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Health and Safety

What to expect for the spring semester on campus

Updated February 18, 2021

Here are some of the ways the campuses will operate to start the spring semester.

COVID-19 testing and vaccine

University Health Service (UHS) will again conduct random surveillance COVID testing of both on-campus and off-campus undergraduate and graduate students throughout the semester. UHS plans to launch this surveillance testing program on Feb. 8 and aims to rapid test up to 2,000 students per week, based on test availability.

UHS will also continue to provide COVID tests to symptomatic students throughout the semester.

With regard to the possible availability of the COVID vaccine to students, Dr. Ralph Manchester, vice provost and UHS director, is working closely with the University of Rochester Medical Center and the Monroe County Department of Public Health to have a plan in place for vaccine administration if young adults become eligible to receive it this semester.

Dining options and spaces

Students living and/or taking classes on the University’s River Campus or Eastman School of Music can again expect reduced occupancies at campus dining locations, but additional spaces are available to accommodate students’ busy schedules and dining plans.

Updated 2/18 The campus Dining Centers will be limited to no more than four students at a table and all tables will be 6 feet apart. Several additional multipurpose campus spaces have been established to accommodate students who need to eat a meal or snack on campus. All tables in these multipurpose spaces will be 6 feet apart and have occupancy and cleaning guidelines. The locations are:

  • Feldman Ballroom in Douglass Commons
  • The Pit, Hirst Lounge, and Starbucks Lounge in Wilson Commons
  • Orchestra Pit and Betty’s Cafe on the ESM campus
  • Hawkins Carlson Room in Rush Rhees Library
  • Eisenberg Rotunda in Schlegel Hall.

Residence Hall lounges will also again be available to students to eat in, with the maximum number of students in a lounge at one time being posted. Additionally, shared kitchens on River Campus residence hall floors will be partially reopened with access to microwaves and sinks.  Students will have to follow posted guidelines to use the kitchen facilities, with only one person using the kitchen at a time.

For more information about the opening of Dining Services campus operations, please check the Dining Services website.

Gatherings and events

Wilson Commons Student Activities is continuing to plan events and activities to engage students. Multiple sessions of events will be held to allow for maximum participation. All events will be listed on CCC and can be filtered by in-person, hybrid, and remote activities.

The beginning of the semester will feature two Rochester Traditions, Winterfest Weekend and the Activities Fair. Winterfest will include a glove/mitten giveaway, ice carving demonstration, fire pits and s’mores, curling, and a virtual comedian. Next to the tent on Wilson Quad, an outdoor ice-skating rink has been created. Skates will be available for open skate and late-night themed events. Over the first six weeks, there will be a virtual campus tour with a different performer each week. Bryan Terell Clark from “Hamilton” will kick off the series and other featured artists include Melissa Villasenor and Ron Funches.

River Campus Libraries will adhere to the same protocols as the fall semester with socially distant seating guidelines in place and the requirement that masks must be worn at all times. RCL will continue to use the Occuspace technology to monitor patron density and let students know what space might be available. For more details, see the River Campus Libraries FAQ.

The Goergen Athletic Center’s tennis courts, pool, fitness center and some additional exercise areas are open to full-time students. See FAQ for occupancies and hours.

Additional space on River Campus continues to be available to all students for group or individual study in the evening. These rooms don’t need to be reserved and are first-come, first-served; students just need to swipe their ID cards individually to enter and abide by the occupancy rules for each room. For locations of these spaces, see this website.

Also available are dedicated spaces that allow students to conduct one-on-one meetings, interviews, teletherapy, take an online class etc. in a private and uninterrupted way. These spaces are free for any current student but need to be reserved through the Event & Classroom Management form.  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.

Eastman students will continue to sign out rooms online for individual practice sessions and/or small group rehearsals; information can be found on Eastman’s COVID -19 policies page.

Practice rooms for River Campus students are available in Strong and Spurrier; information can be found on the Music Department’s lessons page.

The University’s residence halls will have the same protocols in place as in the fall semester. Students cannot enter a residence hall that is not their own, and no guests are allowed in a student’s room—only the roommate or “family unit.” 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. Being outside of your residence hall or living space with your family unit and being unmasked and not social distanced is not permitted; family units only apply to inside residences. 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.

Face masking, social distancing, and Dr. Chat Bot

Students should not expect that COVID-19 safety protocols, including mask wearing, social distancing and gathering limits will be relaxed at any point during the semester, even as some individuals have begun to receive the COVID vaccine. Adhering to these protocols is even more important now given the fluctuating infection rate in the Finger Lakes region and the more severe strain of COVID-19 being present in New York State.

Dr. Chat Bot participation continues to be required for everyone who is physically on any University campus or property at any time of day or night, including for students living in residence halls. Daily emails will help remind everyone to complete their Dr. Chat Bot survey, and text messages will be delivered to on-campus students who registered their cell number in AlertUR. The daily Dr. Chat Bot screenings are helping to keep the University community healthy and help UHS closely monitor student health and wellness on campus. Especially in flu season, the daily self-monitoring and reporting of symptoms is critical to properly managing and treating student illness.

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.

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