University President Jonathan Holloway sent an email to the Rutgers community this week regarding additional updates on fall semester plans involving coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccination rates and campus town halls.
“I intend to keep you updated in the weeks leading up to the fall semester as we prepare for a safe and full return to our campuses,” he said. “Please know that the University continues to monitor the public health guidance of the federal and state authorities, although there are times when we will exceed those guidelines in order to ensure your health and safety.”
In regards to vaccination rates, Holloway said Rutgers students have now reached a 99.5 percent rate of compliance with the COVID-19 vaccine requirement. This percentage also includes a small group of individuals, approximately 1.2 percent out of 71,000 students, who applied for and received exemptions for medical or religious purposes.
In addition, Holloway said that over the past week the number of faculty and staff vaccination uploads has largely increased. For instance, he said updated records show that 97 percent of the American Association of University Professors and American Federation of Teachers regular faculty are fully vaccinated, partially vaccinated or waived from vaccination.
He said faculty and staff vaccination rates overall have reached 82 percent as the University continues to work to increase these numbers, and those who are not yet vaccinated or scheduled to be vaccinated are strongly encouraged to do so as soon as possible.
“With such strong vaccination numbers among our population, especially our student body, Rutgers continues to be one of the safest places in New Jersey,” Holloway said. “And because we are keeping in place safety measures including required face-coverings indoors, weekly testing for unvaccinated individuals and physical distancing in office environments, our faculty members can feel confident in our commitment to their health as they return to their classrooms and offices.”
Additionally, Holloway said the University held virtual town hall meetings for each of the three campuses this week. He said the meetings were held to provide Rutgers community members with the chance to hear from Executive Vice President Antonio M. Calcado, as well as other senior leaders, following all of the recent messages regarding fall plans.
“These town halls have enabled our community to ask good questions and receive clear answers, some of which will inform updates of our Guide to Returning to Rutgers. I will be in touch again next week with continued updates, and with any information culled from the town halls that would be beneficial to reinforce with our entire community,” he said.