Coronavirus update: The latest from President Munson

We know there are many questions and uncertainties as RIT, the community, and the world, grapple with the outbreak of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). That is why we are committed to keeping you informed with the latest news and information, as well as taking your questions as they arise.

I’m sure some of you are wondering why RIT, and many other universities, communities and institutions, are taking what appear to be drastic and disruptive steps, such as canceling events with large gatherings, prohibiting travel, and other measures. Just today, the Monroe County Health Department asked every institution to reconsider holding events that draw more than 50 people. This advice is consistent with social distancing, enabling what the CDC refers to as “flattening the curve.”

We know the virus is spreading, and we can’t stop it in its tracks. But we can slow it down to ensure that cases don’t spike and overwhelm the capacity of the medical system, which would jeopardize care for all, especially the most critically ill.

Health experts are urging all of us to practice social distancing, which means avoiding mass gatherings and maintaining distance (approximately 6 feet or 2 meters) from others whenever possible. Social distancing has been shown to be an effective way to slow or reduce the spread of the virus.

Given the latest and best medical and scientific advice, we are making some important decisions. They include:

Instruction: As we announced yesterday, all classes at the Henrietta campus will be offered through alternative means, including online and other methods. Classes from our campuses in Croatia, Kosovo and China are also being offered online. If we decide to deviate from this process later in the semester, we will provide our community with ample advance notification.

RIT Athletics: This weekend’s Atlantic Hockey tournament quarterfinal games at the Gene Polisseni Center versus Air Force have been cancelled. For all other spring sports, a “no spectator” policy is in place until further notice. This means no one will be admitted except athletes, coaches and essential team personnel.

FIRST Robotics: The 2020 FIRST Robotics Finger Lakes Regional, which was scheduled to begin today in the Gordon Field House, will be rescheduled for a later date. Further information will be forthcoming through the FIRST Finger Lakes Regional at  http://upstatenyfirst.org.

Other events: We anticipate there will be further cancellations. All cancellations will be marked on the RIT Event calendar and where appropriate listed on the coronavirus website.

In terms of human resource issues, we know these changes are prompting a variety of questions about faculty, staff and student employment. We plan to have answers to those questions in the coming days.

Please continue to monitor the dedicated RIT Coronavirus website that is frequently updating.

Let me close with my sincere thanks for your patience and cooperation. We intend to meet this challenge by working together as a Tiger family – students, faculty, and staff. By encouraging one another and supporting each other, we will make the progress that is so vital for our community at this time.

David Munson
RIT President

(A sign language interpreted version of this message is available on YouTube.)

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