Policy on Indoor and Outdoor Gatherings, Meetings, and Events

Responsible Executive: Executive Vice President

Responsible Office: Environmental Health and Safety

Contacts: Please direct questions concerning this policy to Environmental Health and Safety at ehs@princeton.edu

Effective Date:  August 24, 2020

In the interest of public health and to reduce the possible transmission of communicable diseases, particularly COVID-19, the University institutes this policy on gatherings, events and meetings among other policies, procedures, and guidance. This policy will be updated to reflect the most recent New Jersey Executive Orders, local Health Department guidance and University COVID-19 testing program results.

This policy will remain in effect until the risk of Covid-19 has been mitigated to a degree that the Environmental Safety and Risk Management Committee determines it is no longer needed, based on guidance from public health experts.

I.    Policy Statement

In support of efforts to reduce transmission of COVID-19, gatherings, meetings, or events (“gatherings”) should be hosted virtually whenever possible. Princeton-sponsored indoor gatherings with greater than five people and outdoor gatherings with greater than 15 people, held on or off campus, must be centrally approved as per this policy.

II.    Who Is Affected by This Policy

This policy applies to all students, faculty, staff, and visitors.

III. Definitions

Authorized to be on campus: Faculty, staff, and students who are allowed to be on campus:

  • Graduate students
  • Undergraduate students who received permission to be on campus for emergency housing, senior thesis research, or ROTC activities.
  • Faculty and staff identified in their department or office Resumption of Operations Plan.

Gatherings refers to meetings, events, and planned assembly of individuals, held indoors or outdoors.

Visitors are individuals who meet the definitions provided in the Visitor Policy.

IV.    Policy

Faculty and staff who wish to propose an indoor gathering of more than five people or an outdoor gathering of more than 15 people must seek approval through the Gatherings Review Team by submitting their request through the EMS web app https://scheduling.princeton.edu. Graduate and undergraduate students may not initiate requests for approval of gatherings.   

Approved gatherings must be conducted in accordance with all federal, state, and local regulations, as well as University policies and public health measures, including but not limited to social distancing and face covering requirements. Gatherings involving undergraduate students must comply with the expectations articulated in the Social Contract.

Only faculty, staff, and students authorized to be on campus may participate in approved in-person gatherings. Visitors, as defined in the Visitor Policy, may not participate in in-person gatherings unless they have received an exception.

For the Fall 2020 semester, to accommodate students who are quarantined upon arrival on campus, no in-person gatherings that include students will be approved during the first two weeks of the semester and no sooner than September 14, 2020.

The event organizer is responsible for conducting or delegating the following:

  • Submitting a request to the Gatherings Review Team at least 10 days in advance of the planned gathering.
  • In-person monitoring of compliance with social distancing and face covering requirements from start to end of gathering.
  • Presenting a plan for social distancing, including the number of staff required to monitor compliance throughout the gathering. 
  • Taking attendance at the gathering.

Building Services is responsible for cleaning and disinfection of surfaces and provision of alcohol hand gel dispensers.

As per the Visitor Policy, outside caterers are not permitted on campus.

Indoor Gatherings

  • Gatherings are limited to spaces that have been pre-approved by the Gatherings Review Team* and reserved in the Event Management System (EMS) by University Scheduling.
  • Gatherings are limited to 25% of the space capacity or no more than 25 people, whichever is fewer. 
  • Campus Dining may provide catering services when permitted by New Jersey Executive Orders and local Health Department guidance.

Outdoor Gatherings

  • Princeton-approved gatherings under this policy that will be held outdoors are limited to 100 people or the current limit permitted by NJ Executive Orders, whichever is lower. Participants must wear face coverings and practice social distancing.
  • Campus Dining may provide catering services in accordance with the current New Jersey Executive Orders and local Health Department guidance.

IV. Exceptions

This policy does not apply to:

  • In-person work or research activities that are approved as part of a department’s Resumption of Operations Plan or an Academic Research Infrastructure Plan (ARIP), or a faculty member's Research Laboratory Operations Plan (RLOP), or are reviewed in relation to those plans.
  • Classes organized by the University Registrar.

V.    Violations

Students found to be in violation of this policy may be subject to discipline in accordance with Rights, Rules, Responsibilities (link is external).

Faculty and staff found to be violation of this policy may be subject to disciplinary actions in accordance with appropriate University policy.

Campus visitors found to be in violation of this policy may be subject to University sanctions, including being banned from campus.

VI.    Additional Resources

Guidance on the Use of Face Coverings provides information on choosing, making, and caring for face coverings.

VII.    Related Policies

VIII.    Update Log

Endorsed by Environmental Safety and Risk Management Committee  August 24, 2020


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