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Health and Safety

Updates on COVID-19 protocols and new student space options

Since the University’s response to COVID-19 began back in February, many new protocols have been put in place designed to keep University community members healthy and reduce the likelihood of an individual’s exposure to the virus. Some of these guidelines have changed over the past several months, as well as some new space options have been approved by CURT recently to hopefully make it easier for students to navigate the campus and academic experience this semester.

Below are some clarifying dos and don’ts, as well as new space options for students. As a reminder, University students, faculty, and staff who observe that an individual or group is not acting responsibly with regard to COVID-19 should report these incidents through the COVID-19 Concern Report.


Eating and drinking on campus

Permitted: Eating meals in campus Dining Centers, the designated indoor dining areas (for example Feldman Ballroom), residence hall rooms and lounges, campus apartments and houses, and designated outdoor dining areas. Eating in indoor and outdoor campus spaces requires students to wear a mask up the point of starting to eat a meal and immediately putting it back on after the meal is done.

Social distancing of 6 feet is always encouraged, but groups of up to six at a table are permitted to sit together (closer than 6 feet) and eat or drink at designated dining areas only. The outdoor designated dining areas are:

  • The plaza outside of Grab & Go (2nd floor Douglass Commons)
  • Graham Smith Plaza (the area between Douglass Commons and Wilson Commons)
  • The tables in front of Douglass Dining Center (1st floor Douglass Commons)
  • The tables in the Eastman Living Center Courtyard

Eating anywhere outdoors is permitted as long as you are at least 6 feet away from anyone else.

Not permitted: Eating together in groups in areas that are not designated dining areas—indoors or outdoors.  It’s also not permitted to move furniture in any dining space or lounge; the furniture has been purposefully arranged to maintain 6 feet of distance.

Permitted: In areas that are not designated for eating and drinking, you can drink if you bring your mask down to take a drink, and then pull it back up over your mouth and nose after each sip. If you do this, you don’t need 6 feet of separation (although it’s always recommended).

Not permitted: Leaving your mask down just because you have a beverage in hand, in areas that have not been designated for eating and drinking.

Indoor spaces, masks, and social distancing

Permitted: Being in your residence hall room alone or with your living unit/“family unit” without a mask. On-campus “family units” have maximums: 1 person in a single room; 2 people in a double room; 1, 2, 3 or 4 people in an apartment; or 4 or 6 people in a suite. All students in a shared on-campus house must wear a mask at all times except when in their own room or in a bathroom.

Permitted: these new space options.

  • Reserved Space Options: new for students is a River Campus room reservation process where space can be booked for free for multiple purposes. Any current student can reserve space through the Event & Classroom Management form.  Purposes include space for a one-time private appointment such as a CARE meeting, job interview, telehealth or teletherapy session, Title IX meeting, etc. Or students can reserve this space to take an online class if there isn’t sufficient time due to course schedules to return to a personal space (e.g. room in Residence Hall, apartments, office). There is no food allowed in these reserved spaces and this option is not meant for group meetings, but it is another option for students seeking personal space.
  • Space Options for Individual Study and Group Work: Additional space on River Campus is now available to students for group or individual study on evenings. These rooms do not need to be reserved and are first come, first serve. Students just need to swipe their ID cards individually to enter and abide by the occupancy rules for each room, including wearing a mask. These designated spaces are marked in Douglass Commons, Genesee, Gavett, Goergen, Harkness, Hylan, Meliora, Rettner and LeChase halls, and are available from 6 pm-11 pm, every day.

Not permitted: Taking off your mask inside any indoor campus space, other than inside a campus residence, inside a single campus office, or to eat in a designated dining area.

Outdoor spaces and events, masks, and social distancing

Permitted: If everyone is properly wearing a mask, individuals can be together around an outdoor table or outside in a group and be closer than 6 feet together. But everyone in the group has to be masked—if one person is not, the 6 feet of separation is required.  For this reason, everyone must carry a face mask or covering with them at all times.

Not permitted: Being outside of your residence hall or living space with your “family unit” and being unmasked and not social distancing. Family units only apply to inside residences.

Permitted: Low-risk activities (as defined by New York State) including flying disc games and bean bag toss are allowed.  Always make sure to wash your hands thoroughly before and after these activities and sanitize any shared items before and after use. For outdoor events on the Wilson Quad (movies, yoga), there will be spots marked 6 feet apart. Once you get to your spot and are sitting alone you can remove your mask. If you want to sit with others you can sit closer than 6 feet apart but need to keep masked through the entire event. Events in the tent are considered outdoor events and if all participants are masked, everyone does not need to be 6 feet apart.

Not permitted: Gathering in groups larger than 50 people while engaging in low-risk activities, or attending an outdoor event with friends and sitting closer than 6 feet apart without a mask.

Personal travel

Not permitted: Unnecessary student travel greater than 100 miles from Rochester during the semester. If students do this, they must plan to quarantine away from campus for 14 days after their return and should monitor their health.

Permitted: There are some limited exceptions to the 100-mile student travel rule, such as necessary travel for personal or family reasons. These exceptions will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis by school/college deans, UHS and the University provost, and could potentially eliminate the need for a 14-day quarantine.

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