Fall Semester Information

RIT's focus is on allowing for vibrant campus life while tracking and responding appropriately to the COVID-19 virus.

We are excited about plans underway for the fall semester. While COVID-19 is present in our community, it has evolved into a milder illness with significantly less risk to the general population. While we remain diligent in our monitoring of the virus and are prepared to tighten safety protocols as necessary, we are relaxing many of our former COVID-19 restrictions.

Vaccines and Boosters

All students, faculty, staff, and certain visitors must be vaccinated (initial one- or two-dose regimen). Changes to the visitor policy are effective immediately. The booster requirement continues to be suspended indefinitely. If conditions change, we will reevaluate. In addition, we are monitoring the development of new vaccines and boosters.

Learn more about vaccine requirements 

All students, faculty, staff, and certain visitors age 6 months and older (see full Safety Plan for details) must be vaccinated (initial one- or two-dose regimen). Acceptable vaccines include those approved for use in the U.S., accepted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, or on the World Health Organization Emergency Use List (EUL).

Students whose coursework is fully online and who will not be on campus for any reason may request an exception. Please reach out to the Student Health Center at 585-475-2255 to request an online exemption. Students should note that any exception granted is only for the COVID-19 vaccination and not for any other required immunizations.

All students, faculty, staff, and certain visitors age 6 months and older (see full Safety Plan for details) must be vaccinated (initial one- or two-dose regimen). Acceptable vaccines include those approved for use in the U.S., accepted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, or on the World Health Organization Emergency Use List (EUL).

Certain extended visitors (see full Safety Plan for details) must be vaccinated (initial one- or two-dose regimen). Extended visitors are defined as individuals who are (will be) physically on the RIT Campus for more than 6 consecutive days or more than 10 days in a rolling 4-week period. This does not include contractor/supplier employees whose work areas are physically (utilizing construction fencing, or construction barriers) separated from the campus population.

Individuals that are (will be) physically on the RIT campus for more than six consecutive days or more than 10 days in a rolling four-week period are required to be fully vaccinated. Ensuring compliance with this requirement is the responsibility of the Contractor/Supplier and the sponsoring department.

Prospective students and families coming onto campus solely for purposes of visiting and/or touring the campus are not required to be fully vaccinated unless they meet the definition of extended visitor. (Extended visitors are defined as individuals who are (will be) physically on the RIT campus for more than six consecutive days or more than 10 days in a rolling four-week period.)

RIT students must provide proof of full vaccination by logging onto the RIT Wellness Portal.

Current RIT employees will need to provide proof of full vaccination in Oracle Employee Self-Serve and attach appropriate documentation. Any new employees/adjuncts will share their vaccination information with their hiring manager, who will fill out the Proof of Vaccination form and send it to hr@rit.edu.

Only medical and religious exemptions will be allowed. Employees who are unable to receive the vaccine for specific medical or religious reasons can follow the employee request for accommodation process. Students unable to receive the vaccine for specific medical or religious reasons can follow the exemption process through the Student Health Center. Visitors are not eligible for an exemption.

The booster requirement continues to be suspended indefinitely. We are monitoring the development of new boosters. We will evaluate future requirements based on how the virus progresses.

COVID-19 vaccines help protect against severe illness, hospitalization and death. The vaccines also help protect against infection. People who are vaccinated may still get COVID-19, but they are much less likely to experience severe symptoms than people who are unvaccinated.

Masking

Masking is optional in all locations except public transportation (RIT shuttles, buses, and vans) and some health care facilities (including the Student Health Center, Rochester Regional Health Family Clinic, and the NTID Audiology Center). Individuals are encouraged to assess their own personal risk when deciding how and when to mask in optional locations. Masking is encouraged during the move-in process within Residence Halls due to high-density.

Move-in and What to Bring

Masking is encouraged while indoors during the move-in process due to high-density. We ask families to adhere to a two-person limit in the rooms to reduce the density.

Whether you’re living on- or off-campus, you should be prepared with all the items you might need in case you're not feeling well. RIT’s Student Health Center has put together a checklist of items they recommend having on hand.

In the Classroom

Eating and drinking is now allowed in classrooms, and masking is optional.

Students who are unable to attend class in person due to illness or an order of isolation or quarantine should contact their faculty member for guidance on making up any missed work.

Testing

Before coming to campus: Return-to-campus testing will not be required though it is recommended to support a smooth start to the fall semester.

