COVID Update: Alert Level Moves to Orange

Dear RIT community,

This past weekend we continued to experience a rise of COVID-19. Rates of infection have increased to the point where we must elevate our COVID Alert Level to Orange. This will prompt changes in the way we operate for the remainder of the semester. Please review the Orange mitigation strategies below and on the RIT Ready website, as they have changed since the alert levels were originally developed.

The virus’s prevalence continues to elevate on campus, in the surrounding area, and across the nation. Monroe County set new COVID-19 infection records over the last three consecutive days. The largest portion of new infections being reported yesterday were people in their 20s.

On campus, we are moving several students from a residence hall into quarantine to stem the spread. This cluster was identified through wastewater sampling and subsequent surveillance testing. If we are to finish the semester with in-person classes, we must adhere more closely to all protocols. We will also make the following changes:

Mask requirements
  • Masks must be worn outdoors at all times when in the presence of others.
  • When dining with others, remove your mask only to eat or drink and put your mask back on immediately whenever talking.
  • These masking practices should be followed whether you are on or off campus.
Residence Halls, guests, and visitors
  • All common residential areas (lounges, kitchens, etc.) are reduced to 25 percent capacity or fully closed depending on use type. Specific occupancy restrictions will be posted in the various spaces. In the spaces that remain open, eating will not be permitted and masks must be worn at all times.
  • Students living in university residential areas are not permitted to have guests in their room/apartment. Residents are not permitted to visit other floors or apartments.
  • Students living off-campus are strongly advised to follow the same practice, and not have guests to their residences.
Dining
  • Seating in indoor dining areas have been reduced to a maximum of two people per table, and six feet of distance must be maintained at all times.
  • Dining is still allowed in designated dining areas in academic buildings, as long as six feet of distance is maintained between individuals.
  • If eating outdoors, larger groups may eat together, but six feet of distance must be maintained between each person.
Events
  • All non-instructional indoor events/activities are now limited to 10 people.
  • Outdoor events will continue to adhere to the 33 percent capacity limit and will require participants to wear a mask and maintain six feet of physical distancing.
Team sports
  • The suspension of activities and practices for all intercollegiate athletic teams, club sports, and intramurals remains in effect until further notice.
Performing arts clubs
  • Participants must be masked and maintain distance at all time.
  • If you are unable to wear a mask (i.e. wind or brass instruments, vocalists, etc.) the activity must occur outside and participants must be 12 feet apart
  • Performing arts activities that involve physical activity (i.e. dance) should occur outside whenever possible. Participants must be 12 feet apart and masked whether outdoors or indoors.

We have learned a lot in the past few months about how the virus is spreading on our campus and in the community. This has allowed us to tailor our efforts to those that will prove most effective. The new Orange mitigation strategies are designed to counter the spread. We are not shifting learning to fully online because we have seen no evidence of virus transmission in a classroom setting. The Monroe County Health Commissioner agrees with this assessment and he has confirmed similar findings in other academic settings. We are also not asking staff to shift to remote operations, as we have not seen transmission occurring within our employee work places. Rather, we have seen viral transmission occurring in social settings, between small groups of people, when masks have been removed.

We can see the finish line of the semester. It is imperative that we all buckle down these last few weeks. Please adhere to the three W’s — Wear a mask, watch your distance, and wash your hands. There are no more effective tools than those W’s!

David Munson
President

Ellen Granberg
Provost and Senior Vice President, Academic Affairs

Sandra Johnson
Senior Vice President, Student Affairs

A sign language interpreted translation of this message is available.

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