Fall Planning

RIT continues to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic in creative and innovative ways. University Leadership has its “Eyes on Fall” and remains optimistic about a fall opening on campus. The first day of class is planned for Wednesday, Aug. 19. (Read the statement from President Munson and Provost Granberg.)

A committee is meeting regularly to review the best and safest ways to organize move-in and orientation schedules for new first-year, transfers, and graduate students. The proposed schedule is contingent on guidance that we are awaiting from New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo relative to the reopening of college campuses in the fall, as well as the direction of local and state health officials and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Once we have the official guidance from New York State, we will be finalizing our full reopening plan for review and approval as needed. As soon as the information is available, we will communicate that as quickly as possible.

On July 2, RIT released the Workplace Safety Plan in response to COVID-19. In the coming days and weeks ahead, we expect to communicate more information on a variety of topics, including a “Student Safety Plan,” class schedules, campus move-in, and more.

Fall Planning Task Force

Task Force Charge: As the COVID-19 public health situation has stabilized and the virus trajectory is beginning to decline, it is possible for RIT to proactively plan for the future, while remaining flexible as the situation continues to evolve. Accordingly, the Fall Planning Task Force is charged with development of creative strategies and contingency plans that will allow RIT to safely reopen on campus and conduct its missions in education and research, beginning in the Fall 2020 semester.

The Task Force will place a strong focus on the best and safest ways in which to bring back the residential academic experience, with public health considerations at the forefront. The plan will follow the latest guidance and direction of local and state health officials, the governor, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We also will learn from the plans under development by sister institutions locally, within New York state, and from across the nation. It is our expectation that some of our planning ideas for the Henrietta campus will benefit our global campuses in China, Croatia, Dubai, and Kosovo.

A return to campus in the fall will require innovative new practices and new safety standards related to places and spaces, and how we learn, study, conduct research, collaborate, and engage with one another. And even with this, we must be prepared to move fully online if necessary.  

In charting our path for a healthy fall return, the Task Force will consult with subject matter experts and will coordinate and synthesize the work of three committees as described below: Academic Planning, Infrastructure and Health Technologies, and Community Readiness. The Task Force’s work will advise the university leadership and the Board of Trustees regarding the educational format, safety policies and protocols, and changes in operational plans for the fall semester. 

Chair: David Munson, President

Co-Chairs:
Ellen Granberg, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs
Sandy Johnson, Senior Vice President for Student Affairs
Ian Mortimer, Vice President for Enrollment Management
Jim Watters, Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration

Members:
Karen Barrows, Chief of Staff, President’s Office
Nicole Boulais, Associate Vice President, Student Support, Programs, and Services
Gerry Buckley, President of NTID
David Burns, Co-Chair, RIT Board of Trustees
Enid Cardinal, Senior Advisor to the President for Strategic Planning and Sustainability
Phil Castleberry, Vice President, Development and Alumni Relations
Lisa Cauda, Vice President and Secretary
Bobby Colon, RIT General Counsel
Bob Finnerty, Chief Communications Officer
Carmie Garzione, Associate Provost for Faculty Affairs
Wendy Gelbard, Associate Vice President, Student Wellness
Jeff Harris, Co-Chair, RIT Board of Trustees
Keith Jenkins, Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion
John Moore, Associate Vice President for Facilities and Management Services
Jim Myers, Associate Provost for International Education and Global Programs
Ryne Raffaele, Vice President for Research
Debbie Stendardi, Vice President, Community and Government Relations
Tina Sturgis, Senior Associate Registrar
John Trierweiler, Vice President for Marketing and Communications
Howard Ward, Associate Vice President for Auxiliary Services
John Zink, Associate Vice President, Global Risk Management Services

Academic Planning Committee

Committee Charge: Given the improving trajectory of the COVID-19 illness, but remaining uncertainty about long-term strategies to manage the public health situation, RIT must develop forward-looking plans for the fall semester allowing for adaptation to the evolving situation. The committee will recommend the processes and structure for delivering an outstanding educational experience for our students. Among the scenarios considered will be a hybrid option with mixed face-to-face and online instruction. The committee will consider size limits on lectures, mechanisms for small-group discussions and projects, extended scheduling, and more. More generally, the committee will:

