Rutgers University President Robert Barchi sent the following email to the entire university community just before 3 pm on Tuesday, March 17, 2020.
Dear Members of the Rutgers Community,
Like all of you, I have been closely monitoring the public health crisis created by COVID-19. This weekend, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new guidance recommending that for the next eight weeks events of more than 50 people be canceled or postponed. Directives urging that even smaller gatherings be canceled or postponed have flowed from both the White House and the State House.
With this guidance in mind, and with a heavy heart, today I am announcing that Rutgers University is suspending all in-person instruction, with the exception of clinical instruction, for the remainder of the spring semester.
All events scheduled at the University through the month of May are suspended. This will include some of our most wonderful celebrations, including Rutgers Day and commencements at all campuses. A final determination on whether or not commencements can be rescheduled to a later date will be made in the coming weeks. Canceling or postponing commencements will have no effect on our ability to confer degrees on our graduates.
These are the right actions to take for the health of our community. But I know I speak for all faculty and staff when I say how deeply we will miss the vibrancy that students bring to our campuses each spring, and how incomplete this year will feel without our commencement ceremonies. To our seniors, I offer our community’s heartfelt appreciation for all you have contributed and my sincere regret that the global situation has required this unfortunate decision.
Residential students will receive a notification over the coming days with guidance about next steps and timing for moving out of residence halls on their respective campuses. Students who received a waiver to continue residing on campus will be permitted to stay. We will be issuing prorated refunds for room and board. Information on this topic will also be forthcoming. I ask everyone for their patience during this process, as our hardworking staff balance this important task against the numerous competing personal and professional challenges we are all facing.
To our faculty and staff, we are working aggressively to support academic continuity, research continuity, telecommuting, and leave flexibility for issues related to COVID-19. Further guidance in all these areas will be provided over the course of this week as we prepare a sustained effort to protect our community while remaining committed to our mission as a public university.
I want to thank every member of our community for the grace and flexibility with which you have responded to this historic crisis. You have shown resolve, toughness, and an incredible determination to make it work. Together, I know our community will overcome the obstacles ahead.