June 18, 2020
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Governor Phil Murphy today signed Executive Order No. 155, which will allow in-person clinical, lab, and hands-on programming at institutions of higher education to resume as of July 1, 2020 with enhanced health and safety protocols. Executive Order No. 155 will also allow trade and training schools to reopen on July 1 provided specific health and safety polices are in place. As part of this process, the Office of the Secretary of Higher Education has issued Restart Standards for all New Jersey Institutions of Higher Education that can guide the reopening and assist institutions as they prepare for next steps.
“As we move forward in our restart and recovery, these institutions will play a huge role. They are where our future workforce is being created,” said Governor Murphy. “While New Jersey continues to face the impacts of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, I am pleased that we are able to take this step forward for our students and educators.”
“Sustained positive public health trends have allowed New Jersey to enter stage two on the road back to our ‘new normal,’ and after a period of uncertainty, we are pleased to be at a point where we can safely begin restarting campus operations for students, faculty and staff,” said Dr. Zakiya Smith Ellis, Secretary of Higher Education. “An equitable restart of operations must be done carefully through an iterative, staged process that balances the desire to move forward with concerns for public health. We know many students prefer learning in-person, particularly those who experience hardship and whose home environments are not conducive to online education. As we seek to ensure appropriate measures are in place so educational activity can continue, the health and safety of the entire campus community will remain our priority.”
In order to open, institutions under the purview of the Office of the Secretary of Higher Education (OSHE) must submit plans that demonstrate how they will follow criteria delineated in guidelines to be released by OSHE today. Those plans are due to OSHE 14 days before the institution intends to implement the plan by bringing students and staff back to campus. Trade and training schools, which are outside of OSHE’s purview, are subject to a similar set of health and safety protocols.
To read Executive Order No. 155, click here.