  • Explore various options for the fall semester schedule.
  • Evaluate different possible modes of instructional delivery, for both undergraduate and graduate education, that accommodate student learning needs, allowing students to deeply engage with their programs and stay on track with their educational goals. 
  • Evaluate mechanisms for optimizing course offerings in the fall to address operating budget realities and the need for social distancing.
  • Consider issues relating to experiential learning, including labs, studio classes, capstone experiences, team projects, co-ops, etc.
  • Based on the trajectory of COVID-19 transmission and evolving mitigation strategies, define dates by which one of the modes of instructional delivery for the fall would be adopted, with guidelines on the modes that would be preferable under different possible scenarios.
  • Support the operational planning for different scenarios for the fall to ensure smooth implementation of any changes to the fall calendar and modalities of instruction.

Chair:
Carmie Garzione, Associate Provost for Faculty Affairs

Co-chairs:
André Hudson, School Head, Thomas H. Gosnell School of Life Sciences, COS
Tina Sturgis, Senior Associate Registrar
Anne Wahl, Assistant Provost

Members:
Nicole Boulais, Associate Vice President, Student Support, Programs, and Services
Donathan Brown, Assistant Provost and Assistant Vice President for Faculty Diversity and Recruitment
Jeanne Casares, Chief Information Officer
Larry Chambers, Associate Vice President & Director, Financial Aid and Scholarships
Twyla Cummings, Associate Provost and Dean, Graduate Education
Carla Dilella, Executive Director of Housing Operations & Global Initiatives
Nita Genova, RIT Trustee
Joan Graham, Assistant Vice President, Institutional Research, Data, and Analytics
Therese Hannigan, Director of RIT Online
Clyde Hull, Professor, Management, SCB, Academic Senate Representative
Chris Jackson, Associate Dean, CAD
Ross Koenig, Assistant Vice President, Budget and Financial Planning Services
Donna Lange, Associate Professor, Department of Information and Computing Studies, NTID
Karen Liljequist, Senior Manager, Research and Instruction, RIT Libraries
Lynne Mazadoorian, Assistant VP, Undergraduate Student Success & Director, University Advising Office
Matthew McKay, Senior Associate Director, Events/Major Programs
Jim Myers, Associate Provost for International Education and Global Programs
Marian Nicoletti, Director, Undergraduate Admission
Todd Pagano, Associate Dean for Teaching and Scholarship Excellence
Maria Richart, Director Career Services and Cooperative Education
Risa Robinson, Department Head of Mechanical Engineering, KGCOE
Jen Schneider, Fram Chair, Professor, CET, Consultant on Resilience and Recovery Efforts
Kim VanGelder, RIT Trustee
Tomicka Wagstaff, AVP for Academic Access and Success
Ian Webber, Director of Teaching & Learning Services
James Yarrington, Director of Campus Planning, Design, and Construction

Infrastructure and Health Technologies Committee

Committee Charge: Operating out of Finance and Administration, this group will identify improvements to campus infrastructure and processes, and new health technologies to help safeguard us in the new reality brought on by the pandemic. Residence halls, dining halls, academic facilities, and public spaces all will be studied and potentially upgraded. Areas to be examined include virus and antibody testing, daily monitoring, quarantine housing and related student comfort services, enhanced disinfection, new food service models, touchless technologies, sanitized air handling, and procurement. The committee will operate as three subcommittees: (1) Infrastructure, (2) Health Technologies, and (3) Research.

