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COVID-19: Princeton Rolls Out January Reopening Plan Including Tests, Vaccines, 'Campus Bubble'

Princeton University plans to reopen next month. Photo Credit: Facebook/ Princeton University
Princeton University Photo Credit: Facebook/ Princeton University

Princeton University will reopen next month with plans to distribute any new COVID-19 vaccine and create a "protective bubble" over the campus and others living nearby, administrators told the student government this week.

The university, based in Mercer County, will be able to distribute a vaccine to faculty, staff, students and their households as soon as it is available beyond front-line employees like health care workers, Princeton's Executive Director of Environmental Health and Safety Robin Izzo said at a Tuesday town hall before the Undergraduate Student Government.

“Princeton University is known as a fixed facility for the vaccine distribution, so we are prepared and when the vaccine becomes available, we'll be able to distribute it,” Izzo said, according to The Daily Princetonian. 

Dean of College Jill S. Dolan and other top Princeton administrators took questions from students about the spring 2021 term. 

Dolan said it is critical that all returning Princeton students arrive no later than Jan. 17 to ensure the campus is secure from coronavirus outbreaks.

“Otherwise we can't establish the bubble that we're 
trying to establish that's required to keep everyone safe,” she said, according to the Princetonian.

Move-in will begin as early as Jan. 8, according to Dorian Johnson, director of Housing at Princeton.

“The primary reason for such a long period is that students will be tested as soon as they arrive and we have to find a complex that will allow students to cycle
 through, be tested, but also ensure the safety of the staff who will be overseeing the testing clinic as well. So potentially as early as the 8th, but there may be dates later than that,” Johnson said, according to the Princetonian.

A major factor which drove the University to invite all students back to campus was the opening of an on-campus COVID-19 testing laboratory, said Rochelle Calhoun, vice president for Campus Life at Princeton.

Arriving students will be tested at an in-person clinic, where they will learn how to take their own samples. Princeton students will be tested twice weekly, with designated areas on campus to pick up test kits and drop off samples, Izzo said.

Students living near campus, within Mercer County or the adjoining Plainsboro Township in Middlesex County, also will be permitted to participate in the campus testing protocol and will be able to access all campus resources available to on-campus students, excluding dorm rooms and other residential spaces. For students living off campus, there will be test collection areas throughout campus and in some off-campus locations, the college newspaper reported.

Izzo said there there is a protocol in case any student tests positive for coronavirus.

“The student will immediately go to an isolation space that will be in a different dormitory," Izzo said. 

Students will have food and other essentials delivered to them in the isolation space, Izzo said. And their close contacts would then need to quarantine and that quarantine would take place in their rooms, in their own room.

“They would have to stay in isolation until released by University Health Services, which means at least 10 days," Izzo said, according to the Princetonian.

Princeton University President Christopher L. Eisgruber

Facebook/ Princeton University

A welcome back video message from Princeton President Christopher L. Eisgruber (in mask above)  can be viewed on the university's Facebook page here. 

To read the complete article by The Daily Princetonian, click here. 

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