Testing, Quarantine, and Contact Tracing

All students, faculty, and staff are responsible for getting a COVID-19 test prior to coming to campus and must provide evidence of a negative result before circulating on campus for any reason.

Proof of this negative test result is necessary before students can move into university residence halls or apartments, attend classes or labs, or participate in meetings, recreational, or social events on campus. Additionally, this negative test is required before entering into the university-sponsored quarantine program held at area hotels.

Individual COVID-19 Testing

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 circulate on campus for any reason.

Individuals returning from areas with significant community spread of COVID-19 will be required to take an additional test upon their return to campus. If individuals test positive, they will be required to follow isolation procedures as defined by the Department of Health in their current locale. 

Employees with positive tests should report this information using the RIT Employee Self Serve portal. Students with positive tests must stay home until cleared by their local Department of Health. If students test positive after returning to campus, they will be followed by the Monroe County Department of Health and Student Health Center.

Surveillance Testing

RIT is implementing a comprehensive surveillance testing program that includes wastewater testing from RIT-owned residence halls and apartment complexes, testing for cause, and randomized testing.

Wastewater testing: Due to the fact that the virus is shed in feces within three days of infection and symptoms can take much longer to present, wastewater testing is an important early detection tool. While a sample of wastewater cannot determine an exact number of people with COVID-19, it indicates whether incidence of the disease is increasing, decreasing, or unchanged. If a spike is detected in one of the sampling areas, targeted testing will be conducted to identify and isolate infected individuals.

Randomized testing: In order to ensure the safety of our campus, RIT will be conducting randomized, self-administered surveillance testing throughout the fall semester. It is expected that students randomly chosen for testing will comply in order to maintain a safe and healthy campus. If you are selected for surveillance testing, you will receive an email notification to your RIT email address with instructions for completing a self-administered COVID-19 test. RIT will cover the cost of the test.

Daily Health Screen

To assist with symptom monitoring, faculty, staff, and students must complete the RIT Daily Health Screen every day, seven days a week, whether or not they are coming to campus. The screen 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.

Access the screen online

Learn more about the Daily Health Screen

Contact Tracing

Members of the RIT community will use the Location Check-In webpage for contact tracing. Location Check-In uses unique QR codes to identify individuals in classrooms, offices with frequent visitors, and RIT shuttles. The URL will be available soon.

New York State Travel Advisory Information

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has issued a travel advisory that requires people traveling from states with high community transmission of COVID-19 to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival to New York.

Learn more

Isolation and Quarantine if Ill or Exposed

Isolation will be mandated for anyone who tests positive and anyone deemed to have been in close contact with a confirmed case. If directed to quarantine or isolate, students will not be allowed to leave their quarantine or isolation space for 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 potential symptom development.

Related Story

July 30, 2020
RIT to monitor wastewater for signs of surges in coronavirus cases before symptoms set in
RIT will use an unusual technique to search for surges in coronavirus cases before those infected even begin displaying symptoms. The university will test wastewater on campus for traces of COVID-19 twice weekly beginning Aug. 5 to get early indications if coronavirus is spreading in campus housing and other areas of campus.

Read More

Frequently Asked Questions

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.

RIT employees can find information about COVID-19 testing, testing options in Rochester, and other information on the Information for Employees webpage.

There are a variety of mail-order tests available that meet our standard of molecular or PCR tests. Look for FDA-EUA approval to ensure their quality. These tests can be obtained by ordering online or through local pharmacies.

We recommend searching for community-based testing sites for COVID-19 and contacting those locations directly for availability of testing those under 18 years of age. Your primary care provider may be able to identify appropriate testing sites in your area. Alternatively, a mail-order test may be purchased from Vault Health by a parent or guardian for a student under the age of 18.

For students under the age of 18 in the Greater Rochester area, New York state has set up a free drive-up testing site at Monroe Community College that is available by appointment only. Students must fill out the online assessment form. Once the form is submitted, they should call 888-364-3065 to schedule an appointment. Students should list their college address when registering for an appointment at the MCC testing location. It is recommended to have a parent or guardian present during your appointment, but it is not required. In addition, Trillium Health has a walk-up testing site that screens individuals 17 and older for COVID-19 who are asymptomatic, as long as a parent or guardian is present. The Trillium Health testing is not free. Your insurance will be billed or you will be charged a cash payment of $114.

You must submit your COVID-19 test result to the Student Health Center using the COVID-19 Pre-Arrival Screening form, which is available on the RIT Wellness Portal. All test results must be uploaded to the portal, whether they are positive or negative. Test results must include your name, date of birth, the date in which the test was performed, and the result of the test. If your submission does not include this information, the Student Health Center will be unable to approve your submission and will request a new upload.

Family members and friends helping with move-in do not need a COVID-19 test, but they do need to observe the visitor policy. Faculty and staff helping with move-in do need a COVID-19 test before coming to campus. RIT is requiring all employees to get a COVID-19 test and provide proof of a negative result using the RIT Employee Self Serve portal prior to coming to campus.

If you do not have a negative test result when you arrive to move into an on-campus residence, you will not receive your room key. In the event that this occurs, students will be responsible for finding suitable housing until a negative test result is submitted. Please keep in mind that last minute hotel housing will be limited due to the New York state mandated quarantine needs of local universities. Students in off-campus housing will not be permitted to circulate on campus, which includes attending classes, laboratory work, meetings, dining, and socializing.

If you do not plan to come to the RIT campus during the fall semester, you do not have to upload test results; however, you are still required to complete the form to attest that you will not be circulating on campus.

If you have a positive test result, do not come to campus. We expect you to stay home until you are released for travel by your local health department. We are prepared to support students who test positive with remote options, so they do not fall behind in their coursework.

We recommend contacting your local county or state health department for a list of testing resources in your area. Many primary care physicians are aware of testing availability as well. You can also search your current location to find a COVID-19 test location anywhere in the United States on the New York State Find a Test webpage.

Testing at the Student Health Center is only for students with symptoms of COVID-19 illness. Testing at the Student Health Center requires an appointment with one of our providers.

The Student Health Center does not have the capacity to test all students upon arrival to campus. Students must get their tests taken and results provided prior to arrival. If you were unable to get a test before arriving to campus, you can search your current location to find a COVID-19 test location near you.  Students waiting for test results will need to quarantine off-campus until results are available.

Students, faculty, and staff must get a COVID-19 test within two weeks prior to returning to campus.

We understand due to traveling and scheduling that some students may have to take the COVID-19 test a few days earlier. We will accept the results as long as students have been adhering to self-quarantine practices the entire time.

Tests prior to arrival are covered by the individual. Surveillance testing of students throughout the semester will be covered by the university. We recommend checking with your local testing locations and insurance company regarding payment options. If you are unable to pay for a COVID-19 test out-of-pocket and it is prohibiting your return to campus, contact our Case Management team at casemanagement@rit.edu.

If students receive a positive COVID-19 test result, the health department in the state in which you tested in will reach out to you regarding the need for isolation until the infection clears. This may mean your arrival to RIT is delayed. RIT is prepared to support your educational efforts if this must occur.

Students who live in on-campus housing requiring isolation will be moved to alternative housing. Students in isolation will 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. If off-campus students do not have the ability to isolate in place, the Monroe County Department of Health may be able to assist.

Employees with positive tests will be required to follow isolation procedures as dictated by the Monroe County Department of Health. They should also report this information to the Director of RIT’s Environmental Health and Safety.

Individuals exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 or who have been in close contact with individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 should speak with their personal health care provider (employees) or the Student Health Center (students). Need for testing, quarantine, and isolation will be determined based upon each individual’s situation and risk assessment. 

Testing for cause (having symptoms or significant exposure) and randomized surveillance testing for students will be overseen by the Student Health Center, in an on-campus testing area dedicated to COVID-19 testing. Faculty and staff will be directed to their personal provider for testing or a New York State Department of Health testing site. Most insurance covers testing for cause.

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

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

We continue to work through a myriad of issues regarding the start of the fall semester. We know that many students’ planned arrival dates could be impacted by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s travel advisory for states with high infection rates. More information is available on the NYS Travel Advisory Information webpage.

Students from quarantine states who are living in on-campus housing will have an RIT-sponsored test roughly 14 days after completion of quarantine.

Students from quarantine states who are not living on campus will be not be tested in this stage of campus disease surveillance.

Isolation separates sick people with a contagious disease from people who are not sick. Quarantine separates and restricts the movement of people who were exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick.

Quarantine means that you will have to stay in your assigned quarantine housing for the duration of the incubation period: 14 days. You must monitor yourself for any potential symptoms of infection including cough, fever, chills or muscle aches, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, sore throat, or new loss of sense of smell or taste. You must check your temperature in the morning and evening, and report symptoms or elevated temperature to your health care provider. We expect all students to participate in our Daily Health Screen every day, throughout the semester.

If you are in university housing or university sponsored quarantine, you will report any concerning symptoms to our Student Health Center at 585-475-2255. You do not need to wear a mask when you are alone in your room.

No. You cannot go to work or school, participate in social activities, or visit any public places. You should stay in a well-ventilated room that is your own living space in a home or apartment setting, or a single hotel room. You should not be spending in-person time with friends or family.

All students will continue to have access to telehealth and telemental health student 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.

If students experience concerning symptoms, they should call RIT Student Health Center at 585-475-2255. A health care provider is on-call and available by phone for urgent concerns when our RIT Student Health Center is closed.

We encourage students who can isolate or quarantine at home to do so. They need to be able to get home by private vehicle. Parents can come and pick up their children. We would recommend all wear masks in the car to reduce risk of exposure to parents.

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

If you have been randomly selected for testing, you must schedule your test within 24 hours even if you are not experiencing symptoms of COVID-19.

All students must complete the surveillance testing if selected, even if you are living off-campus.

Students who test positive during surveillance testing will be contacted by the Student Health Center and the Monroe County Health Department. We will work collaboratively to make sure you are in a safe housing situation with appropriate services.