RPI releases return-to-campus plan for the Fall semester

An email sent to the Rensselaer community provided details of the Institute's plan for classes, events, and safety protocols for this Fall semester with consideration for the current state of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Fall 2021 semester is to be conducted in-person for all classes except those with over 100 registered students, which will be conducted in a hybrid model. All students and faculty will be required to wear masks indoors, regardless of vaccination status. Students are only allowed to go mask-free in their own dorm rooms or outdoors. Faculty who are at an increased risk of serious infection will be accommodated to teach classes remotely, provided they supply supporting medical documentation, and students with health concerns may contact Disability Services for an accommodation. The exact documentation required was not specified within the plan.

COVID-19 testing remains a requirement, with vaccinated students subject to testing once a week and unvaccinated students twice a week. All students and faculty are required to be vaccinated, with some exceptions made for medical or religious reasons. In an email sent by Assistant Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students Travis Apgar to the RPI community, several restrictions were outlined for those not already fully vaccinated. These restrictions include not being permitted to participate in college athletics or attend campus events other than classes, and having to wear a mask in outdoor gatherings of over 30 people. Students are only considered “fully vaccinated'' two weeks after their second dose of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine or sole dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Events and activities will be allowed to take place with attendance capped at 100 students, but no external visitors will be allowed without prior approval from RPI. Clubs, organizations, research, and college athletics will also be able to operate normally while conforming to the Institute’s policies on gathering sizes and masks. Intercollegiate events for NCAA programs will be held without external spectators.

Students in on-campus housing will be required to quarantine for 14 days in RPI-designated housing if tested positive for COVID-19, while those in off-campus residences will quarantine there. All students who have had contact with those infected will be asked to self-isolate for 14-days. In the event of a COVID-19 shutdown, on-campus students will be given 72 hours to vacate their rooms and leave campus, except for those still in quarantine or those unable to travel who will be given accommodations. If there is a shutdown there will be a one-week break and the semester will be extended a week.

These guidelines are subject to change based on state and federal directives as well as the evolving nature of the pandemic. A detailed document of RPI’s current guidelines can be found here.