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Latest Updates: Seton Hall moves Freshman Orientation online

Check back here for updates on the coronavirus outbreak and Seton Hall's response. Have a coronavirus question you want answered or a tip you want us to investigate? Reach out to us at

Latest announcements:

  • Seton Hall has told students to expect refunds in April for room, board and parking
  • The University has extended the pass/fail application deadline to May 4 and broadened the classes that students can take pass/fail
  • The mailroom has been closed to all walk-in business

April 16

Seton Hall moves Freshman Orientation online

In an email to incoming freshmen students, Seton Hall has announced that its Freshman Orientation would take place virtually rather than in-person citing concerns stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The orientation, better known to students as Pirate Adventure, takes place throughout the month of June and includes two days of activities for incoming students including class registration for the fall semester, laptop distribution and their first University Life class.


The email, which was sent from Vice President of Student Services Dr. Shawna Cooper-Gibson to incoming students stated that the virtual Pirate Adventure would last one day and would entail registration for the fall semester, meeting their academic and peer advisers and breakout sessions to learn more about their selected major.

Cooper-Gibson added that activities that require students to be physically on-campus, such as laptop and ID card distribution, would take place in the fall semester.

April 13

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New N.J. COVID-19 cases “undeniably now flattening” but case numbers still rising, warns Murphy

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy and New Jersey Senator Cory Booker tour the field hospital in Edison, N.J. on April 8. (Tim Larsen/Flickr)

New Jersey coronavirus case curve is beginning to flatten after weeks of strict lockdowns and social distancing requirements N.J. Gov. Phil Murphy said during a press conference on Monday. 

Murphy said that the state’s new day over day cases were “undeniably now flattening,” but warned that the total case count in the state is continuing to rise. 

“We have got to hit that plateau, and then aggressively bring it down back on the other side,” Murphy said imploring New Jerseyans to continue to stay home and practice social distancing. “We cannot take our foot off the gas now.”

The news comes the same day that the Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York declared that “the worst is over” in his state, which has been a hotbed for coronavirus since March. 

“It has not overwhelmed the health care system. We have controlled the spread,” Cuomo said, warning that New Yorkers needed to continue to be vigilant in order to prevent future flareups of COVID-19. 

Additionally, the Murphy announced that New Jersey would join a contingent of five other states -- New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Rhode Island and Connecticut – to begin to develop a region-wide council to begin to look into how and when states should begin lifting restrictions.  

How soon lockdowns could be lifted remains unclear, but Murphy downplayed the chances of a May reopening on CBS’ Face the Nation on Sunday, saying that he would be the “happiest guy in New Jersey” if that was the case, but cautioned that the state should not “get back our feet too soon.”

“I’m all for the economic recovery,” Murphy said. “But it’s got to be on the back of a full health care recovery.” 

April 10

South Orange announces second death from COVID-19

South Orange Village President Sheena Collum announced in a statement on Friday that a second South Orange resident has died of COVID-19.

The individual was identified as a "62-year old female."

As of noon on April 10, South Orange has 50 confirmed positive cases of coronavirus.

Collum continued to say in her statement that 100 South Orange residents have been given access to the "limited testing available." These individuals exhibited the required fever and respiratory symptoms. The other 50 tests returned negative. Those ages 50-59 have the highest number of confirmed positive cases in the Village of South Orange.

Collum used her statement to remind South Orange residents of Governor Phil Murphy's newest executive order, which states that customers "must wear a face covering when entering any essential business open to the public, with limited exceptions,” and that those who choose not to can be denied service. The order also states that physical operations of all non-essential construction projects will cease at 8:00 p.m. on April 10.

Essex County now has 6,069 confirmed cases of coronavirus, of New Jersey's 51,027 total.

April 8

South Orange announces first death from COVID-19 as state tightens social distancing restrictions

A woman in a mask walks down South Orange Avenue. The Village announced its first fatality on Wednesday. (Nicholas Kerr/News Editor)

The Village of South Orange announced its first fatality from COVID-19 on Wednesday, Village President Sheena Collum said in a statement.

The individual, who Collum identified as South Orange resident Roehl Cosio Empestan, is survived by his wife and two children. 

“This tragic loss to our community brings home not only the gravity of this deadly virus, but the responsibility we residents have for the well-being of our neighbors as well as our families and ourselves,” Collum said. “The individual choices we make — to stay at home, to wear protective gear, including cloth masks, when we absolutely must go out — these actions are needed to save lives.”

South Orange’s first fatality came as positive cases in the Village topped 46 as of 4:00 pm on Wednesday and as Essex County continued to be a hotbed for coronavirus, with over 5,500 cases of New Jersey’s total 47,000 cases – the second highest in the state. 

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy announced today that New Jersey may be starting to see signs that COVID-19 infections could be beginning to plateau even as the state sees record numbers of COVID-19 related deaths. Still, Murphy warned that the state was far from reopening, announcing 3,088 new positive cases. 

“We need to keep strong and keep determined to see that curve begin to fall and ultimately get to zero,” Murphy said, referring to the curve that maps rates of infection. “That’s going to require many more weeks, at the least, of our being smart and staying at least, at all times, six feet apart.”

Additionally, Murphy announced four new Executive Orders Wednesday which strengthened already stringent social distancing requirements closing all state and county parks, suspending all non-essential construction projects, requiring all essential businesses to keep their stores at 50% of their previously allowed capacity and mandating that all customers and employees wear a face covering while inside. 

April 1

Seton Hall says students should expect refunds in April

Seton Hall students move out of Boland Hall on March 27. (Nicholas Kerr/News Editor)

In an email from the Health Intervention and Communication Team, Seton Hall announced Wednesday that students should expect refunds for room, board and parking at some point in the month of April.