Chair: Jim Watters, Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration

Co-Chairs:
Jeanne Casares, Associate Vice President and Chief Information Officer
Joan Graham, Assistant Vice President for Institutional Research, Data, and Analytics
John Moore, Associate Vice President for Facilities and Management Services
Howard Ward, Associate Vice President for Auxiliary Services

Committee members not assigned to a subcommittee:
Dale Davis, RIT Trustee
Vicki Griffith, RIT Trustee

Luke Auburn, Senior Communication Specialist, University Communications
Jeremy Babcock, Executive Director, Housing Facilities
Mike Dellefave, Senior Project Manager, FMS
Harold Fields, Director of Residence Life
Wendy Gelbard, Associate Vice President, Wellness, MD
Dave Harris, Director, Building Operation and Maintenance
Kurt Ingerick, Executive Director, Auxiliary Services
Lyn Kelly, Associate Vice President and Controller
Sarah Klein, Environmental Health and Safety Manager for FMS
Deb Kusse, Executive Director of Procurement
Catherine Lewis, Director, Disability Services
Sherry Lupo, Senior Procurement Specialist
John Moore, Associate Vice President for Facilities and Management Services
Scott McVean, Senior Associate Director of Athletics
Denishea Ortiz, Director, Strategic Marketing and Retail Product Management
Lindsay Phillips, Medical Director, Student Health Services, MD
Beth Prince-Bradbury, Associate Director, Institutional Research, Data, and Analytics
Kory Samuels, Executive Director of Dining Services
Donna Sandlin, Director of Policies and Compliance
Derek Sylvester, Director, Building Environmental Services and Infrastructure
Benjamin Vetter, Senior HR Manager
Howard Ward, Associate Vice President for Auxiliary Services

Matt Campbell, Manager, ITS Systems Support
Jeanne Casares, Associate Vice President and Chief Information Officer
Kevin Dudarchik, Associate CIO
Michelle Guerrieri-Poysa, Business Analyst/Consultant
Lisa Koch, Associate CIO
Kim Sowers, Director, ITS Project Management Office

Kirk Anne, Director, Research Computing
Liz Bunce, Senior Compensation Analyst
Timothy Dailey, Strategic Sourcing Specialist III, Dining/Food
Pat Didas, Assistant Vice President for Audit, Compliance and Advisement
Carla Dilella, Executive Director of Housing Operations and Global Initiatives
Erika Duthiers, Assistant Vice President for Compliance and Ethics
Joan Graham, Assistant Vice President for Institutional Research, Data, and Analytics
Molly Johnson, Financial Reporting Analyst
Jennifer McKee, Director, Administrative Operations
Terri O’Connor, Senior Research Assistant
Denishea Ortiz, Director, Strategic Marketing and Retail Product Management

Community Readiness Committee

Committee Charge: By incorporating students, parents, faculty, staff, and medical professionals, this team will review the readiness of our campus to offer an appealing and safe living environment, robust academics, and engaging student activities. Areas of review will include the development of, and plans for implementation of, policies and protocols for testing and daily monitoring; means of contact tracing and quarantine support for students; potential availability of therapeutics; social distancing guidelines and expectations; health promotion strategies; format for educational delivery; guidelines for campus programs and events; and student support services. This assessment will recognize that extra precautions will be necessary for individuals in high-risk categories and the importance of community engagement with safety policies and protocols. This committee will be informed by and work in collaboration with the Academic Planning Committee and the Infrastructure and Health Technologies Committee.

Co-chairs:
Nicole Boulais, Associate Vice President, Student Affairs
Wendy Gelbard, Associate Vice President, Student Wellness, MD

Members:
Canyon Aspy, fifth-year undergraduate student, RA
Jill Bicks, Parent ‘24
Lindsey Bouthiette, third-year undergraduate student, wellness peer educator
Sandi Connelly, Faculty member, College of Science
Shine DeHarder, fourth-year undergraduate student, President of Student Government
Carla Della, Executive Director, RIT Housing
Zena Dorsey, Community member
Patrick Edwards, third-year undergraduate student
Joe Johnston, Ombuds
Elizabeth Kronfeld, Faculty member, College of Art and Design
James Macchiano, Director of Multicultural Center for Academic Success
Ally Mead, Parent ‘22
Sharon Napier, RIT Trustee
Chi Nguyen, Ph.D. student, international
Dan Ornt, Dean of Health Sciences and Technology, MD
Colleen Peterson, Director of Enrollment Systems and Analytics
Mandy Picioli, Chair, Communication Studies and Services, NTID
Susan Puglia, RIT Trustee
Lucas Randrianarivelo, fifth-year undergraduate student, varsity athlete
Kory Samuels, Executive Director, RIT Dining
Christopher Tanski, Alumnus ’00, President’s Roundtable, MD, Upstate Medical University
Dean Trivisani, Parent ’20, president of Medical Technologies
George Zion, Faculty member, College of Engineering Technology

Frequently Asked Questions

The first day of class is planned for Wednesday, Aug. 19. Read the statement from President Munson and Provost Granberg.

