Fall 2020 Campus & Workplace Operations

Nassau Hall Tiger wearing mask

President Eisgruber’s Message to the Community

In a message to the University community sent on August 7, President Christopher Eisgruber announced the University's decision that its undergraduate program must be fully remote in the coming fall semester due to the course of the pandemic and New Jersey regulations.

People throughout this University have done outstanding work to prepare the campus to receive students safely, but the risk of widespread contagion and serious illness remains. In light of the diminished benefits and increased risks currently associated with residential education amid New Jersey’s battle against the pandemic, we have decided that our undergraduate program should be fully remote in the fall semester of 2020.

—President Christopher Eisgruber

Preparing for the Fall

Employees are expected to be familiar and comply with the University's operational measures that are unprecedented and rigorous to limit the spread of COVID-19 and protect the health of everyone on the campus while fulfilling their diverse roles. The following information will continue to evolve, and employees should check regularly for updates:

  • Based on operational needs, multiple departments already have staff working on campus, and these staff should continue to do so as directed by their managers with approval from their cabinet officer or academic chair or director. Staff members who have been working remotely should continue to do so until further notice.

  • The University is carefully considering which jobs will require an on-campus presence in the fall with the goal of limiting the spread of and/or exposure to COVID-19. Exceptions that require staff to work on campus will continue to be made on a case-by-case basis where there is a compelling business reason. 

  • Departments need to reconsider and modify their resumption of operations plans due to the decision not to return undergraduates to campus in the fall. This will affect staff work arrangements, schedules, and expectations.

  • Staff members whose circumstances require their presence on campus occasionally or intermittently must seek approval from their managers who will then seek approval from their cabinet officer or academic chair or director, as appropriate. For instance, if individuals need to be on campus to complete a specific task or project, they will need prior approval. At all other times, they are expected to work remotely. 

  • Anyone whose job requires a physical presence on campus, either on a regular, occasional, or intermittent basis, must comply with all related policies, guidelines, and practices that the University has issued or will issue in the coming weeks. Staff who work on campus must be fully familiar with the most up-to-date policies and procedures and must consistently act on directives that include, but are not limited to, practicing social distancing of at least six feet, wearing face coverings indoors and when congregating outdoors, and frequent handwashing.

  • All staff approved to work on campus regularly, occasionally, or intermittently must complete mandatory online COVID-19 General Awareness training to work on campus. 

  • Testing for COVID-19 will be required for all staff who must spend time on campus regularly; additional information will be forthcoming.

  • Staff who work on research projects in University laboratories must complete the Safe Resumption of Research training.

  • Departments must follow the policies, guidelines, and practices available on the Office of Environmental Health and Safety’s (EHS) website. This information is being updated for the fall semester.

Shared Responsibility

Princeton expects all members of the University community to adhere to these directives, as protecting everyone’s health and safety is a shared responsibility. This means the University is asking everyone to build new work habits that require increased self-awareness, accountability, and attentiveness to others.

Princeton also expects everyone to interact with one another in a respectful manner, even when someone forgets to practice the guidelines as individuals adapt to an altered on-campus workplace.

Staff members should direct compliance concerns to their manager or senior HR manager.


It is easy to feel overwhelmed by the rapid adjustments everyone has had to make, but you have taken them in stride and will, I know, continue to do so...If the past six months have taught us anything, it is that adaptability is essential if we, as individuals and as a community, are to weather the pandemic. Thank you for all you are doing to ensure that Princeton’s work continues, and please take good care of yourselves and one another.

—Vice President for Human Resources Lianne Sullivan-Crowley in her August 7 message to staff

Related COVID-19 Policies & Procedures

The following policies and procedures are relevant during the COVID-19 pandemic. This section will be updated when policies and procedures in development become available.