RIT Safety Plan in Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic

Guiding Principles

RIT’s guiding principles for responding to the COVID-19 pandemic are rooted in concern for the health and safety of our students, faculty, staff, visitors, and other invited guests. Our plans are aligned and consistent with applicable local, state, and federal laws, as well as the guidelines published as part of New York Forward: A Guide to Re-opening New York and Building Back Better (“New York Forward”). Our plans recognize our shared responsibility for keeping the RIT community healthy and safe, and include symptom monitoring, physical distancing, reducing the density of individuals on the RIT campus, personal safety practices, regular cleaning and disinfection, restricting nonessential travel, contact tracing, and communication. As our knowledge and understanding of the pandemic continues to evolve, and additional guidelines are promulgated for colleges and universities, so too will this RIT Safety Plan (“Safety Plan”).

Faculty, staff, students, visitors, and other invited guests (the “RIT community”) are expected to fully comply with the provisions of this Safety Plan and other policies, procedures, and guidelines designed to protect the health and safety of all individuals on the RIT campus. RIT seeks to maximize opportunities for RIT students to have a vibrant student experience while staying healthy and safe on campus. Accordingly, some areas and activities will need to be restricted and/or modified in accordance with government mandates and to support the health and safety of the RIT community. The RIT community is expected to fully comply with the provisions of this Safety Plan, and also other applicable policies, procedures, and guidelines. Failure to do so may result in corrective action including, but not limited to, termination of employment for employees, dismissal from the university for students, or removal from campus for visitors and invited guests. The expectation is that every individual will take the steps necessary to protect themselves and the community at large.

Requirements for All Members of the RIT Community

RIT expects to be open for on-campus instruction, research, campus programs, and services in the fall. As a result, faculty and staff members with requirements to be on campus will be expected to be physically present. However, in accordance with the requirements of NY Forward, RIT will limit the total number of occupants at any given time to no more than 50% of the maximum occupancy for a particular area. It shall be the responsibility of the divisional vice president to ensure that 50% of the maximum occupancy for a particular area is maintained. In order to accomplish this goal, if a faculty or staff member’s work can be accomplished remotely and there are no requirements for a faculty or staff member to be on campus, then that individual will be given the opportunity to work remotely. Additionally, if flexible work schedules can be implemented, managers/supervisors may create these arrangements. The remote work and flexible work schedule arrangements shall continue until such time that an employee’s work requires them to be on campus, or until the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and/or the New York State Department of Health (DOH) declare an end to the COVID-19 pandemic and notification to return to campus is issued by RIT. By providing the opportunity to work remotely and flexible work schedules, we will limit the density of the on-campus population and support safety for those who are required to work on campus.

If managers/supervisors desire to create a plan for their individual department, they may work with a Human Resources Manager to create such a plan. All individualized safety plans must comply with the requirements of this Safety Plan. General guidelines for facility reopening and operations are available. Faculty and staff who have concerns about returning to work on campus due to a medical condition that places them in a higher risk group, or those who wish to seek a COVID-19-related accommodation in order to perform the essential functions of their job, should visit the COVID-19 Related Accommodation Request form.

Divisional vice presidents shall designate Site Safety Monitor(s) (login required to access list). A Site Safety Monitor shall be responsible for ensuring compliance with all aspects of this Safety Plan for their assigned areas. The number and areas of responsibility for Site Safety Monitors shall be determined by the appropriate divisional vice president. Once designated, the divisional vice presidents shall provide a list of their Site Safety Monitor(s) to the Office of Legal Affairs. The duties of a Site Safety Monitor include, but are not limited to, verifying that:

  • All employees in their assigned areas have participated in COVID-19 training;
  • All employees are aware of the requirement to report symptoms on a daily basis;
  • All employees have and are using appropriate face masks;
  • Assigned areas have COVID-19 Maximum Capacity signs;
  • Assigned areas have a reduced density of 50% of maximum capacity;
  • Workstations are at least six (6) feet apart;
  • Workplace is being cleaned on a regular basis; and
  • Educational signage is posted in their assigned areas.

Tele- or video-conferencing is encouraged for administrative functions and/or meetings. In-person meetings shall comply with the physical distancing requirements of this Safety Plan and the COVID-19 Maximum Occupancy requirements. Physical distancing markers, directional indicators, and designated areas for pickups and deliveries shall be observed at all times.

When meetings are held in person, they shall be held with appropriate physical distancing among participants, in accordance with the provisions of this Safety Plan. Meetings and events shall not exceed the maximum occupancy limits for the applicable space, and in no case exceed fifty (50) people. Classes are not required to meet this maximum occupancy limit. Outdoor events shall be held with appropriate physical distancing among participants and shall not exceed thirty three percent (33%) occupancy for outdoor spaces where maximum occupancy has been established.

The scheduling of events shall utilize the existing Event Management System process. Events shall be required to have an event plan that includes the following: (1) Identification of how the physical distancing requirements of this Safety Plan will be met; (2) Identification of how the hygiene and cleaning requirements of this Safety Plan will be met; and (3) Notification to the Site Safety Monitor (login required to access list) for the area where the event will be held, whose responsibilities will include compliance with all aspects of this Safety Plan. An event plan template PDF is available for download.

Each day, prior to coming to campus, all members of the RIT community must be free of any symptoms related to COVID-19. These symptoms are based on CDC guidance and currently include:

  • Loss of sense of smell or taste
  • Chills or fever of 100⁰ F (37.8⁰ C)
  • Sore throat (not due to allergies)
  • Feeling like coming down with an illness (e.g., fatigue or muscle ache)
  • Unusual headache or eye pain
  • New cough or change in your cough
  • New or worsening shortness of breath (difficult to breathe)
  • Abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or loss of appetite (skipping a meal)
  • Contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19

To assist with symptom monitoring, faculty, staff, and students must personally complete the RIT Daily Health Screen every day, seven days a week, whether or not they are coming to campus, without the use of any automated tool. The webpage will provide users with instructions on how to proceed if they are experiencing symptoms or have been in contact with someone who has COVID-19. They will also receive reminder emails every day to complete the Daily Health Screen. Based upon the answers provided, users will receive one of two messages: (1) Cleared to circulate on RIT campus, or (2) Stop: Do not report to RIT.

If faculty and/or staff receive a "Do not report to RIT" message, they will be directed to call the symptom check hotline for evaluation of their symptoms by a medical professional and will either be cleared to work on campus, told to stay home and monitor symptoms, or directed to contact their health care provider. If students receive a "Do not report to RIT" message, they will be directed to contact the Student Health Center for further assessment to determine whether or not they can be on campus.

If at any point in time during the day an individual begins showing signs of COVID-19 (or any illness), they should go to their home or residence immediately and contact the Student Health Center (students) or their personal physician (faculty/staff). 

RIT is taking a multifaceted approach to testing at the start of the semester and throughout the year. All faculty, staff, and students are responsible for getting a COVID-19 test prior to coming to campus and must provide evidence of a negative result in order to return. Individuals returning from areas with significant community spread of COVID-19 will be required to take an additional test upon their return to campus. Employees (not including student employees) seeking an accommodation to this testing requirement, or any other requirement of this Safety Plan, based on religious beliefs may request an accommodation by completing the RIT Employee Request for Religious Accommodation Form. If an individual tests positive, they will be required to follow quarantine procedures. Employees with positive tests or symptoms shall report this information using the RIT Employee Self-Serve portal. Positive test information will be automatically reported to the Director of Environmental Health and Safety.

Individuals exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 or who have been in close contact (as defined by the Monroe County Department of Health) with individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 will be tested. In instances where wastewater samples or other surveillance methods indicate an increased risk of exposure, RIT will conduct follow up testing to specify the source.  Focused and surveillance testing for students will be overseen by the Student Health Center, in an on-campus testing facility dedicated to COVID-19. This includes the testing required for those students returning from states with significant community spread of COVID-19. Faculty and staff will be directed to their personal physician for testing or a NYS Department of Health testing site.

All employees should follow RIT’s normal process for reporting absences due to illness and RIT’s Short-term Disability process based on their employment category:

Employees (not including student employees) testing positive, or residing with someone testing positive, for COVID-19 shall report this information using the RIT Employee Self-Serve. Positive test information will be automatically reported to the Director of Environmental Health and Safety.

Individuals with certain conditions are at an increased risk for severe illness. The CDC has compiled a list that identifies these conditions. Currently, they are:

  • Older adults (age 65 and older)
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
  • Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from solid organ transplant
  • Obesity (body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher)
  • Serious heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies
  • Sickle cell disease
  • Type 2 diabetes mellitus

As more is known about COVID-19, and as new information becomes available, the CDC will update this list and so will RIT. Faculty and staff who are at an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 infection may request an accommodation in order to perform the essential functions of their job, by completing the COVID-19 Related Accommodation Request form. Students with conditions that may place them at a higher risk for COVID-19 infection are encouraged to contact RIT’s Disability Services Office for appropriate accommodations if needed.

