By Austin Ferguson
As Rider begins to float the possibility of vaccinating students on campus, positive case, quarantine and isolation numbers related to COVID-19 in the university community continued to decline, with Rider’s online dashboard reporting the lowest statistics in all three categories in at least the last two months.
Rider Vice President for Strategic Initiatives and Planning and Secretary to the Board Debbie Stasolla confirmed that the university is in talks with a provider to administer COVID-19 vaccines for the Rider students and staff. Due to the status of the ongoing deal, the university was not at liberty to disclose the specific provider, though Rider President Gregory Dell’Omo confirmed the specific provider would administer the Moderna vaccine.
“We expect to hear from the provider by the end of the week regarding our ability to provide vaccination,” Stasolla said. “It depends on the availability at the state level, so some of this is out of our hands and out of the provider’s hands. We’re doing our best to be able to offer students vaccination, or at least the first dose before the end of the spring semester.”
Stasolla noted that the potential distribution of vaccines would warrant those receiving them to schedule both doses to be administered on campus, as various health guidelines discourage getting two doses from two separate locations.
On April 8, the university sent an email notifying students that it is “working on offering on-campus two-dose COVID-19 vaccines for students,” attaching a link to a survey gauging whether students have been or are in the process of being vaccinated and whether or not they would like to be vaccinated. According to Stasolla, a similar survey was distributed among staff and faculty.
Rider’s COVID-19 implementation team projected that first doses would be offered later in April and second doses in late May. The email from the university came on the heels of an announcement from President Joe Biden that all residents that are at least 16 years old will be eligible for vaccines.
While the university looks to provide vaccines for students, COVID-19 case numbers continued to decline, hitting their lowest marks in months between April 5 and 11. The university dashboard reported one new positive case for the second-straight week on April 9, four students in quarantine – all off campus – as of April 13 and one student in isolation off campus on that same date.
Stasolla shared her excitement for Rider’s impending ability to provide vaccines for members of the university.
“I hope to be able to share really good news early next week [about vaccines],” Stasolla said. “But there are a number of things that still have to fall in place for us to do that and there are a number of [administrators and faculty] at Rider who are working hard to make this work for our employees and our students.”
Caption: Rider’s COVID-19 implementation team projected that first doses would be offered later in April and second doses in late May.