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Students

Plan for spring semester student arrivals

Updated January 11, 2021

The University is preparing to welcome students back to campus for spring semester in-person academic and residential experiences. The start dates and formats for all of the schools and colleges have been previously announced.

Similar to the beginning of the fall semester, there are some specific COVID-19 testing and quarantine requirements that many students will need to fulfill before beginning their in-person academic programs and—in the case of residential Arts, Sciences & Engineering (AS&E) and Eastman School of Music (ESM) undergraduates—before they can move into their on-campus living spaces.

All of these requirements and options are outlined below, as well as in the supplemental 2021 Spring Semester Student Arrival Planning flowchart [PDF].

Key points

  • All undergraduate students living on campus (both River Campus and Eastman School of Music) will be tested before moving into the residence halls. This includes both new and returning students. Additionally, Winter Stay undergraduates will also be tested.
  • Any student arriving to campus from New York State, or the contiguous states of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Connecticut, Vermont, or Massachusetts, or a CDC Level 1 country does not need to complete a quarantine upon arrival to Rochester. Undergraduate residential students do, however, need to receive an on-campus COVID test before moving into their residence hall.
  • Residential undergraduate students who are coming from a non-contiguous state (states other than those listed above) or who are coming from a CDC Level 2, 3 or 4 country do need to quarantine through one of the University-arranged hotel options, or through an independent quarantine within New York state or one of the contiguous states. These students also need to receive a COVID test 3 days/72 hours prior to departing for Rochester, and then another test on the fourth day of their quarantine; some options for this are listed in the next section.
  • Students living in graduate housing (such as Whipple Park, Goler House, or University Park) who are arriving from a non-contiguous state or a CDC Level 2, 3 or 4 country need to follow New York States’ Travel Guidance, which does include a pre-departure (3 day/72 hour) COVID test, quarantine, and follow-up test. For these graduate students, the quarantine can be completed in their apartment.
  • For students living in graduate housing who are arriving from New York State, a contiguous state or CDC Level 1 country, no quarantine is required. Although not a requirement, these students may receive a COVID test through UHS on a date following UHS’s completion of all of the required testing.
  • Off-campus undergraduate and graduate students who are arriving from a non-contiguous state or a CDC Level 2, 3 or 4 country need to follow New York States’ Travel Guidance, which does include a pre-departure (3 day/72 hour) COVID test, off-campus quarantine and follow-up test.
  • Off-campus undergraduate and graduate students who are arriving from a contiguous state or a CDC Level 1 country do not need to quarantine. Although not a requirement, these students may receive a COVID test through UHS on a date following UHS’s completion of all of the required testing.
  • If new to campus housing this semester, undergraduate and graduate students must also complete “COVID-19 Safety Training” available in Blackboard.

Fulfilling COVID testing requirements

As noted above, many students will need to take their first COVID-19 test within 72 hours/three days prior to arriving in Rochester or on campus.

There are two options for meeting this initial testing requirement: An at-home test kit from Vault Health, or going to a COVID testing site.

Regardless of the option chosen, students will be required to take a second rapid COVID test, administered on campus through UHS, after the third day of their campus quarantine, or their off-campus quarantine.

Option 1 for initial COVID test: At-home test kit from Vault Health

The University has identified Vault Health as a resource to provide at-home, saliva-based COVID-19 tests to students. Test kits may be purchased directly from Vault for $119 and will be mailed to the student. Unfortunately, the kits cannot be mailed internationally.

Students using a Vault test kit must plan ahead so that the test results are received in time for arrival to campus, or within two days after arrival. Vault and UPS do work on weekends, but to ensure a test is completed on time students should plan on a minimum of 5 business days to complete the process:

  • 1 day to order the test from Vault and have it shipped to a home address
  • 1 day to take the test live on Zoom and return it to a UPS location
  • 2 to 3 days for Vault to process and return the test results
Financial assistance for Vault tests

Assistance in meeting the $119 cost of a Vault test may be available based on funding availability and a student meeting all three of the following criteria:

  1. Financial need
  2. Subject to travel quarantine
  3. Lack of access to a test at a student’s current/hometown location

