Contact Tracing

A positive test for COVID-19 will trigger contact tracing, which is coordinated through the Monroe County Department of Public Health. All members of the RIT community are expected to comply with contact tracing efforts.

In the event of a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19, contact tracers will work in collaboration with campus officials and the Monroe County Department of Public Health to interview the impacted individual and determine close contacts who may need to be placed in quarantine. RIT developed the Location Check-In Application for use on campus to aid in those contact tracing efforts.

Location Check-In

Location Check-In posters are being installed across campus for contact tracing. The posters are printed with QR codes embedded with a URL and location-specific information. Scanning the QR code with a smartphone (by opening the device’s camera app and pointing the camera at the code) opens the check-in website and automatically populates the “area” (room, bus, etc.) and “location” fields. The large-scale QR codes are meant to be scanned from a distance to encourage physical distancing. Area and location information printed on the bottom of the poster can be entered manually on the website using a browser on the smartphone or computer. New functionality allows for submitting locations and times after the fact for those without compatible technology with them that day. The secured data is restricted for contact tracing by authorized personnel.

Sample poster and ordering instructions

Wireless Access Data

As a matter of course, RIT does not generally capture or retain wireless access point data except to the extent required to provide such access to the RIT network. This data shows roughly where a person may be on campus as a result of their device(s) connecting to wireless access points on the RIT network. The wireless access data retained by RIT is securely stored in the University’s secure and FERPA-compliant on-campus data center. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and in support of contact tracing requirements, this data may be used by the Monroe County Department of Health contact tracers for contact tracing efforts to help identify members of the RIT community who may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 symptoms as a result of being in proximity to that person during potential exposure periods.

Learn more about data privacy

What is a Close Contact?

Contact tracers will work with individuals who test positive to find out with whom they had been in close contact. In general, close contact is determined using a combination of the following criteria:

The contact lasted 15 minutes or longer, combined with one or more of the following:

  • There was a physical distance of less than 6 feet
  • Face masks were not worn during a portion of the contact
  • The contact occurred within 48 hours prior to symptom onset or the date of the positive test

Contact tracers will reach out to all individuals determined to have had a close contact with a COVID positive individual.

Examples of possible close contacts:

  • Dining together;
  • Living together;
  • Having an extended conversation, while not wearing masks;
  • Physical contact, such as hugging or kissing;
  • Driving in a car together.

Examples that are not typically close contacts:

  • Passing in the hallway;
  • Working in the same building;
  • Having a short conversation, wearing masks, and 6 feet apart;
  • Being in a classroom together, if that classroom is adhering to physical distancing practices or additional engineering controls such as plexiglass barriers have been installed between spaces where 6 feet cannot be maintained, and everyone is wearing masks.

Frequently Asked Questions

Any student reporting symptoms via the Daily Health Screening will be directed to contact the Student Health Center to be assessed. Assessment will include a review of symptoms and their health history. If a symptomatic student does not reach out directly, a staff member from the Student Health Center will make contact with the student. If testing is recommended and/or symptoms are of sufficient concern, students will be placed in precautionary quarantine or isolation, depending upon the circumstances. Testing for cause (having symptoms or significant exposure) will be available on campus at the Student Health Center. In the event of a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19, contact tracers will interview the student and determine whether there are additional individuals who need to be placed in quarantine or isolation. RIT will have trained contact tracers to assist the Monroe County Department of Health.

Upon finding that a student has a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19, notifications will be made to appropriate RIT departments detailing the facilities used, or potentially used, by the person. This will be done in order to enact enhanced cleaning protocols in those areas and to safeguard our RIT community. Notification to the appropriate contact tracing personnel also will be made. The identity of an infected individual is not disclosed, but those at risk of having had contact with the individual are informed so appropriate action can be taken.

All students will register their presence in class via Location Check-In. Location Check-In uses unique QR codes to identify individuals in classrooms, offices with frequent visitors, and RIT shuttles. For contact tracing purposes, any individual testing positive for or showing signs of COVID-19 will be asked to provide to the Student Health Center (students) or the Director of RIT’s Environmental Health and Safety (faculty/staff) all contacts the individual had with others while on the RIT campus during the time period that the individual was infectious. Contact tracing usually looks into contacts that occurred up to two days prior to the onset of symptoms. For contact tracing purposes, faculty who are assigned research space (or staff in charge of research space) that supports research activities must keep a log annotating all individuals who enter via a sign-in sheet with date and time. Faculty will create a seating chart for each class (or class group) for use by contact tracers as needed.
 

The contact tracing data being acquired and stored by RIT through applications such as Location Check-In and wireless monitoring will be used solely for the purpose of supporting required contact tracing activities related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The applications used by RIT all meet or exceed industry requirements for securely collecting, storing, and using contact tracing data during the COVID-19 pandemic including those defined by FERPA and New York state. At the present time, RIT is retaining all contract tracing data as prescribed by New York state.

Learn more on the Data Privacy page.