Coronavirus Update: Our Stiffest Test
Dear RIT community,
We all should feel incredibly proud of what we’ve accomplished this semester during a global pandemic. Yet now is the time to dig deep with a sense of purpose and commitment. We are faced with our stiffest test to date and we need to double-down on our vigilance.
The coronavirus is surging across the United States and the globe. At RIT, we’ve seen an uptick in cases within our community in the past 14 days. Buckling down will be imperative in the days ahead. Our RIT COVID-19 Alert Level continues to be Yellow. This means the virus is on campus and the prevalence is increasing.
Our most recent wastewater surveillance samples detected the possible presence of COVID in parts of University Commons and Global Village housing. Out of an abundance of caution, we will test impacted residents from these areas starting this morning. Individuals needing testing have been alerted via text and email.
We understand that everyone is experiencing “pandemic fatigue,” but we must understand this pandemic is a marathon, not a sprint. We must not be lulled into a false security and let our guard down. The positive cases we have seen the past two weeks can be traced back to activities that occurred off campus and with small groups of friends that were perceived to be safe. No positive cases can be traced back to classroom settings or officially-sanctioned university events.
We urge you to do the following immediately:
- Limit close contacts: The safest protocol is to limit all close contacts: Wear a mask, watch your distance, and wash your hands — the three W’s — when around other people. The best approach is to reestablish your “bubble” based on those with whom you cohabitate. Within this bubble, you can be unmasked.
- If you have developed close contacts outside your bubble, we strongly encourage you to keep this group of close contacts very small, while limiting your time of exposure. You should wear masks with your small group of friends. It’s our new normal.
- Be mindful when taking meal breaks with others. Only take your mask off to eat, and be sure to stay at least six feet apart.
- Avoid large indoor gatherings — we continue to limit non-instructional indoor gatherings to 25 people for university-sanctioned events. But we urge you to reduce this further in your “bubble” of other activities.
In the coming days, you will receive multiple communications about how best to ensure you don’t increase your risk of contracting or spreading the virus when traveling and interacting with others. We will send a checklist on what you need to do if you plan to leave following the last day of class (Nov. 24) or plan to remain on campus over the semester break. This will also include what you need to prepare for your return to campus next semester. We will be updating the RIT Ready website to share additional information.
Let’s not back down from this challenge. Let’s stay motivated. Our goal is to finish strong. We take care of one another — it’s what we do!
Wendy Gelbard, M.D.
Associate Vice President
Wellness Student Affairs