RIT Safety Plan in Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic

Guiding Principles

Rochester Institute of Technology is actively preparing for a normalized fall semester. The health and safety of our students, faculty, staff, and visitors is the most important consideration as we plan to increase the number of people on campus. Our plans are aligned and consistent with applicable local, state, and federal laws. They recognize our shared responsibility for keeping the RIT community healthy and safe. Please visit RIT Ready for the latest policies and procedures related to implementing this Safety Plan.

Faculty, staff, students, visitors, and other invited guests (the “RIT community”) are expected to fully comply with the provisions of this RIT Safety Plan (the “Safety Plan”) and other policies, procedures, and guidelines designed to protect the health and safety of all individuals on the RIT campus. Accordingly, some areas and activities may need to be restricted and/or modified in accordance with government mandates and to support the health and safety of the RIT community. 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 is open for on-campus instruction, research, campus programs, and services. RIT is no longer operating under reduced capacity guidelines from New York state. All employees working remotely must consult with their supervisors about commencing work back on campus.

Divisional vice presidents shall designate Site Safety Monitor(s). Each 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. The current list of Site Safety Monitor(s) is maintained by the Office of Legal Affairs.

In-person meetings can occur at full capacity without physical distancing requirements. Tele- or video-conferencing can be used for administrative functions and/or meetings. The scheduling of events shall utilize the existing Event Management System process. Any indoor event expected to have a capacity of 5,000 or more attendees shall prepare an event safety plan. The event safety plan shall be included as part of the Event Management System scheduling process.

All members of the RIT community are expected to self-monitor for any symptoms related to COVID-19 before coming to campus every day. An online form to assist with symptom monitoring is available. These symptoms are based on CDC guidance and currently include:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

In addition, RIT community members shall not be on campus if they have been:

  • Diagnosed with COVID-19 in the last ten (10) days, or
  • Advised to stay home by a medical professional due to COVID-19 concerns pursuant to CDC or local health department COVID guidance, or
  • Unvaccinated and learned that they were a close contact of a confirmed case in the 10 days.

Vaccinated individuals who have been in close contact with a confirmed case are required to mask for 14 days after initial exposure.

It is highly recommended that a COVID test is obtained between 3 to 5 days of exposure.

If at any point in time, prior to coming to campus or during the day while on campus, 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) for further guidance. Employees should refer to the COVID-19 Symptom/Exposure/Absence Process Information for Employees on the HR web for details on reporting requirements.

RIT employees (including temporary employees) are required to be fully vaccinated on or before December 8, 2021. Individuals are considered fully vaccinated 1) two weeks after their second dose in a 2-dose series (such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines); or 2) two weeks after a single-dose vaccine (such as Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine). RIT employees will need to provide proof of full vaccination in Oracle Employee Self-Serve and attach appropriate documentation.  This information will be routed to your supervisor for verification purposes. Supervisors will need to review the information and sign off in Oracle before December 8, 2021. Vaccinations are readily available in our region.  Visit the Finger Lakes Vaccine Hub to find vaccination locations in the area: https://flvaccinehub.org/getting-your-vaccine/.  

 

RIT students must show proof of full COVID-19 vaccination prior to coming to the Henrietta campus for Fall 2021. It is expected that all students will make every effort to complete a COVID-19 vaccine series and provide proof of full vaccination. Students must log into the RIT Wellness Portal to complete the COVID-19 Vaccine form and upload a photo or scanned copy of their vaccination card or receipt with their name, date of birth, name of the vaccine, and the date(s) of the shots. Acceptable vaccines include those approved for use in the U.S., accepted by the US Food and Drug Administration, or on the World Health Organization Emergency Use List (EUL).

 

Students who are unable to receive the vaccine for specific medical, religious, or philosophical reasons can follow the exemption process through the Student Health Center. 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.

 

Until November 17, 2021, all unvaccinated and not fully vaccinated (two weeks beyond their final dose) RIT students, faculty, and staff shall be required to take a weekly COVID-19 test if they are going to spend any time on campus. RIT shall notify those members of the RIT Community of their requirement to take this weekly test and the process to follow.  

 

Students exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 or students who have been in close contact (as defined by the Monroe County Department of Health) with individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 may be tested. In instances where wastewater samples or other surveillance methods indicate an increased risk of exposure, RIT may conduct follow up testing.  Focused and surveillance testing for students will be overseen by the Student Health Center and the Tiger Testing Response team. Generally, sample collection will occur on campus, however, sample collection may also be done off campus in accordance with protocols established by the Student Health Center. Faculty and staff will be directed to their personal physician to arrange for testing or to a NYS Department of Health testing site.

