New Jersey education officials on Wednesday is expected to release guidelines for the state's colleges and universities bringing students back on campus for upcoming summer and fall semesters.
No hard date was set, rather, institutions were told they can provide individual plans to The NJ Office of the Secretary of Higher Education at least 14 days before the date they want to reopen for review by the state's health department.
The plans must consider 10 key areas: Instruction, housing, computer labs, libraries, research and labs, student services, transportation, dining, study abroad and athletics.
Schools must abide by the following:
- Students and staff must wear facing coverings indoors.
- Strongly encouraging wearing face coverings outdoors.
- Six-foot social distancing rule.
- Sanitization of equipment and materials.
- Allowing students and faculty with elevated health risks to learn and teach remotely.
"We are pleased to be at a point where we can safely begin the restart of campus operations for students, faculty and staff," the office said in a statement.
"However, this restart must be done carefully through an iterative, staged process that balances the desire to move forward with concerns for public health."
Institutional plans must outline a phased approach that complies with our forthcoming higher education guidance, in addition to all relevant federal and state requirements, state education officials said.
"It must also be done in an equitable way, with a special concern not only for the students who need the additional supports that campus life has to offer but also for the faculty and staff who may be members of demographic groups that are more susceptible to COVID-19."
Come July 1, in-personal clinical, lab and hands-on programming at higher education institutions and career and training schools can reopen. Those can only restart, however, subject to the submission of an institution's restart plan and health and safety protocols from their respective oversight agencies, respectively.
The guidelines hadn't yet been released as of 1 p.m.
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