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Updates

University COVID-19 Tier system to determine face mask guidance

Effective June 7, the University of Rochester will use three COVID-19 tiers—low, medium, and high—to both determine and communicate the face mask requirements on campus each week.

Students, faculty, staff, visitors—anyone who plans to be inside a campus building or facility—will be able to check what the status is and know whether face masks are required indoors (high); strongly encouraged (medium), or optional (low). The system directly correlates with the CDC’s COVID 19 Community Levels for Monroe County and provides a consistent framework upon which to base University face masking guidance moving forward.

The University’s COVID-19 Tier system applies to all of the University’s campuses with the following carve-outs that are aligned with the main mission of the specific area:

  • Memorial Art Gallery (maintains separate face mask guidelines)
  • URMC Patient care areas “Blue Zone,” which still requires medical-grade masks until further notice. Note:  all Medical Center “tan” locations —including the School of Nursing, School of Medicine and Dentistry, and administrative areas such as Corporate Woods and RTP, will follow the new University Covid-19 Tier system. A full description of Medical Center masking requirements is available on the URMC Intranet (University network access required).

The three University COVID-19 Tiers are:

LOW indicates a low level of transmission risk on campus based on Monroe County data. Face masks are optional for all students, faculty, staff, and visitors indoors. Face masks are required on University shuttles and transportation.

MEDIUM indicates a medium level of transmission risk on campus based on Monroe County data. Face masks are strongly encouraged for all students, faculty, staff, and visitors indoors. Face masks are required on University shuttles and transportation.

HIGH indicates a high level of transmission risk on campus based on Monroe County data. Face masks are required for all students, faculty, staff, and visitors indoors in accordance with the following guidelines:

  • Acceptable face coverings are disposable, non-cloth masks: surgical or KN95. Students, faculty, and staff who are alone and not in a public or shared space may unmask. This does not apply to clinical areas that require masking per New York State regulations.
  • Any in-person meetings or group activities in conference rooms or other indoor spaces should be conducted with everyone being masked—regardless of vaccination status.
  • In the classroom, fully vaccinated instructors who can maintain greater than 6 feet distance from all class participants can unmask while instructing; class attendees must remain masked and the instructor should re-mask when class instruction is complete.
  • When eating in Rochester Dining locations or other public or shared indoor spaces on campus, everyone should stay masked when not eating.
  • In on-campus student living spaces, students may be unmasked in their room with their roommate(s) or “family unit.” All other times, students should be masked.
  • Face masks are required for everyone on the University shuttles and transportation.
  • For performances and varsity sporting events, performers and athletes may be unmasked, but audiences/spectators must mask when indoors. Sponsored University events held off-campus should adhere to local venue policies.

Communicating the University COVID-19 Community Tier

The current University COVID-19 Tier will be posted on the COVID Resource Center Face Mask page, on the COVID-19 Resource Center site, and will be posted daily in @Rochester. If there is a change in the University COVID-19 Level, it will be clearly communicated in @Rochester and will go into effect starting at 8:30 a.m. that morning, and will stay in place until further notice.

Possible Exceptions

There could be circumstances where the number of COVID-19 cases within the University community spikes, but the overall Monroe County rate of infection is not similarly as high. In these urgent cases and with guidance from campus health officials, the University COVID-19 Community Tier could quickly change as a health measure to reduce the spread of infection on campus. If this decision is made, it would be communicated broadly.

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