The email, which contained several announcements, said that the University was working through the process of refunding students while ensuring compliance with the proper laws and regulations.

"The process and relevant regulations are lengthy and complex," the email read. "We anticipate refunds in April."

The University said that it would also be moving the first two sessions of summer classes, which run from May 19 to June 30 and July 6 to August 6, respectively, would take place online in response to the continued COVID-19 outbreak.

Currently, it is unclear if other summer events such as Pirate Adventure, the two-day visit for incoming first-year students in June and August, will go on.

The HICT also said that it was in the process of planning a virtual "recognition event" in May to substitute for graduation. The email also said that graduating seniors would be receiving a survey to help the University stage an "official in-person" ceremony.

March 30

Statewide COVID-19 cases rise to more than 16,000 as President Trump extends social distancing measures through April 30

N.J. Gov. Phil Murphy announces in a press conference on Monday a steep increase in overnight COVID-19 cases with more than 3,347 new cases, bringing the statewide total to 16,636 individuals. Murphy also reported 37 new deaths bringing the statewide total to 198 deaths.

Murphy also continued to encourage social distancing among N.J. residents, releasing new numbers that showed even with 31% social distancing in the state that New Jersey will run out of ICU beds on April 11 and will run out of all hospital beds on May 8, with tens of thousands of patients requiring ventilators and hospitalization. Though public health officials sought to assuage fears that the state would not be able to find beds and ventilators.

"Do we have enough PPE? The answer is no," Judith Persichilli, commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Health, said in a press conference on Monday. "Do I think we'll have enough ventilators? I do."

Persichilli added that she also believes that the state will also have enough beds to meet the anticipated influx of patients as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The new numbers come just one day after President Donald Trump announced that he would extend social distancing measures in the United States until the end of April 30.

March 29

New Jersey COVID-19 cases continue to soar as CDC issues travel advisory for Northeast region

Cases of COVID-19 continued increasing today, with the state government announcing 2,316 positive test results, bringing the total number of cases in New Jersey to 13,386. The total number of deaths as a result of the coronavirus has been updated to 161, an increase of 21 from yesterday.

The increase comes after President Trump decided that he would not enforce a broad quarantine on the Tri-State Area, which he was considered previously. The Centers for Disease Control opted instead to impose a travel advisory for the Northeast region.

Essex County remains the second most affected county in the state with 1,227 cases.

N.J. Gov. Phil Murphy took to twitter this afternoon to ask for ventilator donations.

“Our most pressing medical need right now in the fight against #COVID19 is MORE VENTILATORS,” Murphy said in a tweet. “That’s out number one ask and our number one need.”

March 27

U.S. COVID-19 cases surpass 100,000, the first country in the world to do so

The United States became the first country in the world to surpass 100,000 cases of coronavirus on Friday, doubling numbers in just three days according to data from states' departments of health.

The new numbers come on the heels of President Donald Trump signing a $2 trillion stimulus package, the largest in U.S. history, in an attempt to restart a faltering economy.

New Jersey COVID-19 cases continue to rise as Murphy issues call for volunteer medical workers

New Jersey COVID-19 cases continued their meteoric rise today, spiking by another 1,982 positive cases and bringing statewide cases to 8,825. The state also saw an additional 27 deaths, pushing the total to 108 deaths.

In response, N.J. Gov. Phil Murphy put out a call for volunteer medical workers who have qualified training or experience in order to scale New Jersey's public health apparatus to meet demand.

Retired nurses or doctors, nursing and medical students, EMTs, former members of our Armed Services’ medical corps – if you have the training, WE NEED YOU," Murphy wrote in a tweet on Friday.

The Governor also announced that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers would be setting up three medical field stations at the Meadowlands Convention Center in Secaucus, the New Jersey Convention Center in Edison, and the Atlantic City Convention Center in Atlantic City.

Seton Hall students ordered to pick up belongings as state may use dorms to house health care workers

A student moves out of his dorm on March 27. (Nicholas Kerr/News Editor)

Just eight days after asking Seton Hall students to leave their dorms, the University has issued a new request that resident students return to campus to retrieve all belongings they left behind by April 5 as the nationwide COVID-19 outbreak continues to rage on.

The notification, which was sent out to resident students, said that beginning on March 27 and lasting through April 5 students would be able to sign up for timeslots via their eRezLife accounts to return to campus and retrieve their belongings. Students will only be allowed to bring one person to assist with the move.

According to Seton Hall Executive Vice President Dr. Shawna Cooper-Gibson, the order given for students to remove their belongings stems from requests by state officials for the University to begin preparing for the possibility of having to house health care workers in dorm rooms as New Jersey’s fight against the COVID-19 outbreak continues to grow.

“Recently, New Jersey became the state with the second highest number of cases,” Cooper-Gibson wrote in an email to students justifying the order from Seton Hall. “As a result, the state’s hospitals are facing a situation where an overwhelming number of patients overload the capacity of our hospitals to accommodate them. Institutions like Seton Hall are also being called upon to do their part.”

Cooper-Gibson went on to say that Seton Hall will be “working to be in a state of readiness” should the state need to call on it for assistance.

Prior to the email explaining the decision from Cooper-Gibson, which was released several hours after the initial announcement, the announcement was met with criticism from many students online with some questioning why the University would ask students to leave campus only to then invite them back as the outbreak continues to worsen.

