Important Information About the Spring 2022 Semester

January 27, 2022

Dear University of Rochester Community,

We are excited to have our students back on campus next week! In preparation for this and following up on last week’s message, we are writing to inform you of the important campus details and requirements for re-starting the in-person spring semester successfully.  We encourage you to read this message carefully because it specifically addresses:

  • Window for returning to campus and room & dining credit
  • New campus face mask policies
  • COVID booster requirements
  • Pre-arrival COVID testing requirement for residential undergraduate students
  • New isolation policies for students, faculty, and staff
  • Gathering limits
  • Surveillance testing
  • Contact tracing for students
  • Dr. Chat Bot
  • Testing options this semester
  • Remote Work

 Please read on and refer to the COVID Resource Center for full details. Questions can be directed to


We want to be responsive to student needs and situations when it comes to returning to campus, especially given the severe winter weather travel conditions forecasted for the East Coast in the coming days. Therefore, students should feel free to return to campus anytime beginning Thursday, Jan. 27 to Sunday, Jan. 30. Students who arrive during this time period will still see a credit applied to their account for pro-rated room and dining charges that was previously announced for the period when classes were remote.  For students who arrive during this period, the credit will apply as if students arrive on Saturday, Jan. 29, regardless of the actual date of arrival. Dining plans will be turned on starting the morning of Thursday, Jan. 27. For any questions regarding the room and dining credit, please email, but please understand that it may take up to 45 days for the credit to appear.


The University is now requiring surgical, N95, or KN95 masks (non-cloth masks) to be worn by all students, faculty, staff, and visitors—including those who are fully vaccinated—while indoors on any of the University’s campuses and properties. Cloth masks are acceptable only as a second/outer layer when paired with a surgical, N95, or KN95 mask. The only exception to this face mask policy is the use of a clear face mask when necessary for communication with individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing.

In line with this new requirement, the University is going to make available free disposable surgical face masks throughout many campus locations. For more details, please visit the Face Masks page.

 The Medical Center—including the School of Nursing and School of Medicine & Dentistry—has separate masking policies and guidelines for clinical areas, which will remain in effect and are available on the URMC Intranet site.


Students are required to receive booster vaccinations by February 1, or within 30 days of becoming eligible, if that is a later date. Please send proof of your booster to University Health Service (UHS) by uploading it to UHSConnect.

Faculty and staff are required to receive booster vaccinations by February 21, or within 30 days of becoming eligible, if that is a later date. Employees who received their booster at an Employee Health vaccine clinic in LeChase Assembly Hall or the SMH Outpatient Pharmacy are already recorded and no further action is required. Employees who have received their booster at any other location, including UR Medicine locations, will need to submit proof of the booster vaccination through the University portal (University network or VPN access required).


As a reminder, undergraduate residential students are required to have a negative COVID-19 test prior to their campus arrival. Students can fulfill this requirement by getting a COVID PCR lab test (72 hours prior to arrival) or rapid at-home antigen test (24 hours prior to arrival) before returning to campus. All students who have received their COVID test should upload proof of a negative test result—or proof of having COVID within the past 90 days—to UHSConnect. If you are unsure how to upload documents to UHSConnect, more information is available here.


To stay consistent with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) recommendations, the University has updated its quarantine and isolation policies for all students, faculty, and staff. As you know, isolation is intended to reduce the risk of infected persons unknowingly transmitting the infection to others. It is just one measure, along with booster vaccinations and masking, that helps us keep the University community as safe and healthy as possible.

According to the new guidance, individuals may end isolation five full days after they test positive if they have never experienced symptoms, OR five days after the onset of symptoms if they are fever-free for 72 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication and other symptoms have improved. Once isolation ends, the individual should wear a well-fitting surgical, N95 or KN95 mask while around others for an additional five days. Those whose symptoms have not improved may need to isolate for the full 10-day period.

Additional information for students:

  • If a student is eligible for a COVID booster but hasn’t received it yet (or shared the information with UHS), they will need to be moved into quarantine after a COVID exposure.

 Faculty and staff update on leaving isolation and returning to work:

  • Non-clinical employees do not need to have a note from their primary care provider to return to work if seeking to end isolation after day 5. See FAQ for full information.
  • Medical Center employees who work in clinical spaces will continue to follow the rules specific to healthcare workers.


There are no current limits on the number of individuals who can gather together, but per the face mask policy, everyone must be masked while indoors and shall be masked and remain masked up to the point of eating or drinking. Everyone needs to re-mask when done eating or drinking.


Surveillance testing will continue for all students, faculty, and staff who are not vaccinated with the original vaccine series and who have an exemption on file.


Although New York State and Monroe County are no longer conducting contact tracing for COVID-19 exposure, UHS will continue to contact trace for all students.


Beginning Jan. 29, students should use Dr. Chat Bot to report COVID-19 symptoms to UHS; daily completion of Dr. Chat Bot is no longer required for students who are not on or planning to enter the Medical Center campus. Anyone who enters the Medical Center campus still needs to complete Dr. Chat Bot, even absent any symptoms.

For students, using Dr. Chat Bot to connect with UHS when you are experiencing any of the COVID-19 symptoms is the most effective way to alert them that you may need to be tested. The day that a student reports symptoms through Dr. Chat Bot is considered to be the start day of the isolation requirement.

For faculty and staff, Dr. Chat Bot remains a daily requirement prior to being on any University campus or property.


Testing will be accessible to all students. The University will provide each student with a COVID-19 rapid test kit for use whenever they wish. All symptomatic students will be tested at UHS after they report their symptoms through Dr. Chat Bot. Asymptomatic students can check the UHS website for information about testing options. Further information about the distribution of the rapid test kits will be announced soon via @Rochester and the COVID Resource Center


Staff guidelines

  • Essential workers must continue to report to work.
  • Staff members who are working remotely or in a hybrid arrangement should work with managers and supervisors (or their deans office for those within academic units) to determine if it is appropriate to work in-person, continue working remotely, or with a hybrid schedule at this time.


  • As in-person instruction resumes, we are expecting faculty to be on campus to teach, advise and mentor.  
  • Research activities will continue, as they have, in person. 
  • The Provost’s Office and school deans will continue to communicate with faculty and provide support.

 We hope everyone has a great semester, and welcome back! Please keep in mind that we are responsible to one another to maintain a safe environment where everyone can learn, work, and thrive.


Sarah C. Mangelsdorf
President and G. Robert Witmer, Jr. University Professor

Mark B. Taubman
CEO, University of Rochester Medical Center and Dean, School of Medicine and Dentistry

Sarah E. Peyre
Interim Provost

Kathleen Gallucci
Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer