Update from March 11
In an email sent to the Program in Gender and Sexuality Studies (GSS) listserv — an email list including GSS certificate students and faculty — Program Coordinator Jaclyn Wasneski announced that “all events offered by GSS are canceled between now and April 5.”
Additionally, Wasneski asked email recipients with access to their program office not to use that space.
“In keeping with University policies of virtual instruction and social distancing, we ask that our community members with access to the 130 Corwin Hall Suite please refrain from using the space between now and April 5,” she wrote.
As published on March 10
In an updated statement on the University COVID-19 website at 11:40 a.m. on Tuesday, the University announced that two staff members are currently under self-quarantine “as a result of possible exposure to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) at an off-campus gathering.” The staff members are being tested and results are expected “in the coming days.”
In the online statement, the University stated that they are “working with local health authorities to identify and contact those who may have been in close contact with the staff members since their potential exposure to COVID-19.”
“Work is underway to identify those who have been in close contact with the people being tested, and those who have had close contact may be asked to self-quarantine as a precaution,” wrote Deputy University Spokesperson Michael Hotchkiss in an email to The Daily Princetonian. “This contact tracing is standard practice in this type of public health situation.”
In at least two separate instances, one in-class and one in a Blackboard announcement, two faculty members cancelled classes and claimed they received an order to self-isolate. Students in those classes have independently confirmed to the ‘Prince’ that these cancellations took place.
Lynda Dodd GS ’04, Lecturer in the Program in Gender and Sexuality Studies (GSS), told the ‘Prince’ in an email statement that the requirement to self-isolate was sent by University Health Services (UHS) via email to GSS staff at 10 a.m. today, right before her 11 a.m. class.
According to Dodd, staff members who work in the GSS office have been asked to self-isolate for 14 days.
David Esterlit ’21 confirmed that his class was canceled today as a result of the new self-isolate requirement and that instruction will be moved to online platforms, effective immediately.
Dodd commended the University for its “helpful guidance regarding the transition to online teaching,” and stated she intends to continue to work creatively to ensure high quality learning experiences take place.
“My best wishes go out to my colleague who is ill,” Dodd said. “I hope that the test result is negative, and that my colleague is feeling better very soon.”
“I hope that my students are not alarmed by this,” she continued. “These are wise precautions to take in these circumstances. I also very much appreciate the University's national leadership in recognizing the importance of social distancing to ‘flatten the curve’ to help preserve access to essential health services. We all should look out for others, and that includes measures like this.”
In a Blackboard announcement to their class, another GSS professor wrote to cancel their afternoon class, stating, “I’ve been in contact with someone who is getting tested for COVID-19 and just got an order to self-isolate.”
The professor added that they will be “in touch in the coming days with instructions” about how to proceed after spring break.
“The University also is following best practices in order to maintain the health and safety of the community including taking enhanced cleaning and disinfecting measures,” the announcement wrote.
On Monday, the University announced new policies and practices in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, based on the concept of “social distancing.”
The policies will be in place through Sunday, April 5, at which point the University will reassess them.
On Mar. 9, Governor Phil Murphy declared a public health state of emergency for New Jersey to enable the allocation of state resources “to assist affected communities.” The state’s first coronavirus death, a 69 year-old man from Bergen County, was announced on March 10.
As of 2:30 p.m., 15 cases of the virus have been reported in New Jersey.
Editor’s Note: Due to legitimate privacy and safety concerns, the ‘Prince’ has omitted the names of the professors in self-quarantine.
This story is breaking and will be updated as more information becomes available.