“Horrible. Very unfair and unsafe for students. Seton Hall should be embarrassed,” Brett Raichel, a freshman resident student, wrote in response to a tweet announcing the decision. “…this comes at the supposed peak of the outbreak. There is optimism that things will be better after Easter. While I disagree, at least wait until then and see if things are at least a little bit better by then. Don’t force us out a week before Easter even comes.

Cooper-Gibson defended the University’s request and made no announcement indicating that there would be any widespread extensions for students to retrieve their belongings.

“I understand that you may not want your belongings packed and moved,” she said. “However, properly removing items from the residence halls now will better enable us to assist the state if an emergency situation dictates need for our assistance.”

Gibson also addressed why students were not notified earlier, calling the crisis a “rapidly-evolving situation” and that the University was trying to make decisions “as thoughtfully as we can, all while ensuring the health and well-being of our community.”

At least one other school in the area, Montclair State University, has also requested that students clear out their dorm by March 29.

Montclair State University media relations director Erika Bleiberg told The Montclarion as early as March 19 that Montclair was told by the state “to be ready for the possibility that the National Guard may need to transform college dorms into isolation rooms or extra hospital beds in case of a surge in cases.”

It’s unclear when Seton Hall was notified of the state’s request, but an email sent to Cooper-Gibson on March 20 by The Setonian asking if Seton Hall had received a similar request went unanswered.

Students who cannot return to Seton Hall by April 5 are allowed to appoint a proxy who must be a Seton Hall resident or relative to pack their rooms and remove the items.

If a student cannot locate a proxy or remove the items themselves, then on April 15 items will be “packed by a University designated moving company and locked in a secure location on campus.” Students must consent to the process, though it is unclear what would happen if students do not consent and refuse to pick up their items.

“None of us have experienced anything like the coronavirus pandemic before,” Cooper-Gibson said (in the email defending the University’s decision?), “and we are working diligently to provide the best response to keep all of you safe and healthy.”

March 26

New Jersey announces over 2,000 new positive COVID-19 tests, 10 in South Orange

In a press conference on Thursday, N.J. Gov. Phil Murphy announced 2,492 new positive COVID-19 tests, the largest single-day increase the state had seen yet. The rise pushed N.J. cases well past 6,000 cases, topping off at 6,876. Murphy also announced 19 new deaths, bringing the statewide total to 81.

South Orange Village President Sheena Collum also announced that South Orange has confirmed 10 total cases in the Village now, but warned that the numbers may be misleading.

"Because of the lack of testing available, it’s tough for any town to draw statistical conclusions at this point," Collum said in a press release. "While our number may appear low, please don’t let this create a false sense of security."

One week after requiring students to leave dorms behind, Seton Hall announces dates to pick up belongings

A Seton Hall student moves out of Aquinas Hall on March 20. (Nicholas Kerr/News Editor)

A little over one week after Seton Hall announced that students would have to leave their dorms by March 21, Seton Hall announced new dates today for students to come and pick up the belongings they left behind.

In an email to residents from Akirah Fennimore, assistant director for housing operations at Seton Hall, students were told that beginning Friday, March 27 through Sunday, April 5 students would be able to sign up for timeslots via their eRezLife accounts to return to campus and retrieve their belongings. Students are allowed to bring one person to assist with the move.

Students who cannot return to campus are allowed to appoint a proxy who must be a Seton Hall resident or relative to pack their rooms and remove the items.

If student cannot locate a proxy or remove the items themselves, then on April 15 items will be "packed by a University designated moving company and locked in a secure location on campus." Students must consent to the process, though it is unclear what would happen if students do not consent and refuse to pick up their items.

March 25

Essex County to open drive-through COVID-19 testing facility in Newark

New Jersey’s first COVID-19 drive-through testing site on March 20 at Bergen Community College in Paramus (Flickr/Edwin J. Torres).

Essex County will open up its first drive-through COVID-19 testing facility on Thursday in Newark's Weequahic Park in response to the coronavirus outbreak in the state. Essex County currently has the second-highest number of confirmed cases in New Jersey.

Previously, Essex County was served by the COVID-19 testing facility in Union on the campus of Kean University.

The announcement comes as N.J. Gov. Phil Murphy announced 39 new positive COVID-19 cases in Essex County and 736 new cases statewide, pushing the state to over 4,402 confirmed cases. Additionally, 62 people in the state have died as a result of the disease caused by coronavirus.

The site will close on Friday and on Saturday, March 28th when the facility will 100 tests per day. Next week, the facility will open on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and administer 150 tests per day.

“The most effective way that elected officials and public health professionals can get a handle on how far reaching COVID-19 has become is to test residents for the virus,” said Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo, Freeholder President Brendan Gill and Vice President Wayne Richardson said in a joint statement on Wednesday.

Though the testing at the facility will be free to all Essex County residents, they must exhibit symptoms of COVID-19, such as a fever of 99.6 degrees and shortness of breath, must arrive by car, and must register online prior to arriving.

March 24

New Jersey COVID-19 cases rise to over 3,000

Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Health Judith Persichilli participates in a coronavirus briefing in Newark on March 24. (Flickr/Edwin J. Torres).

N.J. Gov. Phil Murphy announced that COVID-19 cases rose by several hundred on Tuesday to 3,675 positive cases and counted 17 additional deaths, raising the toll to 44 individuals.

In a tweet from the Governor, Murphy encouraged people not to be alarmed by growing numbers.

"DO NOT BE ALARMED BY OUR NUMBERS," Murphy wrote in all capital letters. "The more we have facts, the more we can make fully informed decisions, as opposed to educated guesses. Yes, they are big and getting bigger, and will continue to do so over the coming days. But they’re critical to winning the #COVID19 battle."