 

Employees should refer to the COVID-19 Symptom/Exposure/Absence Process Information for Employees on the HR web for details on reporting requirements.

 

Employees (not including student employees) testing positive, or unvaccinated employees residing with, or having been designated as a close contact 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.

Isolation will be mandated for employees testing positive, whether they are vaccinated or not. Quarantine is required for anyone who is unvaccinated and deemed to have been in close contact with a confirmed case. It is strongly advised that vaccinated individuals get a COVID-19 test 3-5 days after exposure. Employees should contact their primary care physician or a community testing site.

Decisions regarding isolation and quarantine are made in accordance with County Department of Public Health guidance regarding risk based on proximity of contact, ventilation in the space where contact occurred, whether masks were worn, the duration of contact and vaccination status. Any individual who has tested positive for COVID-19 should not come to campus and should self-isolate for 10 days from the positive COVID-19 test result or onset of COVID-19 related symptoms. If a member of an RIT employee’s household shows symptoms of COVID-19, that person should be tested. While awaiting test results, that employee, if unvaccinated, should not go to work and instead should quarantine until the evaluation is complete. Employees should refer to the COVID-19 Symptom/Exposure/Absence Process Information for Employees on the HR web for details on reporting requirements.

Members of the RIT community, whether vaccinated or unvaccinated, are required to wear face masks while indoors in the presence of others, indoors moving through space occupied by others, or outdoors when six (6) feet of distance from other individuals cannot be consistently maintained. Face masks are not required: (1) when alone in a private office with the door closed; (2) in your living space, or (3) while actively eating. Eating can only occur in a cubicle if six (6) feet of distance from other individuals can be consistently maintained while seated and actively eating. Face masks and physical distancing are required in the Student Health Center and the NTID Audiology Clinic. In addition, face masks are still required while on public transportation.

Face masks must: (1) be a minimum of two-ply cloth, (2) cover the nose and mouth, (3) be cleaned or replaced after use or when damaged or soiled, (4) not be shared, and (5) be properly stored or discarded. Clear masks, those used for communication with our deaf and hard-of-hearing population, are acceptable. Bandanas, one-layer gaiters, and scarves do not provide enough protection and are not acceptable. U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention mask guidelines can be reviewed online.

Faculty shall wear a face mask in classrooms. Vaccinated faculty may choose to remove their face mask when behind a Plexiglas barrier in teaching settings. If vaccinated faculty choose to remove their face mask they shall remain behind the Plexiglas barrier. Unvaccinated faculty in teaching settings must wear a face mask at all times, even if they are behind a Plexiglas barrier.

Students shall be required to wear face masks in classrooms. If a student does not wear a face mask, they may 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 performers are expected to wear masks during practices and performances when indoors. This includes Fringe Festival performances. The only exception when performers can be unmasked indoors is if they are alone in a practice room. When outdoors, unvaccinated individuals must be masked if proper physical distance cannot be maintained.

Masking is required for all physical activities, with the exception of swimming/diving. This includes club and intramural sports. When outdoors, unvaccinated individuals must be masked if proper physical distance cannot be maintained and during group activities.

If an individual has concerns about wearing a face mask (whether opaque or clear), they can request accommodations in accordance with RIT’s Workplace Accommodations process for employees, and RIT’s Disability Services Office for students.

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

The RIT community is expected to support and comply with any contact tracing efforts required by local or state mandates. This may include utilizing personal electronic devices, RIT information systems to allow location tracking, and using specific web based applications.

Indoor dining options remain available in identified designated dining areas on campus. Individuals must follow all rules posted for that facility or area. All faculty, staff and students are required to wear a mask in these spaces until seated and must put their mask back on as soon as they have finished eating or drinking. Unvaccinated individuals must maintain a six-foot distance from others when unmasked for eating or drinking. Vaccinated individuals are not required to distance while eating or drinking, but it is a good idea to distance as much as possible. When possible, individuals are encouraged to eat outdoors or in a private indoor space. RIT Dining will continue mobile ordering and food pickup options to ensure RIT can meet the demands of the RIT community.

Ridership of campus shuttles and buses will be at 100% capacity. 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 face masks. Boarding and exiting of the bus will occur through the rear doors (except where accessibility issues require otherwise).

