New Brunswick Center

Photo of Middlesex College, New Brunswick Center

Middlesex College implemented various restrictions to avoid any spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) as it welcomes back students this fall semester to all three campuses.

President Mark McCormick announced that the college would require a face mask indoors, regardless of vaccination status.

According to the college website, “An emergency supply of masks will be made available from campus offices if for some reason you do not have one or a mask becomes defective.”

According to the website, students who cannot wear a mask should contact Health and Safety at the college.

Students returning and coming to campus for the first time are pleased with the decisions made by the college on the restrictions.

Incoming freshman Kaitlin Harriet said she was glad to know that the school will enforce the mask mandate.

Harriet said, “I was going to wear a mask regardless, but with a rule forcing everyone to wear one makes me feel less worried.”

Raymond Green, a second-year student who enrolled before COVID-19, said, “Simply seeing everyone wear masks will put me at ease. I have a slight hearing issue, so I hope I can listen to my professor.”

McCormick said vaccination is highly recommended but not required except for students and faculty in the Nursing and Allied Health programs.

José Laureano, Executive Dean of Student & Enrollment Services, said, “Vaccination is strongly recommended but currently not required with the exception of students and faculty in the Nursing and Allied Health programs since there is a separate vaccine mandate adopted by the clinical sites. We encourage students to make an appointment for the COVID-19 Vaccine through the Middlesex County Website. We will continue to monitor and abide by County, State, and CDC guidelines to prevent the risk of exposure to the Middlesex College campus community.”

Juan Hernandez, a second-year student, said he’s proud of his college giving people the choice to choose to vaccinate.

“Whether it’s a political decision or a personal one, the option to take a vaccine or not should be left to ourselves,” said Hernandez.

Several students like Hernandez said their parents got them vaccinated, but it’s good that they were given the option.

As for the other restrictions on campus, some college services will have restrictions placed on campus to prevent any risks to students and staff.

During August, in-person advising was held in the Parkview Room in West Hall where students could safely meet advisors after the staff took their temperature at the intake desk.

Moving forward, Laureano said, “Through the month of September, Academic Advising will be utilizing the Parkview Room in West Hall to meet with students. Masks are required and we are no longer conducting temperature checks.”

Laureano said, “I hope to send out a welcome back message to students this weekend, which will include additional information regarding the fall semester.”

Students are happy to hear that the library is open again and their services will be accessible to them.

Alan Williams, a second-year student from North Brunswick, said he has difficulty focusing on homework while stuck at home. He hopes he will be less distracted once he can use the library.

Director of the library, Marilyn Ochoa, said, “In order for students to use the library, they will have to swipe their student ID to check in and check out at the service desk to enter the building.”

If students would like to use the computers at the library, they can find cleaning wipes at the service desk to clean their space before and after use, said Ochoa.

Vice President for Academic Affairs Linda Scherr said, “The main cafeteria in the College Center will remain closed. Students and staff can purchase food items in the Main Hall.”

Yao Mailin, a student at the college, said, “Before COVID-19, I would hang out with friends at the cafeteria in the College Center. Now, when I have time in-between classes, I don’t have a location where I can just chill.”

Scherr said, “Furniture will be rearranged for social distancing and limiting the number of students who can socialize in public spaces.”

This will be noticeable in certain open study lounges in certain buildings and the library study rooms, which were previously allowed to be reserved by groups, said Scherr.

Ochoa said, “Prior to Covid, the occupancy for the smaller study rooms were four to six with the larger rooms being eight. Now we have changed them to two for the smaller rooms and four for the two large rooms. They can be reserved on a first-come, first-serve basis and everyone in the room must have their student ID present.

“In the past, we used to have several students crowd around the open desks to study as a group, but we will now only allow two students to an open table to study.”

Some restrictions will impact how students and families will be able to cheer for the Colts.

Athletics Director Rocco Constantino said, “Fans will be allowed to attend outdoor games as long as they wear a mask. The policy on masks is mandated by region 19 (National Junior College Athletic Association Region 19) and our college campus policy.”

At this time, the College has not announced whether spectators would be allowed for indoor games.

Constantino said, “We are hoping to have a decision made on indoor games by Sept. 8. The only thing I can say for certain is that coaches, staff and media will be allowed to be at the games, and everyone will have to wear a mask.”

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