Once on campus: Testing for students with symptoms or high-risk situations is available in the Student Health Center. Telephone, secure messaging or Patient Chat are contact options. Self-testing will be the main means of COVID testing on campus. Students should report any positive test result to the Student Health Center. Our wastewater surveillance program will continue to provide insight into disease prevalence.

Although the university does not require return-to-campus testing, we recommend that all students test prior to their departure to campus. This will help to ensure we have a smooth start to the fall semester.

We will continue with our wastewater surveillance program as it provides an early warning of changes in COVID-19 trends within our campus community.

Students who test positive for COVID-19 should upload your test result or image of your home test to the Student Health Center. You will receive self-care instructions for isolation which you may share with faculty or employers as needed.  As is the case for all illness, there is access to our health professionals through  telehealth and in-person student health services as needed. Currently, CDC and Monroe County Department of Public Health isolation is a minimum of five days, with day 0 as the day of symptom onset or positive test, whichever came first. Isolation may be longer if symptoms persist. Masking is recommended for an additional 5 days. More information is available on the Quarantine and Isolation webpage.

Employees should contact their primary care physician for guidance and follow the COVID-19 Symptom/Exposure/Absence Process Information for Employees on the HR website for details on reporting requirements related to COVID-19.

Test when there are any symptoms, even mild, that may be COVID related e.g. fever, headache, body aches, nausea, congestion, sore throat or loss of smell. WEAR A MASK until feeling better and have 2 negative tests.

Also consider testing prior to events involving close contact with others and 5 days after to reduce spread from those large events.

Insurance companies are required to provide 8 tests monthly to each member. Contact your pharmacy to see if you can order directly through them. Some insurers may require you to purchase tests over the counter and submit receipts to them for reimbursement.

Individuals are eligible to receive 8 free at-home COVID tests through the federal government. Free tests can be ordered through the USPS website where you will enter your contact and shipping information to receive your free tests.

There are two primary factors to consider in a mask. The first is the layers of protection in the mask.  N95, KN95, KF94 offer the most protection. Surgical masks are also quite good.  Many layers of cloth are better than a single layer.

The second factor to consider in a mask is the fit. It should snuggly cover your nose and mouth so that there is little air entering or exiting from the edges of the mask.  With a good fit, glasses should not fog.

Students are responsible for notifying professors that they are unable to attend due to illness. For COVID isolation, the secure message sent by the health center may be shared if documentation is needed. Faculty will work with each student to ensure academic continuity.

Quarantine and Isolation

Given the reduced severity of current COVID variant infections and the vaccination status of our community, isolation policies have changed. Ill students will need to isolate in their current housing situations. Students who cannot attend class or complete their work due to illness should connect with their faculty directly to ensure academic continuity.  Risk reduction for uninfected roommates includes mask wearing in the room, except when sleeping, good hand hygiene and protecting your immune system with regular sleep, eating and activity. All members of the RIT community are expected to self-monitor for symptoms of any illness before coming to campus every day. If you are likely to spread illness, do not come to campus.

Learn more about quarantine and isolation

International Travel

International travel requirements and recommendations change as new variants of COVID-19 emerge. Monitor the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for the most recent guidance regarding air travel requirements and recommendations, and monitor the U.S. Department of Homeland Security website for information on lard ports and ferry terminals.

Report a COVID-19 Violation

Your concern for the health and safety of the RIT community is appreciated. If you encounter an individual not adhering to current COVID-19 protocols, try communicating directly with the individual or connect with a responsible party, such as a supervisor or lab manager for assistance.

If you observe ongoing violations related to COVID-19 protocols, please complete a COVID-19 report.

Additional Tips for Staying Healthy and Safe

  • Vaccination and Boosters help avoid serious illness, but do not prevent transmission.
  • Masking provides another layer of protection. A well fitted and high-grade mask (N95, KF94 or KN95) is best.
  • Avoid others if you have any symptoms. This is particularly important to high risk individuals. 
  • Transmission can be minimized by:
    • Testing if you have any symptoms.
    • Testing prior to events that involve close contact with others masked or unmasked.Testing prior to leaving or returning to campus for an extended period of time, such as holidays.
    • Testing 5 days following high risk activities that involve close contact with a lot of people.
    • Testing immediately if you develop symptoms, even mild symptoms.
    • Please don’t wait to test if you have symptoms.