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 posted requirements for each upcoming term. These protocols may include vaccination compliance, completion of compliance plans, attestations or other documentation regarding your status, quarantine, and COVID-19 screenings.

Nonresident restrictions in on-campus housing and common areas do 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.

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. Lounges (residence halls and campus buildings) will be open.

Students who reside in RIT housing may host guests in their living space provided that the guest(s) is also a currently enrolled RIT student. Guests must abide by the requirements of RIT’s Safety Plan. Room/suitemates must agree upon any guests in the room/apartment.

This policy will be adjusted as needed in response to COVID transmission rates at RIT and the surrounding community. Any adjustments to this policy will be communicated to residential students via email.

Personal aides, nurses, care givers, or any other reasonable accommodations provided to students with disabilities are not considered to be guests.

RIT will monitor compliance and infection rates, this guidance may be modified as a result.

As part of RIT’s return to competition, RIT will abide by the NCAA Core principles of resocialization of collegiate sport. NCAA, state, and local governance guidelines will guide our plans and our ability to conduct fall athletic competitions. Safety protocols, if any, shall be identified and implemented for competitive sports in addition to the RIT Safety Plan requirements.

Indoor and outdoor recreational activities are permitted in accordance with the provisions of this Plan and the Club Sports and Intramurals Return to Activity Plan. Copies of the Club Sports and Intramurals Return to Activity Plan can be obtained on line or in person from the Center for Recreational Sports. This section does not apply to intercollegiate sports unless otherwise noted in this Plan. Club sport and intramural competitive tournaments requiring travel will operate in accordance with this Safety Plan and public transportation requirements. There may be additional requirements for individual organized recreational activities.

RIT recreational facilities shall be open to students, faculty, and staff. RIT recreational facilities shall only be open to visitors that provide proof of full vaccination. Single-day passes, Student Life Center memberships, and multi-day climbing passes are available for purchase by visitors upon proof of full vaccination. Current pass and membership holders will be asked to provide proof of vaccination in order to maintain passes and memberships. Unvaccinated visitors shall be denied access to RIT recreational facilities.

In-person meetings can occur at full capacity without physical distancing requirements. Tele- or video-conferencing can be used for administrative functions and/or meetings. The scheduling of events shall utilize the existing Event Management System process. Any indoor event expected to have a capacity of 5,000 or more attendees, shall prepare an event safety plan. The event safety plan shall be included as part of the Event Management System scheduling process.  

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 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. Student employees will be required to comply with RIT’s NY HERO Act Airborne Infectious Disease Exposure Prevention Plan as well.

Students are required to follow all applicable CDC and/or state travel guidelines when traveling for personal reasons. Only essential RIT-sponsored international travel will be permitted and must be approved by the appropriate dean, vice president, or vice provost.

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 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. Health Center staff is available by phone to help students determine if an in-person appointment is needed if otherwise unclear.

Any student reporting symptoms related to COVID-19 will be directed to contact the Student Health Center to be assessed. Assessment will include a review of symptoms and their health history. The need for testing, quarantine, or isolation will be determined by 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 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 over a 24-hour period who has confirmed or suspected COVID-19, shall notify the Student Health Center immediately.

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. 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).

Isolation will be mandated for anyone who tests positive, whether they are vaccinated or not. Quarantine is required for anyone who is unvaccinated and deemed to have been in close contact with a confirmed case. It is strongly advised that vaccinated individuals get a COVID-19 test 3-5 days after exposure. Students can obtain these tests by contacting the Student Health Center.

Decisions regarding isolation and quarantine are made in accordance with County Department of Public Health guidance regarding risk based on proximity of contact, ventilation in the space where contact occurred, whether masks were worn, the duration of contact and vaccination status. Any individual who has tested positive for COVID-19 should not come to campus and should self-isolate for 10 days from the positive COVID-19 test result or onset of COVID-19 related symptoms. If a member of an RIT student’s household (roommate, suitemate, housemate, etc.) shows symptoms of COVID-19, that person should be tested. While awaiting test results, that student, if unvaccinated should not go to work or class and instead, should quarantine until the evaluation is complete. 

During any period of isolation or quarantine, students will undergo active monitoring by the Student Health Center and will self-monitor for symptom development and check temperature regularly. For students residing in campus housing who test positive or have a suspected case of COVID-19 or are unvaccinated with a high risk exposure, RIT will provide alternative housing if necessary to ensure adequate separation from the community for the duration of any isolation or quarantine period. Students who are required to isolate or quarantine will have access to telehealth and student health services. Faculty will work with students in isolation or quarantine to allow them to make academic progress.  Students residing on campus will also be supported by meal delivery for their applicable on-campus meal plans, trash pickup, and laundry support.