New Jersey has significantly ramped up COVID-19 testing over the last week, opening four mass testing facilities, and have implemented strict social distancing measures.

In a press conference on Tuesday, Murphy said that he did not know when cases in the state would reach their peak because of the latest social distancing requirements only went into effect over the weekend.

“We need a longer runway to get a handle on this,” Murphy said.

Seton Hall begins streaming mass

Seton Hall began streaming masses in lieu of in-person masses, which were canceled by the Archdiocese of Newark. (Nicholas Kerr/News Editor)

Seton Hall's Office of Mission and Ministry announced Tuesday that in lieu of in-person masses which previously were canceled by the Archdiocese of Newark that it would stream live masses from the Chapel of the Immaculate Conception.

Mass will be streamed live on the Seton Hall Campus Ministry Facebook page Monday through Friday at 12 pm and on Sundays at 8 pm.

March 23

New Jersey COVID-19 cases spike by nearly 1,000

N.J. Governor Phil Murphy announced on Monday that COVID-19 cases in the state grew by 935 cases, bringing the state total to 2,844 cases. The state Also reported seven additional deaths from the virus for a total of 27 deaths.

"This increase is not a surprise," Murphy said, highlighting how the state has ramped up testing in recent days. "As we begin a more rigorous collection statewide, we’re getting a clearer and better sense of how far coronavirus has already spread."

Murphy also reported that one of the newest mass testing centers in the state to open at the PNC Bank Arts Center quickly hit testing capacity after opening at 8 am and would be closed until 8 am tomorrow.

Seton Hall closes all libraries amid statewide order

Seton Hall libraries announced on Twitter that they would close per an order from the Governor. (Nicholas Kerr/News Editor)

Seton Hall libraries announced on Monday that all Seton Hall libraries would be closed after N.J. Gov. Phil Murphy directed all libraries in the state to close on Saturday in an executive order.

According to Seton Hall Libraries' Facebook, "physical collections, including interlibrary loan, are unavailable," but online library service would continue.

Murphy's executive order is part of a sweeping effort to limit the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak which is predicted to overwhelm the healthcare system of the state.

March 22

New Jersey cases close in on 2,000 case mark as Gov. Murphy announces new testing facilities

New Jersey recorded 590 new cases on Sunday, the largest single-day increase yet, bringing the total number of cases to 1,914.

On Saturday N.J. Gov. Murphy issued a statewide stay-at-home order and shut down all non-essential businesses, a significant escalation of social distancing restrictions in the state. Both went into effect at 9 pm last night.

On Sunday, Murphy announced that the state would two more mass testing sites in the state, one in Union, N.J. on the campus of Kean University and the other at the PNC Bank Arts Center. Both facilities are set to open on Monday.

March 21

Seton Hall orders students to leave dorms, gives them three days to return home

After revising its housing advisements two separate times, Seton Hall announced late Wednesday night that all resident students remaining on campus would be made to leave effective March 21 at 5:00 p.m. unless they received express permission in an email from the Department of Student Services to remain. This action taken by the University is a response to the spreading coronavirus (COVID-19) across the United States. 

As late as March 14, the University had been actively advising students via email that they had the “the option to return to their homes if desired” until in-person classes resumed, and advised them to fill out a Housing Accommodation Form so the University could “provide adequate resources for you during this time” according to an email from the Office of the President. 

That guidance suddenly changed on March 15, when an email from the Health Intervention and Communication Team announced that the Department of Housing and Residence Life would be encouraging students to return home if “they are at all able,” and promised to accommodate students who were suffering from extreme circumstances. In a tweet from Seton Hall’s official Twitter account, the University contested that Seton Hall was “not asking students to vacate” their dorms. 

Just three days later, Seton Hall then backtracked that guidance in a late-night email on March 18, saying that they were ordering all resident students to leave their dorms by March 21 unless otherwise instructed, leaving many confused and scrambling to find a way home within the next three days.  

One such student, Will Moll, a sophomore mathematics major, said that his request to stay on campus was denied despite the fact that he is from Northern California and his parents are displaced. 

“I had written in my [housing accommodation form] that I would like to stay on campus because my parents are displaced and there is nowhere for me to stay,” Moll said in an interview with The Setonian. “Not to mention that Northern California is right in the middle of some of the worst of the outbreaks [of coronavirus].”

Moll said that one of his friends, an international student from Nigeria, did receive permission to continue living in University housing. But even his extension, documented in an email, specified that this was only temporary and not for the remainder of the semester. 

Initially, Moll appealed to the Department of Housing and Residence Life for an extension, but “after I saw what they told my friend from overseas, I decided I didn’t want to have to go through this process again in a week or two,” he said, “so I asked for an extra day to sort things out and I booked a flight to San Antonio.”

Moll will now be staying with his grandparents indefinitely despite the fact that he may be an asymptomatic carrier of COVID-19, possibly putting them at risk. 

“I’m inclined to give them the benefit of the doubt what with this situation being hectic and new, but we had precedent being set by neighboring Ivy League schools,” Moll said, citing the actions of schools like Harvard and Princeton which asked students not to return to campus weeks ago. “This whole situation could have been set in motion much quicker. If I’d had from spring break until now to set something up, that would have been much more ideal. Instead, my mom and I were making plans in a day.”

“I mean, it’s pretty absurd that it came to this at all,” he said. 

Moll was not the only out-of-state student who struggled with the announcement. 

Senior journalism major Payton Seda, whose home is in Southern California, said that she was surprised to hear she was being removed from the dorms. 

