RIT COVID-19 alert level remains at orange due to increase in cases

RIT COVID-19 alert level remains at orange due to increase in cases Photo: News10NBC.

Updated: November 15, 2020 04:37 PM
Created: November 09, 2020 10:59 AM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Rochester Institute of Technology continues to be in its COVID-19  orange alert level, the university changed from yellow to orange last week.


According to RIT, an orange alert level means "prevalence has increased above baseline and indicators show rates of infection increasing." 

On Sunday, RIT tweeted the prevalence of the virus was its highest on campus, and in Monroe County, which, as of Sunday, reached 10,000 cases.

The school's dashboard shows 30  students and 5 employees tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 14 days. 60 people on campus and 72 off campus are in quarantine. 12 people on campus and 15 people off campus are in isolation.

School officials are implementing several protocols including the following:

  • Masks must be worn outdoors at all times when in the presence of others.
  • All common residential areas (lounges, kitchens, etc.) are reduced to 25 percent capacity or fully closed depending on use type.
  • All non-instructional indoor events/activities are now limited to 10 people.
  • Outdoor events will continue to adhere to the 33 percent capacity limit and will require participants to wear a mask and maintain six feet of physical distancing.

School officials say they are moving "several" students from a residence hall into quarantine to curb the spread. This cluster was identified through wastewater sampling and subsequent surveillance testing, according to school officials. 

"The new Orange mitigation strategies are designed to counter the spread," a statement on RIT's website read. "We are not shifting learning to fully online because we have seen no evidence of virus transmission in a classroom setting. The Monroe County Health Commissioner agrees with this assessment and he has confirmed similar findings in other academic settings. We are also not asking staff to shift to remote operations, as we have not seen transmission occurring within our employee work places. Rather, we have seen viral transmission occurring in social settings, between small groups of people, when masks have been removed."

Since Aug. 19, the first day of classes, a total of 51 students and 7 employees have tested positive for the coronavirus. The alert level was raised from green to yellow in October.

Click here to read RIT's full statement on raising their alert level.

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