Rutgers University in New Jersey will continue requiring masks and vaccinations for its fall semester due to COVID-19 and monkeypox, the school announced Tuesday.
“As we return for the fall semester and a full repopulation of our campuses, we continue to monitor the effects of the COVID-19 and the monkeypox viruses. Each is different and unique, but both have tremendous potential to affect the health and well-being of our community,” Rutgers Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Antonio Calcado wrote in a letter to the school community Tuesday. “It is clear that the COVID-19 virus, in some form, is now a permanent part of our daily lives. As the virus moves from pandemic to endemic, Rutgers continues to maintain its COVID-19 safety protocols on face coverings, vaccines and boosters, testing, and quarantining and isolation.”
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, is the oldest and among the nation’s highest ranked schools in the New York/New Jersey metropolitan area with main locations in New Brunswick, Newark, and Camden, New Jersey, and has an enrollment of almost 70,000 students, according to the university.
The protocols the school has in place for COVID-19 include mandating wearing masks “in all indoor teaching spaces, libraries, and clinical settings,” and requiring all students and employees to be “fully” vaccinated and boosted.
The school also requires the records of the vaccinations to be uploaded to the school, and proof of vaccination, or a negative PCR test within 72 hours to enter indoor events, the letter said.
While the protocols for the COVID-19 virus are detailed, the letter said the school will not be offering vaccination or treatment from monkeypox.
“The monkeypox virus is a significant new public health concern in the U.S. that should be taken seriously. It is very different from COVID-19. Unlike COVID-19, which is very contagious and is spread primarily via a respiratory route, monkeypox is much less contagious and is typically spread through close skin-to-skin contact with an infected person and not by casual exposure,” the letter said. “Commercial testing for those presenting symptoms and antiviral treatments are already available. Additionally, there is a safe and effective monkeypox vaccine, which can be given even in the first few days after exposure. However, both antiviral treatments and vaccine are still in short supply. Individuals should contact and consult with their physicians if they suspect that they may have contracted or been exposed to monkeypox. The university does not have access to monkeypox vaccine and will not be offering treatment.”
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