COVID-19 Safety Updates: Alert level back to GREEN

Dear RIT community,

We are pleased to announce that RIT’s COVID-19 Alert Level has returned to GREEN, meaning the prevalence of the virus in our community and on campus is low. We should all be proud of this accomplishment as we finished the academic year strong. As we begin our transition to summer, it is imperative that we adhere to safety protocols and remain vigilant.

Last week, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provided updated guidance suggesting that fully vaccinated individuals may safely unmask in many settings. This week, New York state announced that it would align with the CDC’s guidance. We are closely following these announcements and will make decisions on how this new guidance may affect different university operations, activities, and protocols throughout the summer. New York state has not yet provided guidance related to higher education settings, though that is expected soon.

Effective immediately, people who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 do not need to wear a face mask outdoors or indoors — nor physically distance on campus — except within the Student Health Center and while on public transportation, as stipulated by the revised RIT Safety Plan. Fully vaccinated individuals who are unmasked should be prepared to show proof of vaccination via a copy of their immunization card or the New York State Excelsior Pass.

People who are immunocompromised or not fully vaccinated should continue to wear a mask and maintain physical distancing while indoors in the presence of others, or moving through space occupied by others, and must maintain at least six (6) feet of distance between themselves and others indoors or outdoors.

We will reevaluate these measures by August 1st, prior to re-population of the campus for the Fall semester.

As previously stated, along with other immunizations, RIT will require full COVID-19 vaccination for undergraduate and graduate students prior to coming to the Henrietta campus for Fall 2021. Vaccinations are not just for personal health; they are important for the health of the entire community. Those individuals who are unable to receive the vaccine for specific medical, religious, or philosophical reasons can follow the exemption process through the Student Health Center. The only vaccine required of students that is eligible for a philosophical exemption by RIT is the COVID-19 vaccine. However, if New York state mandates the COVID-19 vaccine for students, philosophical exemptions will not be allowed and those individuals granted such exemptions will then be expected to obtain the vaccine if they do not qualify for a medical or religious exemption. Students seeking a philosophical exemption to RIT’s COVID-19 vaccine requirement must complete the Request for Philosophical Exemption Form. RIT requires this form to be notarized.

Students will receive communication in the first week of June with details on how to report their vaccines.

Furthermore, we strongly recommend that all RIT staff and faculty members receive COVID-19 vaccination as soon as possible. RIT is asking faculty and staff to voluntarily report their vaccine status via the RIT Oracle Employee Self-Service portal. Receiving the vaccine and reporting that you have done so will give us our best chance at creating a “normal” Fall semester with fewer safety restrictions.  We faculty and staff owe it to our community to achieve the same high vaccination rate that will be achieved by our students.

The RIT off-campus shuttle will continue to provide transportation to Wegmans this summer. Consider scheduling a vaccine appointment at the Wegmans located at 650 Hylan Drive. The shuttle is available to students, faculty, and staff; runs seven days a week; and stops at the entrance to the Wegmans parking lot.

We are at a new juncture in the fight against Coronavirus. As the nation, the state, and the region more fully re-open, we expect to be communicating new procedures and instructions throughout the summer. Please continue to follow the RIT Ready website for the latest news and updates.

Thank you for your continued diligence and perseverance.

COVID-19 Planning Task Force

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