October 12, 2020

Dear William Paterson Faculty & Staff,

It is hard to believe that we are already in the second half of the Fall Semester, and seemingly before we know it, Thanksgiving and the semester’s end will be here. Recognizing that priority registration for the Spring 2021 Semester and 2021 Summer terms opens on November 2 (Winter Term is open now and has been since this past Spring), I want to communicate some important information about the Spring Semester, in particular:
  • The University will continue to offer a mix of course delivery options for the Spring 2021 semester. Information on delivery mode for specific courses (i.e., face-to-face, online synchronous, online asynchronous, hybrid, and HyFlex) will be searchable through the Schedule of Classes. 
  • The Spring 2021 Semester will start as planned on Thursday, January 21. Informed by the science and what many colleges and universities are doing, we will not have a Spring Break, but will instead hold classes during that week and then end the semester early, with the last day of finals scheduled for May 7. We will, however, add another day off during the semester, a Spring recess day on Thursday, April 1, to go along with the State holiday on Friday, April 2.
The Registrar and Provost Office websites will have the updated calendars posted shortly to reflect these changes. Faculty, please expect an email shortly from the Provost’s Office as it informs your furlough planning. Staff will receive such information from Human Resources. 
Of course, in order for us to continue this semester’s on-campus experience and offer at least the same level of in-person instruction in the spring requires that we all double down on adhering to the rules. After a month and a half of strong compliance, it would be a true shame if we let our collective guard down. Yet, there has been a troubling rise in complaints related to non-compliance, specifically failure on the part of some to wear masks over the mouth and nose while on campus.  
As a clear reminder: everyone is required to wear a mask at all times while on campus, with the sole exception of resident students when they are in their residence hall rooms. I cannot stress how important it is that we remain vigilant. We must not draw the wrong lesson from our success thus far in remaining on campus. It is the product of our collective success in following the rules. It is not a reason to relax our commitment to keeping ourselves and each other safe. I am sensitive to the fact the mask wearing has become highly politized, but our success has been driven by our willingness to follow the science. Science has proven that the best defense against the spread of COVID-19 is wearing a mask over your nose and mouth. Let us remain care takers of each other in this regard.
This week’s WPWe are Proud – William Paterson University has been awarded a five-year $1 million Scholarships-in-STEM grant from the National Science Foundation to support students majoring in mathematics and computer science. The grant will help increase STEM degree completion by low-income, high-achieving undergraduates with demonstrated financial need through scholarships and mentoring. Over its five-year duration, the grant will support 26 first-year and transfer students who are pursuing bachelor’s degrees in mathematics, computer science, or computer information technology. Congratulations to everyone who worked on securing this important grant
Have a great week!
Richard J. Helldobler, PhD