Physical distancing requires the RIT community to ensure that they maintain at least six (6) feet of distance between themselves, unless safety or core function of the work activity requires a shorter distance. Any time members of the RIT community are indoors in the presence of others or moving through space occupied by others they must wear acceptable face masks regardless of the distance between themselves and others. RIT shall provide face masks to employees at no cost. RIT will make face masks available to all students upon request via a “starter kit.” Acceptable face masks include:

  • Cloth face mask – Homemade or commercially manufactured face masks that are washable. They must be washed or replaced on a daily basis. Unless the responsibilities of the member of the RIT community require use of a specific face mask, use of personal face masks is allowed, provided they permit for proper covering of the nose and mouth, and are in compliance with all applicable RIT policies, including but not limited to RIT’s Policy Prohibiting Discrimination, Harassment and Retaliation (C6.0) and the RIT Student Conduct Process (D18.0). Members of the RIT community shall be responsible for procuring, washing, and/or replacing personal cloth face masks.
  • Disposable mask – Commercially manufactured and disposed of on a daily basis.
  • Medical grade surgical mask – FDA approved for use in health care settings. To be replaced in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions.
  • N95 Respirator – NIOSH approved for use in health care settings or other approved areas with known respiratory hazards. To be replaced in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Accessible mask – Masks provided to individuals based on requests for accommodations due to a disability as defined under applicable state and/or federal law. Requests for accessible masks will be considered on an individualized basis and in accordance with RIT’s Workplace Accommodations process for employees, and RIT’s Disability Services Office for students.

Face masks must: (1) cover the nose and mouth, (2) be cleaned or replaced after use or when damaged or soiled, (3) not be shared, and (4) be properly stored or discarded. Face masks are not required if outdoors and at least 6 ft. of distance can be maintained from others, or if working alone in an office or private room, except as required by another policy or procedure. Faculty shall wear a face mask, but may wear a face shield that covers all sides of their face in lieu of a face mask, when behind a Plexiglas barrier in teaching settings.  Face shields are not a replacement for face masks. Unless otherwise provided as an accommodation to a disability, the only time a face shield may be worn without a face mask is when a faculty member is behind a Plexiglas barrier in teaching settings and is wearing a face shield that covers all sides of their face. Tightly confined spaces (e.g., elevators, kitchenettes, restrooms, small conference rooms, cubicles) shall be occupied by only one (1) individual at a time, unless all occupants are wearing face masks and all other physical distancing rules can be followed. If occupied by more than one person, the occupancy of these tightly confined areas shall be kept under 50% of normal maximum capacity. Compliance with COVID-19 Maximum Occupancy signs shall be required.

Students shall be required to wear face masks in classrooms. If a student does not wear a face mask, they will be asked to leave the classroom by the faculty member. If a student fails to leave the classroom when instructed to do so by the faculty member, that student shall be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including, proceedings under RIT’s Student Conduct Process (D18.0).

If an individual has concerns about wearing a face mask (whether opaque or clear), they can request accommodations as detailed above. RIT will discuss and explore alternative options such as, (1) Safety hood (e.g. ‘Bullard’ type hood), or (2) Voluntary use of N95 respirator without exhalation valve (NIOSH approved).

While on campus the RIT community shall limit the sharing of objects, including desks, supplies, and workstations. The touching of shared surfaces is discouraged. If shared surfaces must be touched, the RIT community shall either wear gloves or sanitize or wash hands before and after contact. Hygiene and sanitation requirements from the CDC and the DOH shall be adhered to. These requirements include:

  • Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  • Use hand sanitizer when you cannot use soap and water
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes, and immediately wash or sanitize your hands
  • Avoid sharing of personal items

University-sanctioned disinfectant will be provided to university departments to allow for additional cleaning of areas as required. Training on the use of disinfectant will be mandatory for all faculty, staff, and students. Cleaning protocols for desks, tabletops, lecterns, and other common high-touch surfaces shall be created and observed. Protocols shall include having faculty and students clean their own space in classrooms and other academic spaces before and after use. 

RIT Facilities Management Services shall conduct deep cleanings that will include disinfection of restrooms, including residence hall restrooms, and common touch points on campus (e.g., elevator cars, door handles, hand rails) at least two (2) times per day, with daily cleaning of common areas. Cleaning includes the use of a hospital-grade disinfectant. Areas where positive cases were known to have been present shall be cleaned in accordance with CDC guidelines. RIT will use 3D coating and electro-plating on more than six hundred (600) door pulls around campus

Posted signage throughout campus is intended to remind the RIT community to adhere to proper hygiene, physical distancing rules, appropriate use of face masks, and cleaning and disinfecting protocols. Posted signage, including any markings on floors and hard surfaces, shall be complied with at all times.

The RIT community is expected to support and comply with contact tracing efforts by providing information relating to individuals with whom they may have had close contact while on campus for purposes of contact tracing. This may include utilizing personal electronic devices, RIT information systems to allow location tracking, and using specific web-based applications.

