April 15, 2021
President’s Update – Fall 2021 Semester
Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,
Last month, I wrote that we are planning to welcome all students back to our New Jersey campuses this fall and return to in-person student experiences for courses, residential living, co-curricular activities, and related services.
Course registration for the fall began on Tuesday, April 13, and I know many of you want to learn more about what the semester will look like. The pandemic remains a challenge in our region, but as more and more people are vaccinated, we are optimistic that we can plan for a fall semester that will be much closer to the normal daily in-person exchanges and interactions that we are used to.
The key to returning to something close to normal is vaccinations. As more colleges and universities are announcing, FDU will require all students who attend either the Metropolitan or Florham campus to be fully vaccinated before the fall semester begins (“fully vaccinated” means that two weeks have elapsed after the final injection of a vaccine). This will include all students who will be on campus to live, attend classes, or engage in any in-person activities.
We are also considering this requirement for faculty and staff and will make that determination shortly. While we will of course allow exemptions for medical and religious reasons when warranted, we expect that the vast majority of students, faculty, and staff will be fully vaccinated by the time we open in the fall, and that our campuses will have reached herd immunity by then, which may allow us to relax space restrictions in classrooms, residence halls, and other areas in accordance with prevailing guidelines.
Students may register for courses now as scheduled but will be required to upload a copy of their vaccination card to Medicat, the University’s health information portal, verifying that they are fully vaccinated before the start of the fall semester. A form will be provided in Medicat for those who wish to request an exemption. These processes in Medicat will be available shortly.
We continue to urge everyone, including faculty and staff, to get vaccinated as soon as possible. In New Jersey, everyone over 16 years of age is eligible for a vaccination beginning Monday, April 19. We are currently working with regional health facilities (namely, Holy Name Medical Center in Teaneck, N.J., and the Atlantic Health System in Morristown, N.J.) to facilitate vaccinations for students, faculty, and staff who might need assistance. We expect to make further announcements about additional assistance soon.
I cannot stress strongly enough the importance of getting vaccinated. This represents the essential step needed to substantially reduce the risk of infection on our campuses. Moreover, doing so will enable us to return to the in-person experiences in the fall that we all wish to have, and will provide a level of confidence that we are taking all steps necessary to ensure the safety and well-being of everyone in our community.
The vaccines are proving very effective, and with continued distribution we can continue to plan with confidence for the fall. Our plan is that the majority of classes and academic activities will be in person and only limited courses will be offered remotely (with the exception of our normal online programs). You should consult WebAdvisor for specific course modalities as some have been recently updated. Fall classes will begin August 23. We have restored the fall recess (October 11 and 12) and will once again have Thanksgiving break (November 24-26). Classes will resume after Thanksgiving break, and final exams are scheduled for December 9 to 15.