Campus Life

Rutgers announcement for fall semester raises concerns about Stockton’s plan

Just days after Stockton announced that the university would be back in-person for the
fall semester, another New Jersey university is implementing measures to not only ensure that
in-person classes occur, but also a way to ensure the safety of the student body.

Rutgers University will require that all students have proof of immunization against COVID-19 come
this fall. Similar to the forms one must fill out prior to entering dormitory housing and the
academic year here at Stockton, Rutgers is taking it one step further by adding the coronavirus
vaccine as well. In order for students to enter into a dorm or classroom, there must be prior
documentation stating that they are vaccinated.

This requirement for widespread vaccination comes as both President Biden and
Governor Murphy ensure that there will be enough vaccines come May for most Americans to
receive vaccinations. Rutgers new policy is meant to ensure the health of the student body on all
three of its campuses, and to allow for the university to try and thrive once again. With around
70,000+ students and over 80 percent of them being New Jersey residents, this vaccination effort
is meant to encourage students to take both their health and the health of the community
seriously. Rutgers plans on being able to administer the vaccines to students, staff and faculty
who wish to get vaccinated directly at the university once the supplies become available through
the state.

While Rutgers University is requiring all students to get fully vaccinated prior to entering
the fall semester, they will make exceptions for those who file for exemptions based on medical
or religious reasons, as well as for students who will be continuing a fully online course load.
This is similar to the way Rutgers is handling the faculty and staff who are not required to be
vaccinated, but are strongly urged to receive vaccination for the health of the community at large.
The campuses will still require students to continue to get tested throughout the semester, social
distance, and wear masks as per federal guidelines from the CDC.

Masking and social distancing will also be major requirements for the Stockton
community as well for the fall 2021 semester. However, it seems that Stockton has yet to make
any major announcements similar to Rutgers in regards to requiring the vaccine. As of March
26th, Stockton has announced that faculty and staff will be eligible for the vaccine come April
under the state’s roll out of the vaccine, and that the community will continue to submit the
daily safety pledge to ensure that those who feel ill notify the university. Stockton will continue
to offer free COVID-19 testing to students and employees that desire to sign up for testing.
Details are still continuing to come out about the plan for the Fall 2021 semesters as the
University Resilience Operations Committee (UROC) continues to meet in order to prepare for a
return to an influx of the student population. With on campus housing returning to similar group
sizes pre-pandemic, and over 70 percent of the university back to in-person classes, there will
need to be plans and requirements in place to ensure the safety of the community.