BRANCHBURG, NJ - The following message was sent by Raritan Valley Community College President Michael McDonough to the College community on March 12th.

"For several weeks now, we have been monitoring the progress of COVID-19 coronavirus. We have participated in numerous conference calls with state and federal leaders and with other New Jersey institutions of higher education. We have studied multiple pandemic and business continuity plans.

"Today, I’m writing to inform you about our response to this ever-changing and rapidly moving situation. RVCC is committed to ensuring the safety of faculty, staff, and students and to sustaining student learning.

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"Therefore, I am extending spring break for students for one additional week.

"The College will remain open. Faculty and staff will continue to report. During the next seven days, we will address our most immediate challenges. An essential and key ingredient of this response will be the creativity, the compassion, and the cooperation of the entire campus community.

""Here, then, is our approach to this urgent challenge:

- Classes

""I ask faculty to use the week of March 15-20 to think about and to make plans for sustaining learning should we have to suspend classes beyond March 20. While moving to an online environment is one option, it is not the only option. There are other virtual options, including Zoom and Shindig. There are low tech options, too, including phone conferencing. We will provide training and assistance, helping design robust continuity plans.

- Faculty who teach courses at high schools, prisons, and other off-site locations will work with the appropriate officials to craft continuity plans. Whether instruction continues at those sites is at the discretion of the appropriate site officials.

"On March 20, we will make a decision about the status of face-to-face classes at the Branchburg campus.

- Students - The College will remain open. We will provide students with whatever services they need, including access to computers, advising, counseling, and tutoring. The RVCC Resource Center and Food Pantry will also be available to students.

"We may modify hours or procedures as the situation changes.

"We will monitor facilities to ensure that spaces are occupied at no more than 50% of normal capacity.  For example, computer labs will require at least one work station between students, and testing and tutoring centers will admit a limited number of students.

- Campus Events and Meetings

"Beginning today, all events and gatherings on campus are postponed or canceled. We are also prohibiting spectators from any scheduled sports events.

"Travel - Any member of the College community who returns from a Level 3 country as designated by the CDC must stay at home and practice social distancing for 14 days from the time they departed the Level 3 country.

- Student and Faculty Trips

"All student trips are canceled for the month of March.

- Any faculty who experience financial hardship because of a cancelled conference or meeting, may be reimbursed up to the amount originally approved by the Faculty Travel Committee.

- Employees - The College remains open. Faculty and staff should report to work as usual. Please reach out to HR with employee or workplace-related questions. If you do not feel well, please stay at home.

"Continue to follow CDC recommendations related to prevention.

- Workforce Operations - Our Director of Workforce Training will make decisions regarding the cancelation of workforce training and instruction on a case-by-case basis.

- Communications - Our COVID-19 Task Force meets every day and we will provide daily updates to the coronavirus page on our website.

- We are opening an email box – covid19@raritanval.edu. If you have any questions, concerns, or suggestions, please submit your email to this address.

"We will continue to provide updates and continue to revise our response to this challenging situation. Our goal is to protect the health of our faculty, staff, and students and to support our students."

For updated information, visit www.raritanval.edu/coronavirus.