The end of spring break marks the beginning of virtual instruction, and the University highlighted the March 23 transition with a video message of students — each in their own video grids — singing “Old Nassau.” A number of resources are available to students, faculty, and staff to help with the transition, including an updated FAQ page for the fewer than 500 undergraduate students remaining on campus.
Princeton’s University Health Services (UHS) released updated numbers on the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) to the community. A total of 15 students and employees on and off campus have tested positive for COVID-19, as of Sunday, March 22. There are 30 students and employees whose test results are still pending and eight whose test results came back negative. Students, faculty, and staff have been asked to notify UHS if they received a test and the results, no matter where the test was taken. Seven Princeton residents also have tested positive, according to a March 20 press release from the Princeton Health Department.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy announced updated guidelines over the weekend, which included a statewide “stay at home” order. Dean for Research Pablo G. Debenedetti said in an email that non-essential on-campus research must be shut-down by the end of the day March 23. “In calling for this step, I want to acknowledge the sacrifice that you are making to suspend research activities, whether it is delaying experiments or terminating those in progress,” Debenedetti wrote. “We have not made this decision lightly or without recognition of what it means for researchers at Princeton, including our talented graduate students, postdocs, and other research staff.”
Vice President for Human Resources Lianne Sullivan-Crowley also sent an email to employees March 22 clarifying the stay at home order. It states all employees who can work from home must do so. For those who are essential employees and cannot, Sullivan-Crowley emphasized the importance of practicing social distancing and handwashing.
Many who fall into the category of essential employees are unionized blue-collar hourly workers. Richard Wilder, senior storage facilitator in Building Services and vice president and treasurer of Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 175, said the union has been working with Human Resources to figure out the best way to reduce the presence of staff and ensure their safety. Although Wilder noted an agreement with the University has not been reached, he anticipates scaling back areas such as building and dining services to 25 percent of the staff and other areas to the “bare minimum,” to limit the number of people on campus. University spokesman Ben Chang said in a statement to PAW that all staff will be paid whether at work or not.