Online start, booster requirement for Spring semester

On December 23, an email from President Shirley Ann Jackson detailed policy changes for students, staff, and faculty during the upcoming Spring semester due to the recent surge of the COVID-19 Omicron variant.

The start of the Spring semester, January 10, will occur online and continue until January 24, pending the infection rate for Rensselaer County. Residential students are expected to arrive on campus on January 17 and take a COVID-19 PCR test within 48 hours of their arrival on campus. Students will undergo a residential building quarantine with drop-and-go meals until they receive a negative PCR test result.

Until January 31, residential and off-campus students will be tested twice and once a week, respectively. Throughout the Spring semester, athletes and unvaccinated students must test twice a week. Before the start of in-person lectures, gatherings are limited to 10 or fewer people and most campus buildings such as the Folsom Library, Rensselaer Union, and Muller Center will be closed except for the Health Center in Academy Hall.

All eligible students are expected to receive a booster shot before January 7 and enter the relevant documentation into DIAL before their first in-person COVID test. Anyone who is either six months past their Pfizer vaccination or two months past their Johnson & Johnson vaccination is eligible for the booster shot. If they are ineligible then within seven days of becoming eligible, they must receive a booster vaccination.

If a student tests positive for COVID-19 or has symptoms before arrival on campus, the student must stay home and contact the appropriate class dean for further guidance. For those who test positive on-campus, the student will move to isolation housing for 10 days conditioned on two negative test results. Arrival Ambassadors will provide additional details for residential students about the Spring semester by January 7. RPI Athletics will provide additional information to student-athletes.

Faculty and staff are expected to return on campus on January 3. Faculty and staff must take the booster vaccine before this date, which will be verified during the first on-campus test. For those unable to obtain the booster, a limited booster clinic will be run. Faculty and staff must receive a COVID test once a week.

If students have further questions, one can email for an individual response by their Class Dean. If faculty or staff have further questions, one can contact Lou Padula at