RIT is hard at work preparing in-person, hybrid and remote options for orientation for new students.

Our orientation program is planning to offer in-person activities, programming, and engagement opportunities to connect incoming students with faculty, staff, current, and other incoming students. We also have plans in place in case we have to shift our programming to remote options. We will have flexibility for students who may need to access the orientation content via online services.  

Additionally, we are increasing our summer communications to incoming students through the RIT Newsletters weekly and the Tiger Resource Series webinars on Mondays and Thursdays throughout the summer. New students will be connected with an orientation leader upon arrival to RIT.

All new first-year and transfer undergraduate students are assessed a one-time orientation fee/transfer transition fee to support programs and services related to new student orientation and transfer orientation programs. This fee is charged even if a student chooses not to attend the orientation program. Each new student is assessed an all-inclusive orientation fee that will appear on the fall tuition statement.   

Details about the orientation program can be found on the Orientation website.

For fall 2020, remote options will be available to support students who are not able to attend in person. The fee will be assessed to all students, including those participating remotely. 

At this time, we do not anticipate a significant in-person family orientation. Content typically offered during family orientation will be provided in a series of webinars, newsletters, and other digital formats shared with family members beginning in June. To make sure you are receiving the Family Orientation Newsletters, have your student update their family relationship information at rit.edu/studentcontact.

A committee is meeting regularly to review the best and safest ways to organize move-in and orientation schedules for new first-year, transfers, and graduate students. As soon as the information is available, we will communicate that as quickly as possible.

In-person classwork is expected to conclude on Tuesday, Nov. 24; students will depart for Thanksgiving break. Finals will be held via remote modalities (e.g., online).

All undergraduate and full-time graduate students in a degree program are assessed the student activity fee. The student activity fee supports programs, events, and services that enhance the quality of student life at RIT. Information about these programs can be found in the Student Life webpage. For fall 2020, in-person and remote student engagement opportunities will be offered. The fee will be assessed to all students unless they are enrolled in a designated online program. 

Our Fall Planning Task Force has been overseeing and coordinating three committees, made up of students, parents, faculty, staff, health professionals and others, entrusted to study multiple aspects of a safe return to campus including:

  • Revising size limits on lectures, mechanisms for small-group discussions and projects, extended scheduling, and more.
  • Identifying best formats for lab, research, studio, and capstone experiences with appropriate social distancing.
  • Making improvements to campus infrastructure and processes, and new health technologies to help safeguard us.
  • Residence halls, dining halls, academic facilities, and public spaces will all be studied and potentially upgraded. Areas to be examined include virus and antibody testing, daily monitoring, quarantine housing and related student comfort services, enhanced disinfection, new food service models, touchless technologies, sanitized air handling, and procurement.

We are preparing to have all RIT laboratories, studios, computer facilities, machine shops, and other student-learning spaces open. For laboratory, studio, and capstone courses, we are adding additional sections and/or working on specialized scheduling solutions so students can take these classes in person and access facilities needed to fulfill their course learning outcomes. Many lecture-based classes will also meet in person while some will move to a blended format where students will meet weekly in small in-person groups and complete some course material online. In some cases, where appropriate and where course materials lend themselves to the format, we will move selected courses fully online. Our goal is to ensure that students have a robust experience on the RIT campus.

Because of the impact of social distancing requirements, many class meeting times will shift, which means that students’ individual course schedules may change. Over the next six weeks, modifications to course schedules will be posted. Information will be posted to SIS so that students will be able to tell if any of their classes will take place using an alternative modality, such as a blended format. In rare cases, a class may be cancelled. Should this occur, the department or college offering the class will reach out to students. Students should monitor their email for additional information and check their class schedule regularly. Students should contact their advisor if they have any questions.

We are still working on a date when schedules will be finalized.