“I was under the impression that I could stay because they said that I just had to fill out a form and let them know that I had extenuating circumstances,” she said. “But then they sent the new email on Wednesday that I needed special permission to stay. I hadn’t heard anything at that point, but they said that we would know if we had permission by noon the next day.” 

For the next 12 hours until noon on Thursday, Seda, who has been working remotely for her internship based on the East Coast, waited to hear back from the University to see if she would need to make arrangements to leave until ultimately being told the University would not accommodate her. 

“I’m from California,” she said. “It’s a six-hour flight away. I’m here all alone. I don’t have really anyone to stay with here.”

Like Moll, Seda also appealed to the Department of Housing and Residence Life, not for permanent housing but for an extension so she could begin making arrangements home, which was granted. 

“I wish they would’ve given us more notice that we would have to move out of the dorms because I could have better prepared for that,” Seda said, noting that the sudden notice from the University exacerbated her stress. “The way they acted was like it was no problem if we stayed. My parents even called them, and they said it was no problem and that they weren’t kicking anyone out. And that was only a couple of days before they told me that no, I actually had to move out.”

Seda said she understands why the University is taking the measures that they’re taking, but that it is “a little too late” and referencing the female Seton Hall employee who had tested positive for COVID-19

Said Seda, “The chances of that person having had COVID-19 before even presenting enough symptoms to go get tested, they had likely already been exposed to several people.”

March 20

Seton Hall confirms second person from South Orange Campus tests positive for COVID-19

Two people work on moving a student out of their dorm. (Nicholas Kerr/News Editor)

In an email from the Health Intervention and Communication team, Seton Hall University confirmed that a second person from its South Orange Campus has tested positive for COVID-19.

The announcement came just two days after the Village of South Orange announced that a female Seton Hall employee had tested positive.

According to the email sent out to the University community, "the individual was last on campus on March 13, 2020 and is being treated at home."

The email said that the risk of exposure to other members of the community is "low."

"The appropriate health department officials and Seton Hall University's Health Services have been notified and have gathered the appropriate information from the individual," the email read. "They are contacting anyone who may need to be interviewed. Health privacy laws prohibit the release of the individual's name."

New Jersey reports 155 new positive COVID-19 cases, will shut down all non-essential businesses

New Jersey’s first COVID-19 Community-Based Testing Site at Bergen Community College in Paramus on March 20. (Flickr/Edwin J. Torres).

N.J. Gov. Phil Murphy reported 155 new positive COVID-19 cases and 3 new deaths on Friday, bringing the total number of cases in the state to 890 and 11 deaths.

The COVID-19 outbreak has grown exponentially since last Friday, March 13, when positive tests in the state sat at 50 total.

In a press conference, the Governor predicted cases will "go into the many thousands," and announced that the state will further tighten already stringent social distancing measures to stop the spread of the virus, including closing all non-essential businesses, though Murphy said that the plan was not finalized and will likely announce further details Saturday.

Murphy has already implemented strict social distancing restrictions in the state, including a suggested curfew between 8 pm to 5 am, limiting public gatherings to 50 people or less, as well as shutting down all public and private schools, casinos, dine-in restaurant service, theaters, gyms, amusement centers and indoor shopping malls.

Murphy describes the measures as ways to "flatten the curve" of the COVID-19 outbreak, a term used by public health officials to describe lengthening the outbreak to prevent it from sharply peaking and overwhelming hospitals.

The news of the cases comes as Murphy announced today that the state will ramp up testing as a way to combat the outbreak.

"The state Public Health and Environmental Lab is getting the equipment it needs to increase its capabilities to up to 1,000 tests a day," Murphy said in a tweet. "The lab is also developing test-kit components to relieve shortages elsewhere throughout our system."

According to NJ Advance Media, New Jersey's first major COVID-19 testing site at Bergen Community College hit testing capacity only 4 hours in on Friday morning, forcing thousands to turn around and return home.

South Orange reports first two confirmed cases of COVID-19 days after Seton Hall employee tests positive

South Orange Station, typically bustling with travelers, sits empty Friday, March 20. (Nicholas Kerr/News Editor)

South Orange reported it's first two confirmed positive cases in the Village today. The two people who tested positive, a 34-year-old male and a 51-year-old male, are not currently hospitalized.

The two positive cases come only days after South Orange announced that a Seton Hall employee had tested positive for the virus. Currently, there is no evidence that the two cases are related.

The Village said that it is investigating the recent contacts of the two individuals and that anyone who may have been in contact with the infected residents will be contacted by a health professional.

"As the cases in New Jersey continue to grow, it's most important that we continue to follow all CDC guidelines and practice social distancing," the press release said. "The positive cases in our community only reinforce the fact that we need to take this situation seriously and work on a local level to reduce exposure to our neighbors."

March 19

Seton Hall President Joseph Nyre addresses University Community in video message

Seton Hall President Dr. Joseph Nyre directly addressed the Seton Hall community in a video message for the first time since Seton Hall announced the rest of the academic semester would proceed remotely and that graduation would be postponed.

"speak with you today, not to provide an update of the logistics and the steps we have taken, or will soon be taking, to keep the community healthy. Instead, I speak to you today to simply say thank you," Nyre said in the message, which was posted on Seton Hall's website.

Nyre proceeded to thank various groups from the University, including faculty, staff, the priest community and students and their families.

Nyre's message did not address any of the announcements made late Wednesday night, which included prorated room, board and parking passes, delayed graduation and the order from the University to resident students to vacate their dorms.

"We know this episode in our nation's and university's history will take more twists and turns in the days ahead; that's for sure," Nyre said in the message. "But our Seton Hall spirit, our dedication to addressing these challenges, and our caring community of faith will see us through. Together we will continue to move ahead."

