The COVID-19 pandemic has caused unprecedented disruption to campus life at The College of New Jersey. In mid-March, instruction moved online and all but essential staff are working remotely. Fewer than 50 students, who were granted special permission to remain in residence, are living on campus.
“Sadly, the odds have become impossibly long for a robust on-campus spring semester,” wrote President Kathryn Foster in a March 20 message to students, staff, and faculty. “Governor Murphy has directed colleges and universities in New Jersey to implement remote instruction until the state health department deems it safe to return to in-person instruction. In these circumstances, we have determined with disappointment yet necessity that we must extend remote instruction through the end of spring semester 2020 and cancel all remaining campus events through the end of this semester.”
Foster acknowledged the heartbreak this causes, especially for seniors, who were anticipating the traditional rites of passage that spring brings. With this in mind, Foster has committed to a two-phase commencement. The first, a “remote yet intimate” event will take place on May 21, the date the ceremony was originally scheduled to take place. The second will be an in-person, on-campus academic ceremony where students will join their fellow graduates to celebrate their achievements. The date for this is being determined.
This pandemic has also caused unforeseen financial hardships to students and their families. In response, the college has established the Lions Aid Scholarship Fund, which will provide scholarship money dedicated to helping students that experienced a hardship caused by COVID-19. If you have the means to do so, please consider helping our deserving TCNJ students during this difficult time.
The Office of Alumni Engagement is working to connect with seniors during the spring semester with their Seniors Strong – TCNJ Class of 2020 campaign. The team has a variety of activities planned across social media, including picture collages, webinars, career counseling services, alumni mentor matching, and contests.
Alumni are also encouraged to send and share 15-second videos expressing well wishes and best of luck to the Class of 2020. Videos can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org with your full name and class year in the subject line.
Despite the extraordinary challenges presented by this public health crisis, the college remains focused on its goal to prepare students to be successful and well-rounded leaders. With your help and engagement, we can instill meaningful and positive memories for students, faculty, and staff by practicing community care and showcasing our spirit and resilience.
To stay up-to-date about the college’s latest response to COVID-19, please visit the college’s website.