Students requesting financial support should hold off on ordering/paying for the Vault test and first submit a resource request through the Basic Needs Hub. Once on the Hub website:

  • Select “Other” for area of need
  • Briefly detail how you meet all three criteria
  • You will then receive an email with further information

Receiving financial assistance for the cost of the Vault test also requires advance planning. The University needs these requests a minimum of 7 business days prior to the student’s arrival on campus. Students should plan on:

  • 2 business days (9 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST) for approval of the financial support request
  • 1 day to order the test from Vault and have it shipped to a home address
  • 1 day to take the test live on Zoom and return it to a UPS location
  • 2 to 3 for Vault to process and return the results

Option 2: COVID testing site

Residential undergraduate students can also fulfill their pre-departure/72-hour testing requirement by receiving a COVID test administered at a testing site in their hometown. Students choosing this option must upload proper confirmation that they have received this COVID test to the secure University Health Service (UHS) portal, or show this test confirmation upon arrival to campus.

Quarantining

Full information on the undergraduate quarantine and testing process is available here. To recap:

  • You are not required to quarantine if you are coming from: a CDC Level 1 country, New York state, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Connecticut, Vermont, or Massachusetts
  • You are required to quarantine if you are coming from: a CDC Level 2, 3, or 4 country; or any non-contiguous state

How to complete your quarantine

Undergraduate residential students may sign up on the Residential Life website for one of these options:

  • A fixed date hotel quarantine (dates between January 20 and February 2)
  • A flexible date hotel option (define your own date starting February 1 and running through early March
  • An alternative location quarantine, which may include a friend’s or relative’s off-campus residence, an Airbnb, a different hotel option, etc. Students choosing the alternative option must still meet all other requirements, including a COVID test prior to arrival at the location, three days of quarantine (not leaving that location), and follow-up testing by UHS.

Updated 1/11 For the fixed date and flexible date quarantines, Residential Life will make the reservations for students and manage the billing to take advantage of the University’s tax exempt status.  Residential Life will then bill students for the quarantine stay (three nights at $99/night) through their term bills sometime early spring term 2021. Those students with financial need will be reviewed and will have their bills credited with financial aid at the rate of 30%, 60% or 95% depending on level of need.

Graduate students are permitted to complete a required quarantine in their apartment.

On-campus testing

All new and returning undergraduate students living in residence halls—both River Campus and Eastman—must have a COVID test on campus before moving into the residence halls. Testing will be in the Goergen Athletic Center (GAC) Field House. Students should also have completed Dr. Chat Bot and have the results of their initial COVID test prior to quarantine with them (if they participated in quarantine).

At GAC, students will receive a rapid COVID test and wait 15 minutes for their result. As students receive negative results, they will receive a wristband indicating that they have tested negative and will then be allowed to move into the residence halls.

Any student who tests positive will be sent to UHS for a follow-up PCR test and will need to relocate to quarantine housing at Whipple Park until a negative test is secured or until 10 days of quarantine are complete.

Off-campus students or those living in on-campus graduate housing who are following New York state guidance that requires a second COVID test may also register through UHS for a testing slot.

Students and parents arriving to campus

The process of arriving to campus will be similar to the fall semester in that everyone is required to abide by the health and safety protocols that help prevent the spread of COVID-19:

  • Each student may only bring one person to campus to assist them with move-in. Both the student and helper must wear a face mask or covering. Both AS&E and ESM residential undergraduates should have a specific date to arrive, scheduled on the Residential Life website.
  • The parent or helper does not need to fulfill any testing requirements if only staying in New York State for 24 hours or less.
  • For safety reasons, when the move-in process is complete, the family member and car must leave campus.

If you still have questions, contact us.

Spring 2021 arrival planning flowchart

Reference the flowchart below for an additional overview of the guidance included on this webpage. We recommend downloading this flowchart for the best viewing experience.

Download the flowchart [PDF]

A flowchart detailing move-in guidelines for Spring 2021. Click to download a PDF, and find web-baesd version of this guidance on this webpage above.

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