New Jersey COVID-19 cases soar to over 700

New Jersey announced that COVID-19 cases had soared by 318 since yesterday, bringing the state's total positive cases to 742.

In response, N.J. Gov. Phil Murphy further tightened social distancing measures, ordering all barbershops, hair salons, spas, and nail and eyelash salons, and massage establishments to close effective 8:00 pm on March 19. They are to remain closed until further notice.

March 18

In an email announcing slew of decisions, Seton Hall says it will postpone graduation, prorate room and board, and remove students from dorms in response to COVID-19 outbreak

A sign posted on the front door of Xavier Hall informs students of housing policies during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Nicholas Kerr/News Editor)

In an email communicating a slew of decisions from the University, the Health Intervention and Communication Team announced that Seton Hall will be postponing the 2020 Baccalaureate Ceremony, prorating room, board, and tuition, exploring broadening the pass/fail policy for this semester, and asking all students who remain on campus in dorms to vacate by Saturday, March 23.

Students who have received written permission from the Division of Student Service by noon, March 19 may remain in their dorms.

Three days ago, Seton Hall stated on Twitter that it was "not asking students to vacate."

"We are encouraging students in residence to return home if they are at all able," the tweet read.

Its unclear what prompted the change, but on Wednesday Seton Hall was informed of its first positive COVID-19 case, an unidentified female campus employee.

The University said the risk of transmission to members of the Seton Hall community remained "low" as the employee had not been on campus since March 10, the last full day of classes at Seton Hall before it suspended classes and moved to remote learning.

"As a result of the rapidly changing situation and the continued spread of the virus, the University is taking additional steps to further protect the health and well-being of our community members," the email read. "This message reflects Seton Hall's commitment to providing as much clarity to you as possible regarding the questions you have raised and how we will operate in the coming months."

The prorated room, board and parking fees was voted on unanimously and approved by the Board of Regents on Wednesday. The details have not been decided yet.

Female Seton Hall University employee tests positive for coronavirus

Caution tape prevents students from entering the 24/7 study space in the Walsh Library. (Nicholas Kerr/News Editor)

A female Seton Hall University employee has tested positive for the coronavirus, according to an alert sent out by the South Orange Village Government on Wednesday.

"This employee does not reside in South Orange and the University is working with her hometown’s local health department regarding recent contact history," the alert read.

So far it is unclear as to what capacity the woman works on campus.

In a statement from the Health Intervention and Communication Team, Seton Hall said that the employee is in quarantine and receiving the necessary medical care. "We are working with local health authorities to identify and contact those who may have been in direct, close contact with the individual since the individual's exposure," the statement read.

The news comes as New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy announced today that the state added 162 new positive COVID-19 tests, bringing the state total to 429 cases.

March 17

COVID-19 cases continue to rise in New Jersey, topping 200

COVID-19 cases jumped by another 89 cases in New Jersey Tuesday, bringing the state total to a staggering 267 presumptive positive cases as federal and state governments race to stop the spread of the virus.

"Today is Day One of life in New Jersey under the aggressive social distancing measures we put in place yesterday to 'flatten the curve,'" N.J. Gov. Phil Murphy said in a press conference. "I thank everyone who is taking these measures to heart, and urge others to follow their lead. If there is no reason to be out, don’t go out."

Murphy announced that he was also requesting assistance from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to build temporary hospitals to house infected individuals.

The Governor also built on Monday's social distancing measures which closed non-essential businesses to include all indoor retail shopping malls, amusement parks and amusement centers in the state.

"I know this is a time of heightened anxiety," Murphy said. "But, we are New Jerseyans. We’ve proven, time and time again, that we are the most resilient people you can find anywhere. If all nine million of us do our part, we will get through this."

March 16

New Jersey mobilizes National Guard as positive COVID-19 tests skyrocket

Governor Phil Murphy announced in a news conference on Monday afternoon that he would be mobilizing the New Jersey to help in "any way necessary" as positive COVID-19 cases jumped to 178 today.

Murphy said that the Nationa Guard's mission would likely include helping with testing, distributing food to children whose schools are closed and converting buildings for self-quarantining, if necessary.

Seton Hall suspends SHUFly, SafeRide service

Seton Hall announced in an email that it would be suspending SHUFly and SafeRide service effective today in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

"In response to the recent Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and CDC recommendations of social distancing, SHUFLY and SafeRide services are suspended effective immediately," the email from Public Safety read. "We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. We hope to resume transportation services as soon as campus operations return to normal."

The new measures comes as the University announced last night that it would begin recommending that resident students return home.

New Jersey, New York and Connecticut announce regionwide curfews in response to COVID-19

Citing a lack of federal guidance, the governors of New Jersey, New York and Connecticut took an unprecedented step this morning, announcing statewide curfews in all three states set to go into effect at 8 pm tonight.

"Amid a lack of federal direction and nationwide standards, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, and Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont today announced a regional approach to combatting the novel coronavirus - or COVID-19 - throughout the tri-state area," a press release from Murphy's office read.

The curfew, which will last from 8 pm to 5 am, is one of several measures the states are taking to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Other steps include limiting public gatherings to 50 people and under, as well as closing all bars, restaurants, casinos, gyms and movie theaters effective at 8 pm tonight.

Restaurants and bars will fully close for eat-in service and move to take-out and delivery services only.

I've said many times over the past several days that, in our state, we are going to get through this as one New Jersey family," Murphy said. "But if we're all in this together, we must work with our neighboring states to act together. The work against coronavirus isn't just up to some of us, it's up to all of us."