Dining halls and other on-campus food establishments shall be limited to no more than 50% of maximum occupancy, exclusive of employees. All indoor and outdoor tables and other seating shall be arranged or eliminated to ensure they are separated by a minimum of six (6) feet in all directions, and additional seating may be provided in other neighboring areas. Wherever distancing is not feasible between tables, physical barriers of no less than five (5) feet in height shall be installed between such tables. Physical distancing markers will identify six (6) foot spacing in any lines for customers waiting to order, pick up food, be seated, or use the restroom, as well as in any pickup or payment location.

Individuals choosing to eat and drink in the dining facility must follow all posted rules regarding in-person dining, including seating capacity and placement of tables/chairs. While in dining facilities, individuals must wear face masks when not eating or drinking. Individuals may remove face masks to eat and drink while seated at their table regardless of the customary six (6) foot physical distancing limitation.

Individuals may choose to eat and drink outside of dining facilities in the following areas, provided that occupancy and physical distancing requirements can be maintained:

  • Designated dining areas other than dining facilities;
  • Individual rooms/offices;
  • Individual workstations (e.g., cubicles);
  • Break rooms;
  • Outdoor spaces; or
  • Indoor public spaces (e.g., Fireside lounge).

Eating or drinking is not permitted in classrooms* (when in use), laboratory areas, waiting rooms, pedestrian corridors within buildings, which may include lobbies (e.g., SAU lobby) that people cut through, hallways, stairwells or while walking on campus.

Dining Services will reconfigure dining areas to provide additional options for mobile ordering and food pickup to ensure RIT can meet the demands of the RIT community while maintaining appropriate physical distancing. Dining Services will also provide meal support for students who reside in on-campus housing and are in isolation or quarantine

* Faculty members can choose to allow students to have drinks in class; students should use a straw that goes under the face mask.

Ridership of campus shuttles and buses will be limited to 50% of maximum capacity. No standing will be allowed. Once a bus is full, it will not stop for additional passengers. The frequency of service will be increased to make up for the reduced capacity allowed on the shuttles. All riders will be required to wear an acceptable face mask while on RIT shuttles and buses. Plexiglas shields have been installed by the driver’s seat and drivers will be required to wear PPE. Boarding and exiting of the bus will occur through the rear doors (except where accessibility issues require otherwise). Signage will be posted on the shuttles reminding riders of proper safety procedures including maximum physical distancing. Riders must scan a QR code when boarding the bus to assist with contact tracing. Buses will be disinfected nightly.

RIT vehicles will be disinfected before and after each use. If there is more than one person in the vehicle, acceptable face masks must be worn. For multi-passenger vans, a passenger list must be provided when the vehicle is returned.

COVID-19 has altered many facets of life for members of the RIT community. These changes can take a toll on our emotional well-being and may result in stress, fear, and/or anxiety. Please be aware that the following resources and services are available to support you.

Requirements for Students

All students, whether residing on or off campus, must comply with RIT’s symptom monitoring requirements starting two (2) weeks prior to arriving on RIT’s campus and continuing until RIT advises them that this requirement is no longer in effect. Visitors, including parents, arriving with students must ensure they are in compliance with the visitor requirements of this Safety Plan. Students shall complete any pre-arrival trainings and/or screenings required by RIT. Students arriving on campus from areas with widespread community transmission of the virus will need to complete additional pre-arrival monitoring, screening, or quarantine directives.

Posted signage throughout campus is intended to remind students to adhere to proper hygiene, physical distancing rules, appropriate use of face masks, and cleaning and disinfecting protocols. Posted signage, including any markings on floors and hard surfaces, shall be complied with at all times. All students shall also comply with RIT’s Movement on Campus and Contact Tracing requirements, including but not limited to use of RIT’s Location Check-In webpage and reasonable requests for information relating to individuals with whom they may have had close contact while on campus, for purposes of contact tracing.

All multiple-person rooms in the residence halls and apartments will be assigned as no more than double rooms. Move-in plans will facilitate adherence to the requirements of this Safety Plan, including, but not limited to, its physical distancing requirements. Move-in will be spread out over a full week (four (4) days for residence halls and another four (4) days for apartments). Students will have specific, assigned move-in times. Students are encouraged to move in on their own, but will be permitted a maximum of one (1) nonresident (e.g., parent, friend, or other adult) to assist with move-in for a short period of time, not to exceed one (1) hour. This nonresident restriction does not apply to personal aides, nurses, care givers, or any other reasonable accommodations provided to students with disabilities. Individuals assisting a student must comply with all RIT requirements for visitors including face mask, physical distancing, and health screening.

