NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - Rutgers is canceling classes Thursday and Friday and will move all course instruction online when students return from spring break on March 23, the university announced today.

The shutdown of the university comes in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak that claimed the first New Jersey resident earlier today.

The 16,000 students living in residence halls in New Brunswick and Piscataway, as well as the students on the Newark and Camden campuses, are instructed to leave as soon as possible and are encouraged to remain off campus until at least Friday, April 3.

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The university's instructors are expected to be in contact with their students regarding their plans for remote instruction prior to March 23.

In a statement released minutes ago from President Robert Barchi's office, the university is canceling events and in-person meetings involving groups larger than 15 people until at least April 1.

Groups with events scheduled after April 15 are urged by the university to begin considering alternative plans in case future events need to be canceled or postponed.

Athletic directors are instructed to follow the guidance of their respective athletic conferences.

The shutdown of the state university comes hours after Gov. Phil Murphy announced the coronavirus claimed its first Garden State resident.

The governor said the victim was a man in his 60s from Bergen County who was admitted to Hackensack University Medical Center on March 6.

“We are sad to report the first death in a case of COVID-19 in New Jersey,” Murphy said in a statement. “Our prayers are with the family during this difficult time. We remain vigilant to doing all we can — across all levels of government — to protect the people of New Jersey.”

The number of COVID-19 cases in New Jersey increased to 15 on Tuesday, four more than Monday's total, according to the Governor's office.

Here is the full instruction from the letter from Barchi's office:

Classroom Instruction at Rutgers – Camden, Newark, and New Brunswick

  • Beginning Thursday, March 12, through the end of spring break on Sunday, March 22, all classes are canceled.
  • Beginning Monday, March 23, through at least Friday, April 3, all course instruction will be delivered remotely. All face-to-face instruction is suspended. This includes any class meetings.
  • Individual instructors are expected to be in contact with their students regarding their plans for remote instruction prior to March 23.

Instruction at Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences

  • Courses at RBHS will continue as scheduled.
  • Beginning Monday, March 16, all RBHS classes with more than 15 participants will be provided remotely. RBHS deans from the relevant schools will be in touch with students regarding more detailed plans for remote instruction.
  • Please note there will be no change to clinical rotations and clinical instruction.

Campus Activities

  • Students living in residence halls should leave campus as soon as possible. Students are strongly encouraged to remain off campus through April 3. The University understands that leaving campus may not be possible or prudent for everyone, and we encourage anyone with concerns to contact the student housing office on your campus.
  • Beginning Thursday, March 12, Rutgers events and in-person meetings involving groups larger than 15 participants are canceled through April 15. Guidance related to this policy will be reviewed again by April 1.
  • Groups with events scheduled after April 15 are urged to begin considering alternative plans in case future events will need to be canceled or postponed.
  • No new non-essential events should be scheduled until further notice.
  • Athletic directors are instructed to follow the guidance of their respective athletic conferences.

Travel

  • We strongly suggest that all members of the Rutgers community reconsider any upcoming domestic travel, especially to areas where there has been a significant incidence of COVID-19.
  • All Rutgers-led international spring break programs are canceled.
  • All students in third-party study abroad programs are strongly encouraged to return.
  • All international travel sponsored by Rutgers is suspended.
  • Any member of our community returning from a country designated Level 3 by the CDC is required to self-isolate for 14 days before returning to campus.

Faculty and Staff

  • University offices, labs and services will remain open during this time period.
  • Employees are strongly encouraged to use teleconference services, such as Webex, in lieu of in-person meetings.
  • Guidance from University Human Resources will be forthcoming advising staff on appropriate telecommuting practices, employee leave management, and related workplace questions.
  • Specific guidance for healthcare workers who have direct contact with patients will be forthcoming from the Executive Vice President of Health Affairs.
  • Please take steps to protect your health and the health of your coworkers by following guidance on prevention and care. If you feel unwell, please stay home.