August 10, 2020

To William Paterson Students:

As New Jersey is likely to remain in Stage 2, in which only limited face-to-face instruction is allowed, at least through the rest of the summer, I cannot yet say in exactly what form we will begin Fall semester courses. While I had hoped to communicate with you definitive plans for the upcoming semester, late Friday we were asked by the State to hold off any announcements until further guidance was provided by the Office of the Secretary of Higher Education. I know this is frustrating, as we all want our Fall Semester experience to be settled. But as the data and science changes, we must remain flexible and patient.
Residence Halls and Library Will Open
Meanwhile, we do know that any further guidance will not impact our ability to reopen our residence halls with reduced capacity, as planned and as allowed under Stage 2 guidelines. We want our resident students to be able to live on campus, even should courses initially be conducted remotely, to both take advantage of on-campus support services and programs, including the Library, which will open August 24, and to be ready to move to the original instructional plan when the State moves to Stage 3. Students will begin moving into the residence halls on Thursday, August 20, as planned, and according to the assigned dates and time slots. More information from Residence Life will follow this week.
We have had to adapt to rapid change often since the beginning of the pandemic in March, and we will continue to do so. I know that the William Paterson faculty and staff are all committed to providing you with the best educational experience possible, no matter the circumstances, and whatever stage New Jersey may be in at a given moment. When we had to shift to remote learning, in March, none of us had any warning. Now, William Paterson has taken advantage of the time to prepare for this eventuality. I am grateful to the faculty and staff who have spent time learning how to better teach and serve our students remotely.
On a final note, as promised, the University will host a series of in-person Commencement ceremonies on campus, starting today. While social distancing requirements mean that these ceremonies are limited to graduates and their guests, please take a moment to congratulate classmates or friends who are members of the Class of 2020. They overcame the challenges of the pandemic to finish their degrees, and I know all of you will, too.
I will communicate with you all again on these matters as soon as we have clarity from the State, but no later than Monday, August 17. Please remember to check your WPU email daily; it is especially important given rapidly changing events. If you have not installed the RAVE alert system on your phone, now is a good time to do so. For more information on how to install the RAVE alert system, see the Emergency Notifications page on William Paterson’s IT Wiki.
For now, enjoy the rest of your summer and stay safe
Richard J. Helldobler, PhD