These measures will provide for a decreased density on campus to allow for appropriate distancing and enhanced cleaning during this time of increased activity. Additional move-in requirements shall be communicated by RIT Student Auxiliary Services and Residence Life. Students who may require housing accommodations based on a disability or who have a health condition that places them at higher risk for COVID 19 shall utilize RIT’s Disability Services Office to request accommodations.

When in indoor common areas, all occupants shall wear face masks and comply with all other physical distancing rules. Lounges (residence halls and campus buildings) will be open, but shall be occupied by no more than 50% of normal maximum capacity and occupants shall conform to the physical distancing and face mask requirements of this Safety Plan. In order to ensure proper physical distancing, furniture may be re-arranged, removed, or marked-off. Students in their residence hall or apartments do not need to comply with the physical distancing requirements or wear face masks when alone, or when in the presence of their room/suitemates. Whenever anyone, other than room/suitemates, is present in the dorm room or apartment, everyone in attendance must comply with the physical distancing and face mask requirements of this Safety Plan.

In areas with facilities spaced less than six (6) feet apart (e.g., restroom sinks, urinals, showers), individual facilities shall be cordoned off or users shall, whenever possible, wear face masks where not separated by a physical barrier (e.g., when inside a bathroom stall). Where possible, and consistent with accessibility requirements, entry doors to restrooms will be propped open or will have foot pedals to assist with touchless opening. Touch-free soap dispensers will be installed when available. Air hand dryers will be disabled and replaced with paper towel dispensers.

Guests are not permitted in on-campus housing prior to confirmation from RIT that a housing complex may be opened to guests. Once permitted, guests are limited to only RIT students and must abide by the requirements of this Plan in order to allow for appropriate and responsible social interaction.

  • No more than one guest per resident at any time;
  • Physical distancing and maximum occupancy requirements shall be maintained throughout the guest visit. In the event that physical distancing and maximum occupancy requirements are not maintained, the guest shall leave;
  • Any guests in the room/apartment must be agreed upon by room/suitemates or the visit must happen in a common area (e.g., lounge) of the residence hall, or in a private bedroom (one-person bedroom);
  • RIT will monitor building capacities. If guest numbers exceed what is allowable, RIT will follow up with residents and provide additional education. If the issue persists, those responsible may lose guest privileges;
  • Personal aides, nurses, care givers, or any other reasonable accommodations provided to students with disabilities shall not be considered guests for purposes of this section.

NCAA, state, and local governance guidelines will influence our ability to conduct fall athletic competitions. We are working with our athletic conferences—Liberty, the Atlantic Hockey Association, College Hockey America, and the Empire Collegiate Wrestling—to identify schedules and safety protocols to safely resume competitive sports. As part of RIT’s return to competition, in addition to satisfying campus plans, we will abide by the NCAA Core principles of resocialization of collegiate sport.

Student athletes will be required to complete a medical history, undergo a pre-participation screening process and an educational unit relative to COVID-19 prior to returning to campus. In addition, student athletes will be required to comply with any requirements set by the league or conference, including requirements of the NCAA and state and local laws. Mandatory daily health screens, and the wearing of acceptable face masks in accordance with the provisions of this Plan will also be required. Student athletes shall not share personal items, including but not limited to, water bottles.

Site safety monitors designated by Office of Intercollegiate Athletics are responsible for ensuring compliance with plans, receiving and attesting to having reviewed all screening questionnaires and documenting and adherence to daily symptom checking. In-person gatherings (e.g., team meetings, coaching de-briefs) will be limited as much as possible and encouraged to be done via remote means. Only individual workouts will be permitted at facilities for out of season athletes,  Group practices (e.g., scrimmages, pick-up games) are prohibited.

Athletics facilities will be cleaned no fewer than two (2) times daily. Sanitization after use of equipment and after group or team use will be required before the room is turned over. Athletics schedules will be reduced in number and restricted primarily to day trips (limited overnight hotel stays).  Spectators at athletic events will be limited by state, University, and league requirements. If allowed, spectators will be limited to parents and students.

RIT recreational facilities are closed until further notice. As a result, indoor recreational activities are not permitted. Once these recreational facilities are permitted to be opened, RIT will follow New York state guidelines. Outdoor activities are permitted, provided they meet the requirements of this Safety Plan. This section does not apply to intercollegiate sports unless otherwise noted in this Plan.

Individual sports and activities are separated into low, medium, and high risk categories by the state of New York. Low and medium risk sports may take place outdoors, except that club sport and intramural competitive tournaments requiring travel are prohibited until further notice. At the current time, indoor sports and activities are not permitted, and in-person meetings must adhere to the “Meetings and Events” section of this Safety Plan.

Participants must ensure that a minimum physical distance of six (6) feet is maintained for activities occurring outdoors. If the core activity is outdoors and a physical distance of six (6) feet cannot be maintained, face masks must be worn.