March 15

Seton Hall encourages students to vacate dorms

A CDC infographic hangs inside Xavier Hall's lobby. A hallway in Arts and Sciences sits desolate. (Nicholas Kerr/News Editor)

Citing guidance from the Centers for Disease Control, Seton Hall's Health Intervention and Communication Team announced tonight that Housing and Residence Life will be asking students to voluntarily vacate their dorms.

"Consistent with CDC recommendations, the University is further significantly reducing the number of individuals on its three campuses," the email from the HICT read. "Students in residence halls are being contacted by Housing and Residence Life and encouraged to return home if they are at all able."

Students who cannot return home "due to a hardship or other extreme circumstances " will continue to be accommodated by Housing and Residence Life.

Additionally, Seton Hall will be advising all employees to work remotely unless their "presence on campus is necessary during this emergency situation."

Remote learning is still set to continue as previously scheduled until April 13.

N.J. COVID-19 cases soar to 98 as Murphy calls extended shutdowns of public schools "inevitable"

Governor Phil Murphy holds a coronavirus briefing at the New Jersey Regional Operations & Intelligence Center in Ewing on March 13. On Sunday, the Governor announced coronavirus cases had jumped to 98. (Flickr/Edwin J. Torres).

COVID-19 cases rose by 31 today bringing the statewide total to 98, the biggest single-day jump the state has seen yet as public health officials rush to ramp up testing.

The Governor said it was likely that he would announce the shutdown of all 600 school districts on Monday in an attempt to further mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

According to NJ Advance Media, state officials have said that 400 of N.J.'s 600 school districts are already experiencing closings.

"It will take our entire New Jersey family pulling together for us to emerge from this emergency stronger than before," Murphy said on Twitter. "We will have further announcements as warranted. We are committed to being proactive, and to getting through this together."

March 14

Hoboken declares mandatory curfew, ban on restaurant operations in response to COVID-19 outbreak

Only days after Hoboken confirmed its first case of COVID-19, Mayor Ravinder Bhalla officially declared a city-wide curfew set to begin March 16.

The mandatory curfew will last from 10 pm to 5 am and will offer exemptions only for emergencies and required work.

Bhalla also announced that the city will restrict all restaurants and restaurant-bars from serving food within their establishment at all hours and will only be permitted to perform take-out and food delivery service. Bars that do not currently serve food will not be permitted to operate at all.

"As I am writing this message on a Saturday evening, I received a call from our Police Chief Kenneth Ferrante notifying me of a bar fight in downtown Hoboken, with at least one person falling in and out of consciousness, and our police having to wait for over 30 minutes for an ambulance to arrive, because our EMS is inundated with service calls," Bhalla said, saying that the continued operation of bars mixed with the public health crisis would hamper the ability of emergency personnel to effectively respond to calls.

"I completely recognize that these measures will result in substantial changes and inconvienences to our daily lives," the mayor noted. "However, these measures are being taken to save lives and protect our residents."

New Jersey COVID-19 cases continue to grow as Seton Hall cancels nursing clinicals, allows student workers to stay home

Governor Phil Murphy and Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli held a coronavirus briefing at the New Jersey Regional Operations & Intelligence Center in Ewing on March 13. (Flickr/Edwin J. Torres).

Governor Phil Murphy announced today that COVID-19 cases in the state jumped to 69 just one day after President Donald Trump declared a national emergency. So far, only one person has died in the state.

That same day, Seton Hall's Department of Student Services announced that the College of Nursing was suspending the clinicals "for all pre-licensure students" through April 13 and suspended all All Seton Hall Medical School clinical rotations, practica, and all other off-campus clinical experiences through April 12.

Over the last week, Seton Hall students had been continuing to attend clinicals.

Mary Kate Deeb, a junior nursing major, said the threat of COVID-19 infection and spread was particularly high for students who, until today, had been required to attend clinicals. 

"I’m still required to go to my clinical where I am in an oncology unit where patients are immunocompromised," Deeb said on Thursday. "I am potentially putting their lives at risk."

Prior to today, Deeb has said that the university had not provided much guidance to her and other students on how they should be conducting themselves in order to not infect the patients they care for. 

“They said that they might be taking ‘extra precautions’ but we have not heard anything else. I had to reach out and ask because we didn’t really get a lot of information,” she said. 

Work has also been voluntarily suspended without pay for all student workers, graduate assistants. Resident assistants also will not be required to work.

"Student Workers, Resident Assistants and Graduate Assistants are not required to report to work, but may do so if they are well and not under self-quarantine," the email read. "Those individuals who feel ill should seek appropriate medical attention, notify their supervisor, and not report to work."

Student-workers who opt to continue working will continue to receive pay for time worked. Federal work-study students will continue to receive pay for their regular hours regardless of if they report to work.

Student-workers who have earned paid sick leave may use it for illness or self-quarantine.

March 13

President Trump declares a national emergency in response to outbreak

President Donald Trump addresses the nation from the Oval Office of the White House on March 11 on the country’s expanded response against the global Coronavirus outbreak. (Flickr/Joyce N. Boghosian)

In a Friday afternoon Rose Garden address, President Donald Trump declared a national emergency, invoking the Stafford Act and opening up $50 billion dollars in federal funds to combat the virus.

The declaration of emergency will also allow FEMA to begin coordinating a nationwide emergency response to the outbreak and will waive certain restrictions on hospitals which will provide more flexibility to combat the spread of COVID-19.

So far 1,700 people have tested positive for COVID-19, according to numbers aggregated from state health departments and 41 people hade died so far in the United States.

“This will pass, this will pass through, and we will be even stronger for it,” Trump said.

