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Montclair State plans for full spring return and booster requirement

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With less than a week until the spring semester of 2022, Montclair State University is in a rapidly shrinking pool of universities across the state of New Jersey that have chosen not to go virtual for the first two weeks of the semester. The university also sent out an email on January 11th announcing a coronavirus (COVID-19) booster request for all students.

According to an article by NJ.com journalist Steven Rodas, The vast majority of New Jersey colleges and universities choose to use Zoom for at least the first few days of the new semester. Princeton University, Rutgers University and Kean University, among other things, decided to take measures to prevent the spread of the Omicron variant.

Andrew Mees, the university’s spokesman, said the university had no plans to go online at this time. He added that purely virtual learning is not an ideal form of teaching.

“During the 2020 lockdown, we learned that virtual-only teaching is not an ideal model for the students we serve,” Mees said. “To help our students stay on track and achieve their educational goals, it is very important to us to offer as many learning opportunities as possible while protecting our community.”

However, Mees said the university will continue to monitor COVID-19 and make changes based on national and state guidelines.

“Of course, we will continue to monitor the situation closely, consult with our on-campus experts on the Community Health Advisory Team, and make adjustments based on the best available science and guidelines from the CDC and the New Jersey Department of Health. “Said Mees.

Montclair State will also mandate booster shoots for all students. The vaccination certificate must be uploaded to the MyHealth portal by March 1st. Students who have been granted an exemption must be tested weekly.

To encourage students to get their booster vaccinations, the school is holding a raffle for students who upload proof of vaccination by February 15. One winner will receive $ 5,000, two winners will receive $ 2,500, and five winners will receive $ 1,000.

The state of Montclair reached 163 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the week of January 6, according to the University’s COVID-19 dashboard, 136 of them are students.

Naj Weaver said she doesn’t think the university is ready for the Omicron variant.
Photo courtesy of Naj Weaver

Naj Weaver, a senior journalism major, lives on campus and said she wasn’t sure Montclair State is ready for the new variant of COVID-19.

“I don’t think Montclair [State] is equipped at all, which is why they just send us back to school despite the increase [COVID-19] Cases and despite other universities switching to online [learning]”Said Weber. “My main concern is that the students are not doing well and the professors are not bothered because they are so strict about their attendance guidelines as if sitting in a classroom were more important than the safety of the students and themselves.”

Jared Tauber believes that Montclair state students should have the opportunity to study remotely.  Photo courtesy of Jared Tauber

Jared Tauber believes that Montclair state students should have the opportunity to study remotely.
Photo courtesy of Jared Tauber

Jared Tauber, a sophomore film student, said Montclair state students should have the opportunity to study remotely.

“At the beginning of spring there was a lot of debate about in-person versus online learning, but I think Montclair [State] Needs is flexibility, ”said Tauber. “Those who are uncomfortable should not be required to do so, but those who are vaccinated and willing to wear a mask and wash their hands should be able to return safely if they so choose.”

Dr. Stephanie Silvera, a public health professor specializing in epidemiology, encourages students to use the Hawk Check survey as it provides vital information not only for the school but also for local and state health organizations to help track the spread of the virus .

“I will not mince my words: not taking part in the hawk check is pretty selfish and endangers the entire community,” said Silvera. “This is a time when we need to work together to keep the campus safe.”

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