Fall 2021 Return to Rutgers–New Brunswick

Dear Colleagues,

President Holloway recently announced a full return to campus for Fall 2021, with robust plans to protect the safety and health of our students, faculty, staff, and host communities. We are writing today to share our thoughts regarding our return to the flagship campus. 

We want to thank you again for quickly pivoting and leading through change to ensure that our students receive a world-class education at Rutgers. We are especially grateful to those who continued to work in person and provided services that at times may have felt unappreciated. The past year has taken an immense toll on so many, from those who lost their lives, or loved ones, to those who suffered financially or were displaced in countless other ways. Please know that your hardships and sacrifices are understood and acknowledged. We also recognize that returning to work in person, while exciting for most, may still be daunting for others in the face of this ongoing pandemic. Our main goal is always to ensure that our return to a re-populated campus prioritizes everyone’s health and safety.

Telecommuting Update

The most recent announcement from Senior Vice President for Human Resources Vivian Fernández extends the COVID-19 Telecommuting Policy until May 31.

Campus Safety

Our safe return is predicated on the new requirement for vaccination of students, increased accessibility of vaccinations for faculty and staff, a robust COVID-19 testing program, social distancing, masking, and the implementation of appropriate facility cleaning protocols. Our offices, labs, classes, and in-person events and activities will be occupied to the capacity levels allowed by state and federal guidelines and our community’s adherence to health and safety protocols. We are working to create guidelines to support the repopulation of New Brunswick in alignment with all university policies. These plans may need to change based on factors including the progress of the pandemic and guidance from government authorities.

Academic Planning for Fall 2021

For Fall 2021, we are planning for a large majority of course sections in New Brunswick to be taught in-person. Some course sections will be delivered remotely/online, depending on the specific course and school. To allow for greater spacing between students in Fall 2021, classrooms have been assigned reduced capacities depending on room size and configuration, in accordance with public health guidelines. Student study spaces, including in the libraries, will also operate at reduced capacity. The housing application has been shared with undergraduate students, and we are planning to fill at least 75% of on-campus beds, with quarantine and isolation spaces designated if needed.

New Brunswick departments and units have been asked to create a master document to share all programs, events, and initiatives for Summer and Fall 2021. This will provide the data needed to inform decisions about scheduling campus programs and events, develop a phased-in approach to repopulating departments and units, allow for greater collaborations, and leverage economies of scale.

Over the coming weeks we will share additional details about what this transition will look like for the members of our campus community, including information on how to register for vaccinations on-campus.

In summary, it is with much optimism, informed by the most recent evidence-based science and diligent planning, that we are moving toward a fall semester much closer to normal. We very much look forward to this safe return to a populated campus. Thank you for all you do to support this great university.


Chris Molloy, Ph.D.
Chancellor, Rutgers–New Brunswick

Francine Conway, Ph.D.
Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs & Provost

Felicia E. McGinty, Ed.D.
Executive Vice Chancellor for Administration & Planning