Administrative inaction following surge in campus COVID-19 cases

Rensselaer officially reached a rolling two-week sum of 32 confirmed COVID-19 cases on December 1. The University Pandemic Protocols state that the Trigger Level 1 protocol is initiated when more than 30 COVID-19 cases are confirmed among faculty, staff, or students, within a rolling two-week period, among those with campus access. All members of the Rensselaer community were required to test for COVID-19 after their return to campus between November 29 and December 1. As of December 7, the two-week sum has risen to 36 cases.

While no official updates were communicated by the administration, this surge in cases raised concerns regarding lockdown and transitions to virtual learning amongst the student body. These concerns were brought up by Ibrahim Ali ’25 and were discussed at the Rensselaer Union Executive Board meeting on December 2. According to minutes from the E-Board meeting, Executive Director for Health and Wellness Dr. Leslie Lawrence confirmed that Rensselaer will not be transitioning to remote learning settings and will continue to follow the current academic setting. When questioned about RPI’s current COVID-19 protocols and lack of response to surpassing the threshold for Trigger Level 1, RPI spokesperson Gary Zarr commented: "The University is continuing to monitor the situation closely. There is no change in our COVID-19 protocols.” There has been no confirmation from administrators regarding the specific breakdown of these cases between students with and without campus access.