On July 1, Provost Deborah Prentice and Executive Vice President Treby Williams emailed all employees the following:
When we last wrote to you on June 8, we promised to update you on any additional changes to University policies by early July. We are happy to announce the further easing of our public health policies based on increasing vaccination rates and low case counts, as well as the expiration of the majority of New Jersey’s COVID-19 executive orders on July 4, 2021. Most notably, this includes the lifting of the indoor mask mandate on campus.
With your help, we continue to work toward the full resumption of residential teaching and research for the fall semester. The critical aspect of achieving this goal is the vaccination rate among our employees, and we have made phenomenal progress on this front.
But there is still work to do. As a reminder, all employees and students must receive the final dose of their chosen vaccine no later than August 1, 2021. This is a University requirement. Employees and students participating in asymptomatic testing must continue to do so until further notice, regardless of vaccination status.
We are also pleased to announce that we are able to ease restrictions on events and gatherings hosted by University staff, students and/or faculty. This includes University-sponsored conferences, performances, athletics events, as well as services in our chapel. Starting August 1, 2021, such indoor and outdoor gatherings will no longer have size restrictions due to COVID, and may include visitors as well as University staff, students and/or faculty.
Academic, administrative and residential buildings will remain accessible to faculty, staff and students by card access only. Select groups and visitors including prospective students, faculty, postdoctoral fellows and staff may be granted limited access with a faculty or staff sponsor.
While here in the United States we are seeing the benefits of widespread vaccination, the reality beyond our borders remains far more complex and generally less positive. As a result of these realities, we will maintain the restrictions on University-sponsored travel imposed in April at least through the summer.
As we look ahead toward the fall semester, we are already welcoming new graduate students and Freshman Scholars Institute students to our campus, and anticipate the full arrival of undergraduate students starting in mid-August. As of July 6, 2021, all fully vaccinated students will be tested once weekly, and students not yet fully vaccinated will continue to test twice weekly. Arrival quarantine will not be required, with the exception of unvaccinated students arriving from international locations.
The easing of public health restrictions for the University community has been made possible by the tireless efforts of our public health team and our employees’ compliance with those policies. We thank you for your patience and perseverance as we continue to navigate this pandemic.
We expect that all faculty and staff will return to work on campus by Opening Exercises on August 29. Please follow your department’s guidance about specific plans for returning.
Further detail on public health updates is provided below.
VACCINATION STATUS AND VACCINE REQUIREMENT
- All employees must have updated VacStatus by July 1, 2021. Employees who have not updated VacStatus will lose access to campus buildings and may face disciplinary action.
- Employees who are not yet vaccinated, and who have not been granted a religious or medical accommodation, must receive the final dose of their chosen vaccine no later than August 1, 2021. Otherwise, they must speak with HR or DOF and their managers to determine if a period of paid leave (using their own accrued time) or unpaid leave is operationally feasible, after which they must be fully vaccinated to return to the workplace.
EASING OF PUBLIC HEALTH RESTRICTIONS
- As of July 4, 2021, face coverings are no longer required on campus, indoors or outdoors.
- People who feel more comfortable wearing a mask may certainly do so; we encourage a culture in which we don’t judge one another and make no assumptions about mask-wearing.
- While face coverings are not required for employees who are not yet fully vaccinated, we recommend them to protect your own health and safety.
- Face coverings will continue to be required on TigerTransit in accordance with state guidance.
- Social distancing is no longer required indoors or outdoors. The occupancy limits imposed for public health purposes are no longer needed.
RETURNING TO WORK THIS SUMMER
- Employees who have been working remotely should work with their manager to plan their return to their campus workplace at some point between now and August 29 and to enroll in the asymptomatic testing program.
- Please follow your department’s guidance about specific plans for returning.
TESTING OF EMPLOYEES
- As of July 6, 2021, fully vaccinated employees verified through VacStatus and active on campus will be tested once weekly.
- As of July 6, 2021, employees who are not yet fully vaccinated (as captured in VacStatus) and who are working on campus must be tested twice weekly.