Upon information that an individual 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 Student Auxiliary Services—detailing the facilities used, or potentially used, by that individual if that usage could pose a risk to the community.

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

Classrooms and labs may operate at full capacity. Individuals shall wear face masks when in class and/or labs. Where practicable, RIT has provided lower loading to support individual choice to distance from others.

In the event it becomes necessary for RIT to implement physical distancing, a subset of designated RIT courses may transition to a hybrid format on a temporary basis, where part of the instruction is provided in a remote format.  In the event where 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 provide access to content for continuity of instruction for those 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.

Classes will begin on Monday, August 23, 2021, and will end on Monday, December 6, 2021. Final exams will be held December 8, 9, 10, 13, 14, and 15.

2021 Fall Semester Calendar

August 23 First day of classes
December 6 Last day of classes
December 7 Reading Day
December 8-15 Final exams
December 17 Grades Due
Dec. 16 - Jan. 9 Break between Fall Semester and Spring Semester

This schedule is dependent upon the latest guidance and direction of local and state officials, DOH, CDC, and OSHA.

All 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).

Appropriate face masks must be worn by all individuals at all times when in classrooms, labs, lecture halls, and in offices where others may be present. Food and drink are permitted in classrooms and lecture halls at the sole discretion of the faculty member.

All student-serving offices will be open with staff accessible during normal business hours.

Requirements for Visitors

All visitors, invited guests and contractors are strongly encouraged to receive the COVID-19 vaccination. Vaccinations are readily available in our region. Regardless of vaccination status, visitors, invited guests, and contractors will ensure that they are free from symptoms of and known exposure to COVID-19 before coming onto campus. They shall comply with all applicable laws, regulations, guidelines related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the RIT Safety Plan, and any other specific requirements outlined by the department hosting their visit. Failure to comply shall result in the removal of visitors, invited guests, and contractors until such time as assurances can be provided that compliance has been achieved.

 

Visitors, invited guests, and contractors expected to be on campus for less than one day, shall wear appropriate face masks while on campus when indoors in the presence of others, indoors moving through space occupied by others, or outdoors when six (6) feet of distance from other individuals cannot be consistently maintained. They are not required to notify the department hosting their visit of their vaccination status, nor are they required to provide proof of a COVID-19 negative test.

 

Visitors, invited guests, and contractors expected to be on campus for more than one day, shall wear appropriate face masks while on campus when indoors in the presence of others, indoors moving through space occupied by others, or outdoors when six (6) feet of distance from other individuals cannot be consistently maintained and notify the department hosting their visit of their vaccination status before coming onto campus. If not fully vaccinated, visitors, invited guests, and contractors spending more than one day on campus, shall provide proof of a COVID-19 PCR negative test within 72 hours of coming onto campus, or proof of a COVID-19 Antigen test on the day of arrival onto campus. Contractors whose employees provide ongoing services on RIT’s campus are required to ensure that their unvaccinated employees are tested weekly.Those businesses shall be prepared to show proof of compliance with this requirement.

Prospective students and families coming onto campus for purposes of visiting and/or touring the campus shall comply with the provisions of the Enrollment Management Prospective Students and Families policy. Those individuals should check-in at the Bausch and Lomb Center and confirm that they are free from symptoms of and known exposure to COVID-19. In addition to wearing masks indoors and outdoors at all times (with some breaks when outside and socially distanced), prospective students and families will be required to undergo a temperature check. In addition, admission visitor programming will be timed so prospective students and families will not remain on-campus for more than four hours.

Visitors and invited guests coming onto campus as spectators for intercollegiate sports play, athletic recruiting visits, and sports clinics shall comply with the provisions of the Athletics Visitor Policy. Visitors using RIT recreational facilities shall comply with the Intramurals/Club Sports and RIT Recreational Facilities section of this Safety Plan. Those businesses which provide ongoing goods and/or services to RIT shall be required to confirm that their employees meet the requirements of this Safety Plan. RIT reserves the right to confirm vaccination or recent negative test results.

Communications

Timely and accurate communication is central to the success of our plan. The latest 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.

The News and Events e-newsletter will publish each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday during the Fall semester. When applicable, communication related to the pandemic will be published here, 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 indicators 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: