in following TCNJ’s public health protocols this school year. Through your efforts, we have managed to maintain a low infection rate. 

I said previously that we would follow the science and rescind the mask mandate when conditions allowed. I am pleased to report that we have just about reached that point. In its latest guidance, the CDC now advises that we not just consider regional case counts, but also factor in hospitalizations and hospital capacity, which have seen significant improvements. The CDC reports that the COVID-19 Community Level for Mercer County is now low. Therefore, I am pleased to announce that the general mask mandate for students and employees will be rescinded beginning Saturday, March 12. Despite this change, the TCNJ campus will remain “mask-friendly.” Anyone wishing to wear a mask is encouraged to do so. 

This change in protocol comes with conditions, which are outlined in their entirety on our COVID-19 website. I encourage you to familiarize yourself with them, but would like to highlight a few key provisions:

  • Local Rules: Despite the removal of the campuswide mask mandate, it may still be appropriate for a mask mandate to apply in certain circumstances. Therefore, individual faculty may choose to require masks in their classrooms, laboratories, and offices, and vice presidents may authorize supervisors to require masks in particular offices. Any such mask requirement will be clearly communicated. Students and employees should continue to have a mask available for use in spaces where those local rules apply.
  • Accommodations: Those who have a heightened vulnerability due to a medical condition or other special circumstances may request an accommodation through the Accessibility Resource Center. Students in a class may also consult with their instructor.
  • Booster: We encourage everyone who is eligible to get their booster shot. The college is hosting a booster clinic this Friday, March 4. If you have received your booster, please upload your record as outlined below:
    • Students: Upload proof of booster vaccination to OWL.
    • Employees: Upload proof of booster vaccination to Oracle Cloud. (Instructions for uploading may be found on the HR website.)
  • Testing: We ask all members of our community to be tested on campus upon returning from spring break and before March 28. Employees and students with a vaccine exemption must continue to get tested weekly for the duration of the semester. 

Understandably, should infection rates climb again, the college may need to reimpose a mask mandate for the entire campus community or for some portion of it. Optimistically, I hope that this change in our masking protocols signals a major milestone in our return to normal. Thank you again for helping keep our campus healthy. I hope that come March 12, you enjoy this hard-earned reward.

Sincerely,
Kathryn A. Foster
President