- The University may, at its discretion, adjust testing frequency in response to public health conditions on campus or the local area.
DAILY SYMPTOM CHECK
- As of July 6, 2021, employees who are vaccinated are no longer required to submit a Daily Symptom Check before coming to campus. Do not come to work if you have COVID-19 symptoms, including fever, cough, difficulty breathing, new loss of taste or smell, muscle or body aches, etc. even if you are fully vaccinated.
- Unvaccinated employees must continue to use the Daily Symptom Check before coming to campus.
EVENTS & GATHERINGS
- Beginning on August 1, 2021, indoor and outdoor gatherings of any size hosted by University staff, students and/or faculty, on or off campus, will be permitted and do not require approval by the Gatherings Review Team.
- Attendees at these gatherings may include visitors as well as University staff, students and/or faculty.
- All attendees, regardless of their vaccination status, should take the steps they feel appropriate to protect themselves while attending an event that could include unvaccinated people. These steps may include choosing not to attend the event in person or wearing a mask at the event.
- The University expects unvaccinated visitors to wear face coverings. Attendees, however, should be made aware by the event sponsors/hosts that event attendees will not be monitored for compliance with recommended behaviors and that social distancing may not be possible for them depending on the event location.
- The University staff, students and/or faculty who sponsor/host these events are responsible for communicating the parameters above to event participants.
- All events should be scheduled through the EMS web app scheduling.princeton.edu for reservable spaces.
- Academic, administrative and residential buildings will remain accessible to faculty, staff and students by card access only.
- The category of “approved visitors” has been expanded to include prospective undergraduate students and their families on outdoor tours; media and film crews that have been pre-approved by the Office of Communications to enter campus buildings; prospective graduate students who have received approval from the Graduate School; and prospective faculty, postdoctoral fellows and staff who have received approval from the administrative department head of the University employee sponsoring the visitor.
- Faculty and staff who wish to sponsor a visitor not included in the above list may request an exception from their respective administrative department head or manager.
- For more information about visitors and for answers to other frequently asked questions, please visit Environmental Health and Safety’s website.
- New graduate students begin arriving July 1 and the majority of undergraduate students will begin arriving in mid-August, with first year students arriving by August 21 and students in other classes arriving by August 28.
- As of July 6, 2021, all fully vaccinated students will be tested once weekly and students not yet fully vaccinated will continue to test twice weekly. The University may, at its discretion, adjust testing frequency in response to public health conditions on campus or in the local area.
- Quarantine will not be required, with the exception of unvaccinated students arriving from international locations.
- Undergraduate students will not be required to sign a Social Contract, but all members of the University community are expected to follow all applicable federal, state and local laws and executive orders designed to safeguard public health.
- We will maintain through the summer the restrictions on university-sponsored travel imposed in April.
- Looking ahead, the Global Safety & Security unit is working closely with the Office of International Programs to approve a handful of study abroad opportunities in a limited number of locations for the fall semester.
- In mid-July, we will release revised travel guidelines for the fall semester.
- We anticipate further normalizing travel within the United States, but international travel will almost certainly be subject to significant constraints at least through the end of 2021.
OUTLOOK FOR THE FALL
- We expect classes to be taught in person.
- The University remote work arrangements made in response to the pandemic will conclude by Sunday, August 29.
- Consistent with the prevailing public health protocols, all University facilities, including classrooms, teaching and research laboratories, libraries, common spaces, and administrative and research spaces, will operate at full capacity.
- Campus housing will resume normal occupancy.
- Dining halls and cafes will open with no limits on indoor dining.
- Off-campus, student-run eating clubs will reopen.
- Varsity and recreational sports will resume within the parameters set by NCAA and the Ivy League. Consistent with the majority of Ivy League institutions, spectators will be permitted to attend athletic competitions at Princeton, with no vaccination requirement.
- In-person student activities will resume.
- Conferences and events that include visitors will be permitted.
NOTE: The information in this memo is not yet fully reflected throughout the Human Resources website. Updates will be made on an ongoing basis as we prepare to return to campus.