Activities should be modified to allow for maximum physical distancing, particularly for field exercises, drills, and other practice activities. Equipment may not be shared unless it is cleaned and disinfected between uses. Physical contact (e.g., handshakes, high fives, fist bumps) is strongly discouraged.

Use of tele- or video-conferencing is encouraged, but not required for all student meetings and/or events so long as attendees can abide by the room occupancy limitations, physical distancing, and face mask requirements of this Safety Plan.

When there is an on-campus event, students shall utilize the existing Event Management System process. Student Affairs and the EMS planning team will establish formal plans for groups to use in order to provide a consistent application across campus for student events. Events shall be required to have an event plan that includes the following: (1) Identification of how the physical distancing requirements of this Safety Plan will be met; (2) Identification of how the hygiene and cleaning requirements of this Safety Plan will be met; and (3) Notification to the Site Safety Monitor (login required to access list) for the area where the event will be held, whose responsibilities will include compliance with all aspects of this Safety Plan. An event plan template is available via CampusGroups. Outdoor events shall be held with appropriate physical distancing among participants and shall not exceed thirty three percent (33%) occupancy for outdoor spaces where maximum occupancy has been established. However, in cases where an event plan requires an exception, it must be approved by the appropriate divisional vice president or their designee.

Students who require an academic accommodation, accommodations for their student life environment, or accommodations related to a stipend position shall utilize RIT’s Disability Services Office.

Students who require a workplace accommodation for their job at RIT shall use RIT’s Workplace Accommodation process.

Students who require an accommodation to any of the requirements of this Safety Plan based on religious beliefs shall use the COVID-19 Student Religious Accommodation Form and utilize the process established by the Associate Director for Spirituality and Religious Life.

Student employees shall follow the RIT Safety Plan as it relates to the student’s RIT job. If a student leader will be returning to in-person work, that student’s staff advisor may create an on-campus work plan for the student leader, which may utilize the same or substantially similar provisions as any applicable safety plan for the area in which the student will be performing the leadership work. In addition, student leaders must comply with the requirements of this Safety Plan.

All students are prohibited from nonessential travel for RIT sponsored activities until further notice. Only essential travel will be permitted and must be approved by the appropriate dean, vice president, or vice provost. Study abroad programs are suspended until further notice. RIT is developing a number of virtual international experiences and virtual exchange opportunities for students who want to continue to develop global leadership and cultural competencies.

Telehealth is the preferred mode for office visits at the Student Health Center where a hands-on exam is not needed. In the Student Health Center, safety glass barriers will be installed in reception areas; waiting rooms will be configured to allow physical distancing; and appointment times staggered to reduce overall occupancy. Patients and staff will be required to wear face masks for in-person treatment. Nurses are available by phone to help students determine if an in-person appointment is needed if otherwise unclear.

Any student reporting symptoms via the Daily Health Screen will be directed to contact the Student Health Center to be assessed. Assessment will include a review of symptoms and their health history. If students do not reach out directly, a staff member in the Student Health Center  will contact students. If testing is recommended and/or symptoms are of sufficient concern, students will be placed in precautionary quarantine. Testing will be available on campus at the Student Health Center.

In the event of a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19, whether ordered by the Student Health Center or outside provider, RIT contact tracers, in collaboration with the Student Health Center and local health department, will interview the student and determine if there are additional individuals who need to be placed in quarantine. 

Students with any health concerns, even those not listed on the Daily Health Screen, are always encouraged to contact the Student Health Center. Telephone, secure messaging or PyraMED chat are contact options.

Any student who has been informed by a contact tracer that they have been in close contact, less than six (6) feet, with anyone for more than ten (10) minutes who has confirmed or suspected COVID-19, shall notify the Student Health Center immediately. Students should also monitor their health and call their health care provider if they develop symptoms suggestive of COVID-19.

Upon finding that a student has a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19, notifications will be made to appropriate RIT departments, which may include the Registrar, Facilities Management Services, Residence Life, and RIT Auxiliary Services, detailing the facilities used, or potentially used, by the Student.  This will be done in order to enact enhanced cleaning protocols in those areas and to safeguard RIT personnel and other students. Notification to the appropriate contact tracing personnel or entities shall be made as provided for elsewhere in this Plan. Information about a student will be disclosed only to those individuals on a need-to-know basis, consistent with applicable policies (e.g., RIT Privacy Policy, FERPA).

If directed to quarantine or isolate, students shall not be allowed to leave their quarantine or isolation space for fourteen (14) days from last exposure unless released earlier by the local public health department or designee. During this period, students will undergo active monitoring by the Student Health Center and self-monitor for symptom development. Additional requirements and procedures may be implemented at the discretion of the Student Health Center. Any student testing positive for COVID-19 shall be placed in isolation by the local public health department or designee for a minimum of ten (10) days after onset of symptoms. While in isolation, students shall comply with all requirements issued by the local health department and/or Student Health Center.

