(TRENTON) – Following a meeting of the Assembly Higher Education Committee to discuss plans for colleges and universities to reopen this fall amid the COVID-19 pandemic, committee chair Assemblywoman Mila Jasey (D-Essex, Morris) released the following statement:
“The upcoming fall semester will look much different than ever before. As New Jersey continues to grapple with the COVID-19 crisis, college students, staff and administrators should be assured that our higher education institutions are taking action to protect the health and safety of all. In a COVID-19 reality, this will likely mean a wider array of online classes and distance learning; fewer social activities on campus; less students living in dorms; and increased cleaning and sanitization.
“Unfortunately, the Trump administration has created another challenge for our already overburdened colleges. His policy to require international students to take in-person classes or forfeit their student visas will cause enormous problems for students and colleges alike. Students will need to decide whether to put themselves at risk or find a way to return home, thus losing the educational opportunity they were promised, and colleges will need to choose between abiding by the administration’s unsafe and unnecessary policy or amending their existing reopening plans to protect these students, which is no small feat. International students have done nothing wrong and do not deserve this blatant attack on their education.
“It is the job of legislative leaders to implement comprehensive policy to protect every student working to further their education in New Jersey. The testimony we received today will help us support colleges through these uncertain times. New Jersey has always set higher education as a top priority, and this pandemic will not change our commitment to students.”