N.J. confirms 21 new cases of COVID-19, raising total cases to 50

Governor Phil Murphy holds conference calls on coronavirus updates with the department of health, school leaders, business community and local and county officials on March 3, 2020 (Flickr/Edwin J. Torres).

N.J. Gov. Phil Murphy announced today in a series of tweets that 21 individuals have tested positive for the coronavirus in New Jersey, bringing the statewide total to 50.

Additionally, Murphy announced that 80 people were under investigation as possible infection cases.

"We’re taking every appropriate step to reduce the spread of coronavirus, limit the harm, and care for the sick," Murphy said. "We’re following the facts on the ground so we can ensure our response is fully directed by medical expertise and sound science."

Murphy also said that the Department of Health and Human Services sent word to his administration last night that 84,000 N95 respirators, 200,000 surgical masks, 38,000 face shields and other supplies were on the way to help New Jersey more effectively battle COVID-19 as the Federal Government tries to stop the spread of the virus nationwide.

March 12

Seton Hall extends in-person class suspension through April 13 as Big East cancels all spring sports, NCAA cancels tournaments

In an email to the University community, Seton Hall President Dr. Joseph Nyre announced that he was extending the suspension of in-person classes until at least April 13, a critical move as colleges and universities across the nation grapple with how to confront the growing threat of COVID-19.

Residence Halls and facilities are set to remain open throughout the period.

A classroom sits empty in the Arts and Sciences Building on Thursday. (Nicholas Kerr/News Editor)

"Colleges and universities in New Jersey and elsewhere have received general recommendations but few specific guidelines from state and federal authorities, who are relying on each institution to make decisions based on its unique needs," Nyre said. "As such, we continue to make decisions where your health and safety remain our priority and will result in the best possible preparedness for COVID-19."

The move comes hours after the NCAA announced that it was canceling its annual Division I men's and women's March Madness tournaments. The Big East also announced that it was canceling all spring sports for the remainder of the season.

New Jersey coronavirus cases reach 29 as World Health Organization declares COVID-19 a pandemic

The University Green remained empty on Thursday afternoon. A hallway in Arts and Sciences sits desolate. (Nicholas Kerr/News Editor)

The World Health Organization declared the global COVID-19 outbreak as a pandemic yesterday afternoon. Globally there are more than 120,000 cases across over 100 countries, and more than 4,300 people have died.

In a series of tweets today, N.J. Gov. Phil Murphy announced that New Jersey's coronavirus cases have now grown to 29 statewide. Murphy also recommended limiting large group gatherings to 250 or less, though he stopped short of issuing a binding order.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo took a harsher step than Murphy, issuing an order today banning gatherings of 500 or more people in New York state today. New York currently has one of the most severe COVID-19 outbreaks in the country with more than 200 cases, many of which are connected to New Rochelle.

Scenes from a closed campus

Big East Tournament canceled mid-game following announcement that it would proceed just one day earlier

In less than 24 hours, the Big East Tournament has gone from a full go with spectators allowed to attend to being played behind closed doors to canceled completely.

The Big East announced that it would be canceling the remainder of its conference tournament at halftime of the Creighton-St. John’s quarterfinal game. The Big East was the final power conference to cancel its conference tournament, as the ACC, Big 10, Big 12, SEC and Pac 12 all canceled their respective tournaments before their teams tipped off on Thursday.

“Following a call with our Presidents and Athletics Directors and additional consultation with the City of New York, the Big East conference has canceled the remainder of our men’s basketball tournament, effective immediately,” the Big East said in a statement. “We believe the decision is in the best interests of our participants and fans.”

Big East commissioner Val Ackerman originally said that the Big East Tournament would proceed as planned with spectators allowed on Wednesday afternoon. Before DePaul and Xavier could wrap up the final first-round game of the day, it was announced that Thursday’s action would be played with limited access to fans.

Seton Hall was slated to take on No. 6 seed Marquette in the final quarterfinal matchup of the day. Not only will that game not take place, but there is a chance Seton Hall has played its final game of the 2019-20 season.

Seton Hall and the rest of the Big East now await word on the future of the NCAA Tournament, which is in serious jeopardy of being canceled or postponed.

March 11

NCAA elects to play March Madness without fans

The NCAA announced Tuesday that it would play all men's and women's Division I tournaments without spectators. (Wikimedia Commons)

In a statement released on Wednesday afternoon, less than eight days prior to the beginning of March Madness’ Round of 64, NCAA President Mark Emmert said that both the men’s and women’s tournaments will be played without spectators. The decision was made after consulting with experts on the risk of spreading COVID-19 in a large group setting.

The games will be played with only essential staff and family members in the building, according to Emmert.

“While I understand how disappointing this is for fans of our sports, my decision is based on the current understanding of how COVID-19 is progressing in the United States,” Emmert said. “The decision is in the best interest of the public health, including that of coaches, administrators, fans and, most importantly, our student-athletes. We recognize the opportunity to compete in the NCAA national championship is an experience of a lifetime for the students and their families. Today, we will move forward and conduct championships consistent with the current information and will continue to monitor and make adjustments as needed.”

March 10

Seton Hall suspends in-person classes, orders faculty to go virtual in response to COVID-19 outbreak along with dozens of other schools

On Tuesday, Seton Hall University has suspended all in-person classes between Wednesday March 11 until March 13. The University also said that all in-person classes and lectures will now be online classes beginning on Monday, March 16 through at least March 22 as the coronavirus continues to spread nationwide.

According to an email sent to the University community from Seton Hall President Joseph Nyre, the University will remain open and residence halls an


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