For students who reside in campus housing who test positive or have a suspected case of COVID-19 as determined by the Student Health Center or local public health department, in addition to the requirements above, RIT shall implement procedures to ensure adequate separation from the community for the duration of any isolation or quarantine period. Students requiring isolation will be moved to alternative housing such that the students have their own sleeping room and bathroom. Students who do not reside on campus are expected to isolate or quarantine at their off-campus residence and comply with all instructions from the local health department.

Students who are required to isolate or quarantine will be supported by the university in multiple ways. All students will continue to have access to telehealth and student health services. Faculty will work with isolated or quarantined students to ensure they can continue their academic work. Students residing on campus will also be supported by meal delivery for their applicable on-campus meal plans, trash pickup, and laundry support.

COVID-19 has altered many facets of life for students. These changes can take a toll on our emotional well-being and may result in stress, fear, and/or anxiety. Please be aware that the following resources and services are available to support you:

Academic Considerations

RIT’s approach to classroom procedures is designed with three primary priorities in mind:

  • Health and safety of students, faculty, and staff is the highest priority;
  • RIT seeks to maximize opportunities for students to have “normal” class and lab interaction with faculty while maintaining physical distancing protocols; and
  • Faculty and staff will have the resources and tools necessary to achieve a safe and high-quality instructional outcome, as well as a clear understanding of necessary classroom protocols.  

In the event it becomes necessary for RIT to close physical facilities, all courses and other academic activities will transition to a remote-only format. In addition, faculty will work with students who are unable to attend class in person due to illness, an order of isolation or quarantine, or an accommodation documented by the Disability Services Office. 

Students will be assigned seating in their classrooms to ease contact tracing. Location data shall not be used for attendance records for academic purposes or any other purpose other than contact tracing. 

Classes will begin on Wednesday, August 19, and will end a week earlier than originally planned, on Tuesday, November 24. Final exams will be held remotely, following Thanksgiving, after which students will have an extended winter break.

2020 Post-Thanksgiving Break Calendar

November 25 No classes – University closes at 2 p.m.*
November 26-27 Thanksgiving Holiday
November 30 Reading Day
November 30 – December 24    University open**
December 1 – 8 Final exams (administered remotely)
December 11 Grades Due
December 24 University closes at 2 p.m.

*Students who are continuing in RIT housing from fall semester through spring semester may remain in their housing during the Thanksgiving break and the winter break period (December 9 – January 7, 2021). This is an exception to past practice where residence halls would close for the winter break period and students who were continuing housing through the spring would have to move to the RIT Inn for the winter break.

**Services such as dining, Student Life Center, Student Health Center, Student Counseling Center, and Wallace Library will operate on a modified service schedule when the university is open.

The final schedule is dependent upon the latest guidance and direction of local and state health officials, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, DOH, CDC, and OSHA.

All courses with an in-person component shall combine classroom social distancing with flexible instructional models and personal protective equipment to ensure a safe classroom environment. For laboratory, studio, and capstone courses, additional sections and/or specialized scheduling solutions will be added so students can take these classes in person and access facilities needed to fulfill their course learning outcomes. Many lecture-based classes will also meet in person while some will move to a blended format where students will meet weekly in small in-person groups and complete some course material online. Where appropriate and where course materials lend themselves to the format, selected courses will move fully online. The in-person class schedule has been adjusted to permit adequate time in between each class so the area may be cleaned by students using antimicrobial cleaning solution for this purpose.  Students shall be required to wear face masks in classrooms. If a student does not wear a face mask, they will be asked to leave the classroom by the faculty member. If a student fails to leave the classroom when instructed to do so by the faculty member, that student shall be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including proceedings under RIT’s Student Conduct Process (D18.0).

All academic and office spaces shall be limited to no more than 50% of maximum occupancy. All meetings (e.g., academic advising, faculty office hours, etc.) must conform to the physical distancing and face mask guidelines of this Safety Plan.

Appropriate face masks must be worn by students at all times when in classrooms, labs, and lecture halls, regardless of whether physical distancing can be maintained. Situations in which respiratory output is greater than normal (e.g., performing arts, athletic activities) but where a face mask impedes the activity, a minimum physical distance of ten (10) feet shall be implemented. Food and drink are not permitted in classrooms, labs, and lecture halls.

