Fall Update: Progress and Preparation

Dear RIT community,

I hope you all had a relaxing and enjoyable holiday weekend. In a blink, we have gone from virtually celebrating our amazing Class of 2020 to now being only six weeks away from the opening day of classes on Aug. 19. Let me reassure you that we are making tremendous progress in our preparations to reopen for Fall semester.

Last week, the Fall Planning Task Force announced our plan addressing the health and safety of our faculty, staff, student employees, visitors, and other invited guests to campus. In the coming days, we will announce our “Student Safety Plan.” You will also hear from Provost Ellen Granberg on our reimagined learning environments that will address class sizes, study and meeting areas, how we will safely access our world-class laboratories and studios, and more details on the academic front. All of this work will be consolidated and shared shortly so you have a clear understanding of how RIT will live, learn, and thrive this fall. Our plans will meet and exceed the standards required by the state’s “New York Forward” guidelines.

Given the continuing spread of the coronavirus in various regions, we wish to emphasize that you should wear a mask, wash your hands, and watch your physical distance. In addition, we encourage all members of our campus community to stay at home insofar as practical and to associate only with immediate family members in the two weeks prior to returning to campus. The state of New York has put some specific guidelines in place for individuals traveling here from certain states. More specific parameters will be forthcoming. We believe that taking a proactive step and encouraging the entire RIT community to self-quarantine two weeks prior to arrival will add to our safety and give us momentum as we start the semester.

Today the campus will be abuzz with workers upgrading our facilities. Workers are installing air ionizers in residential halls (academic buildings will follow later this month), mounting plexiglass shields in classrooms, redesigning dining areas with improved social distancing and food ordering technologies, and much more. We are also working with our partner, Rochester Regional Health, to finalize a health screening app for daily symptom monitoring.

In terms of future communications, we will be launching a new weekly e-newsletter each Monday, starting July 13. The newsletter will convey the latest information in this still very fluid environment. If we don’t have the immediate answer, please be patient; we will work quickly to respond to your inquiries. We will also soon be revamping our coronavirus website to address the reopening. Here, we will post our entire reopening plan, along with several new sections addressing academics, campus life, and health and safety.

Beyond these preparations, each of us must work together to protect the health and safety of every member of our campus community. Protect yourself. Protect others. While we are eager to welcome back our community, it is imperative that we be safe and that we act on our shared responsibility.

RIT Tigers are known for creativity, ingenuity, and problem solving. It is this collaborative spirit that will allow us to come back strong in August. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact our Call Center at coronavirusresponse@rit.edu, 585-475-3500, or 1-833-323-0002.

Yours in Tiger pride,

David Munson, RIT President

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