MONTCLAIR, NJ - Three employees of Montclair State University have tested positive for COVID-19, officials announced.

Montclair State University Health Center Director Patricia Ruiz, informed the public Wednesday that two new cases of COVID-19 were confirmed. According to a release, both employees, who are home recovering, were last on campus respectively Friday, March 6 and Thursday, March 12. The first case is a person who worked in an office located at 855 Valley Road. The employee was last in the office on Thursday, March 12 and was not hospitalized, but is recovering at home.

Earlier this week, officials announced that online instruction will begin on Monday, March 23. They stated that residence halls are not closing and that all students are welcome to stay.

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The University has responded by establishing a coronavirus web page:

https://www.montclair.edu/university-health-center/coronavirus/

All employees who work in this person’s office and another campus office s/he visited frequently were notified and are being placed on quarantine until Monday March 30, providing there are no symptoms. Since the employees are not ill, MSU officials state that they will be working remotely. 

The following details were published by MSU staff:

Both offices are being closed and will be deep cleaned and disinfected following CDC and OSHA guidelines. In addition, public bathrooms in the Valley Road building, used by other work groups, have already been disinfected.

The Public Health Department is gathering information and will reach out directly to any individuals who may need to be interviewed.

The second reported case is an employee who was last on campus on Friday, March 6. The person is a resident of New York City and is recovering at home. The University has no further details to share at this time.

For reasons of health privacy, the University cannot provide additional details about either case.

The University has implemented social distancing strategies to reduce the risk of the virus spreading, and it strongly encourages all faculty, staff, students and visitors to take precautions to protect their health and the health of others.

The novel coronavirus is thought to spread mainly from person to person in the following ways:

  • Between people who are in close contact with one another, which the CDC defines as:
    • being within approximately 6 feet (2 meters) of a COVID-19 case for a prolonged period of time; close contact can occur while caring for, living with, visiting, or sharing a room with a COVID-19 case, or
    • having direct contact with infectious secretions of a COVID-19 patient (e.g., being coughed on)
  • Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes and you inhale the droplet.
  • By shaking hands or touching a surface recently touched by an infected person.

As the virus spreads through the world, there will be other cases in our community. Here’s what you can do to reduce the risk to yourself, your family and our campus community:

  1. Wash your hands well and frequently, substitute a smile for a handshake, don’t share eating implements, cups, towels or washcloths.
  2. Cover your coughs and sneezes, stay home if you are sick and seek medical treatment if you experience symptoms such as fever or difficulty breathing.
  3. Take care of your emotional health, get sleep, unplug from the news, meditate, exercise and eat well – these all support your body’s immune system.

Please know that the University has taken many steps to reduce risk, including:

  • Moved  all of our courses online to reduce risk by decreasing the number of situations in which large numbers of people are brought together in close proximity.
  • Using other “social distancing” strategies, such as postponing events, allowing many employees to work from home, splitting up work groups, creating more physical distance between people and using teleconferencing for meetings.
  • Our Facilities staff are cleaning the campus regularly. We are stocking plenty of hand sanitizer.
  • We have banned University-related travel to locations where the risk of infection is higher. And we are not letting people who have been exposed to the disease, or have traveled to places where the risk is higher, including cruise ships, back on campus until they complete a mandatory 14-day quarantine.
  • The University Health Center remains open to serve students with all health concerns; if you are feeling ill, please call ahead before you arrive.

Again, your health is a top priority and the University Health Center is here for you. Please visit the University coronavirus website for updated information concerning COVID-19 and campus initiatives. If you have questions, you can email us at coronavirus@montclair.edu.