RIT will install shields at the front of classrooms to provide a physical barrier between instructors and students.  All student-serving offices will be open with staff present during normal business hours. Services will be provided using a mix of in-person and remote modalities. Faculty office hours will take place remotely unless the faculty member indicates otherwise. In-person meetings will be provided upon request if physical distancing can be maintained and meetings are consistent with this Safety Plan. Staff and faculty with documented accommodations involving telework are not required to hold in-person meetings. 

Requirements for Visitors

All visitors, contractors, and temporary employees (those hired through a temporary employment agency) are expected to comply with applicable laws, regulations, and guidelines relating to the COVID-19 pandemic. For those businesses providing ongoing goods and/or services to RIT, the businesses must comply with industry-specific guidelines, symptom monitoring, contact tracing, health screenings, and compliance, where applicable, with this Safety Plan. Prior to providing goods and services to RIT, businesses shall be required to present proof that they and their employees have read and understood their obligations to operate in accordance with their industry specific DOH Interim Guidance During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency, RIT specific guidelines, and this Safety Plan. Download the Safety Plan Acknowledgement Form and Waiver for visitors, invited guests, contractors, and/or licensees and vendors.

The business providing goods and services to RIT shall be responsible for ensuring that any employee, contractor, or agent it engages to provide those goods and services to RIT has completed a mandatory health screening prior to coming onto campus. Any employee, contractor, or agent who has failed to complete a mandatory health screening shall not be allowed on campus. In addition, the business shall be required to sign a waiver and maintain a record of the locations visited by its employee, contractor, or agent while on the RIT campus, with enough specificity to aid RIT in its contact tracing obligations to the Monroe County Department of Health. The waiver executed by the business shall be provided to the department engaging the business for services. That department shall maintain this information in accordance with RIT’s Record Management Policy (C22.0). The information relating to health screening and locations on the RIT campus visited shall be maintained by the business providing goods and services to RIT and provided to RIT upon request.

All external mail delivery service providers (e.g., U.S. Postal Service, UPS, FedEx) making deliveries to RIT shall make deliveries only to Facilities Management Services at Building 99 on Wiltsie Drive. No external mail delivery service providers, making deliveries to RIT, shall be allowed to make deliveries on campus. All other deliveries (except for external mail delivery service providers making deliveries to RIT) may occur on campus by approved vendors, provided that the individuals making the deliveries agree to comply with the provisions of this Safety Plan, including but not limited to, wearing appropriate face coverings whenever indoors, and whenever outdoors and 6 feet of distance cannot be maintained between individuals, completing a daily health screen by calling 585-438-5254, and participating in contact tracing efforts if necessary by maintaining a log of the RIT locations visited.

All individuals on campus to visit the Division of Enrollment Management’s Office of Admissions shall proceed directly to the Bausch and Lomb Center for symptom monitoring and temperature checking. All other visitors to campus must stop at the RIT Welcome Center before circulating on campus. Those visitors engaging in activities that require extended time on campus (more than ½ day or more than once a month) or whose activities require meeting with groups, multiple people, or multiple departments (e.g., guest lecturer, visiting researcher, outside contractors) will be required to obtain a COVID-19 test within 14 days prior to their first visit to campus and must provide evidence of a negative result to the RIT individual sponsoring the visit, in order to circulate on campus. The RIT individual sponsoring the visit shall be responsible for informing their visitor, contractor, and/or temporary employee of the provisions of this Safety Plan, for ensuring compliance with the requirements of this Safety Plan, and retaining evidence of negative testing in accordance with the provisions of the RIT Records Management Policy (C22.0). Visitors, contractors, and temporary employees failing to comply with applicable laws, regulations, guidelines, and/or this Safety Plan shall result in the removal of visitors, contractors, and temporary employees until such time as assurances can be provided that compliance has been achieved.

Communications

Timely and accurate communication is central to the success of our plan. The latest information on academics; housing; testing, quarantine, and contact tracing; cleaning and upgrades; prevention; and other pandemic-related information can be found on the RIT Ready website.

For further questions, RIT has established a Call Center: 585-475-3500 or 1-833-323-0002.

A weekly RIT Ready e-newsletter will be sent out every Monday that will focus on all-things related to fall semester planning and the pandemic, including information related to known prevalence of confirmed cases on campus.  There will be regular communication and collaboration with county health officials, a public health education campaign including videos and signage, and communications relating to changes in the campus alert level with details outlining the steps that will be taken. RIT social media accounts will also be used to disseminate information.

Communication to parents or guardians about an individual student will be made in compliance with RIT’s Privacy Policy and Educational Records Policy (implementing the requirements of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act “FERPA”). This means that, generally, RIT requires written consent of the student in order to discuss the student’s status (e.g., academic or physical) with parents. Students may provide this consent by using RIT’s FERPA Consent Form.

For additional information regarding these policies and procedures, please refer to the following: