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Important Message to Undergraduate Students in the College

The message below was sent to all undergraduate students in the College. It was updated on March 13 to include new information.

Dear Students,

We are writing to clarify the University’s recent correspondence about our social distancing efforts and undergraduate students’ ability to remain on campus.

Leaving Campus

Public health officials tell us that it’s crucial to reduce density on campus to maintain our campus community’s health.  We must take steps to ensure that those who are able to leave campus will do so quickly and efficiently.

All undergraduate students are expected to leave campus and stay home for the rest of the semester. The only exceptions are for students who meet the following criteria listed below. These criteria also apply to any undergraduate student returning from a study abroad program (or similar off-campus experience).

We know that this transition will be potentially complicated or difficult for some students. On our end, we are committed to ensuring that students can meet their academic requirements remotely. We are working with students and faculty to successfully make the transition to online education for the remainder of the semester.

We encourage all undergraduate students to leave campus by March 22.  Residential Life Area Offices will be open regular business hours this week and next week, with weekend hours from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, March 14-15 and March 21-22.  All check outs will be express—requiring students to pick up an envelope at their Area Office, complete the information printed on the envelope, and leave their keys in the designated secure drop box for their area. As you make your arrangements, try to pack in ways that will allow you to leave campus yourself, rather than requiring family members to assist you.  For your and your family’s health, our goal remains to limit the number of people on campus.

For students who are currently away from campus on break, and who are not able to return to pack their belongings, we will have additional information in the coming days about options for storage. In the meantime, anyone who can identify a friend who is able to assist with packing, please be in touch with Residential Life so that we may help with access to the room. For students who leave their belongings in their rooms, it will be possible for you to make arrangements to come to Rochester between now and May to claim your property.  Residential Life will be in touch with you about these options in the coming week. Students who are gone from campus, but whose property is still in their room will also be considered checked out and will receive a credit for their room charges on their term bill for the remainder of the semester.

Reimbursements of room and board charges will be pro-rated as of March 20. The April billing statement will reflect these adjustments. Credits on your student bill as a result of this adjustment for room and board will have no impact on financial aid packages.  Please note that the University will not be issuing refunds for tuition as classes and instruction will continue through the end of the Spring 2020 semester and credits and grades will be assigned normally.

Students Requesting Access to Stay on Campus

We are setting up a registration process to help us meet the needs of students who have circumstances that may require staying on campus. We are committed to evaluating these registration requests in a sympathetic and quick manner.

We understand that students meeting one or more of the following criteria have potentially justifiable need to stay on campus. If you meet one of these criteria, you must request an exemption to stay on campus.

  • Any student who faces housing insecurity (homelessness or a precarious living situation);
  • International students who are experiencing either:
    • Immigration, travel, and/or visa restrictions;
    • Have a home country currently designed at a Warning Levels 2 & 3 and USDOS Levels 3 & 4 for COVID-19.

We require registration so that we have a clear understanding of our campus population for the remainder of the semester. We also want to ensure that we can provide adequate resources for all of our students who are in the difficult position of not having a safe place to go to off campus.

Beginning March 28, 2020, residence hall access will be strictly limited allowing only students who are approved to remain on campus.  If you are a student who is returning after this date to pack your personal belongings, you must contact Residential Life in advance to gain access (585-275-3166).  Do not simply arrive on campus assuming that you will be able to access your room.

Students who are approved to remain on campus will participate in online courses and will not be allowed to attend class in person. Those on campus should expect limited campus services available. This includes reduced dining options, curtailed hours at libraries and athletic facilities, limited campus activities and events.  Additionally, Residential Life may consolidate students to a select number of buildings on campus so that we can maintain basic support and facilities services for those students. During this period, students approved to remain on campus will not permitted to have guests or visitors. We understand that these are extreme measures that are undertaken to protect the health of all of our community.  We appreciate your patience, flexibility and cooperation as we all navigate these unprecedented developments.

Once again, we understand that this will be a difficult time for you, but we are committed to supporting our students whether at home or on campus.  We will share additional updates and some frequently asked questions (FAQs) in the coming days.


Jeff Runner

Jeffrey Runner, PhD
Dean of the College
Arts, Sciences & Engineering
Professor of Linguistics and Brain & Cognitive Sciences

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