What Students Should Know: COVID-19

Updated January 3, 2023

Here’s what students need to know and do related to COVID-19 safety measures.

Important Information for Students

SUNY Vaccine Mandate

SUNY continues to require all students who will have a physical presence on campus to provide evidence of, at minimum, the initial course of COVID vaccinations*. Providing proof of a Booster vaccination is no longer required.

If you are planning to attend in-person classes, or visit RCC’s campuses for any reason (to attend labs, to utilize the Library or any facilities, participate in athletics or attend an event, etc.), you must submit proof of the initial course of COVID vaccinations*. New students wanting to enroll in in-person courses should submit their vaccination records as early as possible in the enrollment process so classes may be appropriately registered for you during New Student Orientation.

*Students are considered fully vaccinated for the initial course of vaccination: (1) two weeks after receiving the second dose in a two dose COVID-19 vaccine series or (2) two weeks after receiving a single dose COVID-19 vaccine.

Students taking all online classes with no plans to visit any campus:

If you do not plan to visit any of RCC’s campuses, you must either submit your proof of vaccination or complete the Attestation Form to confirm that you will not physically go to any RCC campus.

Frequently Asked Question

To submit your vaccine  information, take a photo of your vaccination card and send it, along with your photo ID, to [email protected].

You must get vaccinated as quickly as possible in order to physically be on any RCC campus for any reason. Students are not able to register for Spring 2023 in-person classes if they have not submitted their proof of vaccination or been approved for an exemption. Students can register for online/remote classes regardless of their vaccination status. Visit the Spring registration page for more information about registering for classes.

Visit NY’s COVID Vaccine site to find a vaccination site near you.

Students may petition for a medical or religious exemption from the vaccination requirement. Granted exemptions are for campus courses and activities, and do not apply to external placements, including clinical nursing placements.  Currently, there is no opportunity for students in the Nursing program to apply for a religious exemption per the state vaccination requirement for health care workers, and only very limited opportunity for a medical exemption. Nursing students seeking a religious exemption from the College, even if granted, will not be able to participate in clinical placements, and as such, will not be able to register for nursing courses.

A medical exemption is for individuals for whom a physician or medical personnel has expressly recommended exemption from the COVID-19 vaccination.

A religious exemption is for individuals who object to the COVID-19 vaccination based on a sincerely held religious belief.

Please complete one of these three forms to petition for an exemption. Upon completion, students should submit their form via email to [email protected].

Request for Medical Exemption
Request for Religious Exemption
Request for Temporary Medical Accommodation

If you do not submit vaccination proof or receive an approval for an exemption, you will not be permitted to come to any RCC campus and you will not be able to register for in-person classes.

As of January 2023, there are no longer any testing requirements for students. 

If you are scheduled for online classes only and are remaining unvaccinated, complete the Attestation Form to confirm that you will not physically go to any RCC campus. 

If you have been vaccinated, however, verification through the SUNY Vaccination Verification system will allow you to access events, services and activities on campus and avoid any issues with future registrations.

Nursing Student Vaccine Requirements
All Nursing students must follow the COVID vaccine requirement as outlined by the Nursing Department. Please contact [email protected] for more information and with any questions.

As you are aware, the local healthcare agencies are requiring COVID-19 vaccinations. The only exemptions that will be accepted are as follows:

Exemptions to Vaccination Requirement:

  • Received monoclonal antibody or convalescent plasma within the past 90 days
  • Pregnant or nursing mothers who have chosen not to be vaccinated
  • Exemption to receiving an mRNA vaccine does not imply an exemption to
    receiving Johnson & Johnson
  • Most people with a medical contraindication to one type of vaccine will still be able to receive one of the other vaccinations. Please consider the number of weeks between vaccines when scheduling your vaccinations to ensure you are able to meet the deadline date.

Proof of your exemption (from your healthcare provider) needs to be submitted to [email protected] by September 1, 2021.

Proof of full vaccination needs to be submitted to [email protected] by September 1, 2021.

For N95 fit testing:
At this time, we plan to require N95 fit testing for ONLY the healthcare facilities that mandate it. We do not have a comprehensive list of which facilities will be mandating this testing. We do not have any more information at this time. This link describes what fit testing is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pI_wtU-wJp0.

Please be advised we will forward further information as it becomes available. Please hold individual questions regarding N95 fit testing until we have further information. As for vaccinations, the mandates are following the clinical agency requirements. If you are unable to comply you may request a leave of absence.

Masking Expectations

Effective June 21, 2022, the wearing of a mask or face covering on SUNY Rockland Community College property is optional.

This change was made based upon the current COVID-19 conditions at the College and in our County and State, and together with the most recent guidance from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, New York State Department of Health, State University of New York, and the Rockland County Department of Health.

The College will continue to monitor COVID-19 cases on campus and in the surrounding area. If the College determines there is a shift in the current COVID-19 conditions, or related changes are made to the federal, state, and/or local guidance, RCC will return to the masking requirement indoors.

If you have any questions or need additional information, please reach out to our Public Safety office at 845-574-4217.

green face mask

Ask them to put on a mask. Be polite, discreet, and respectful with your request.
Try to speak quietly with them at a safe distance so just the two of you can hear. Show compassion and kindness when you ask them.

“Would you please put your mask on? Wearing a face mask is how RCC is keeping our community safe.”
You might be surprised by a person’s reaction to your request. Sometimes, people simply forget to put on their masks. We are all trying to navigate our first pandemic, so let’s give everybody the benefit of the doubt.

Offer to give them a mask.
Sometimes, people forget to bring their masks with them. Students, faculty, and staff can get a free mask at the Public Safety office in the Fieldhouse, Room 5209 (2nd Floor).

Ask a faculty or staff member for help.
f you have politely asked the person to wear a mask, and have offered them a mask and they refuse, please ask a faculty of staff member to step in and help you. If necessary, they will call Public Safety for assistance. But usually, people comply with safety rules.

Testing Positive for COVID-19, Quarantine and Returning to Campus

Rockland Community College adheres to CDC, NYSDOH, and Rockland County Health Department COVID 19 quarantine and isolation guidance as below outlined.

*Please note the following:

Everyone, regardless of vaccination status:

  • Isolate for 5 days, where day 0 is the day of symptom onset or if asymptomatic, the day of testing.
  • If asymptomatic at the end of 5 days or if symptoms are resolving, isolation ends; wear a well-fitting mask while around others for an additional 5 days.

*Individuals who are moderately-severely immunocompromised or live-in congregate setting or are unable to wear a well-fitting mask for 5 days after a 5-day isolation should continue 10-day isolation.

Students who test positive and have an on-campus presence must notify the Vice President of Enrollment Management and Student Affairs at [email protected].

Employees who test positive must contact their immediate supervisor and Natalie Scott in Human Resources at [email protected].

Those who have notified their respective contact at the College of their positive test results are exempt from testing for a 90-day period.

If Boosted
Completed the primary series of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine < 6 months ago
Completed the primary series of J&J vaccine < 2 months ago

  • No quarantine required but wear a well-fitting mask around others for 10 days after the last date of exposure. Test on day 5, if possible.
  • If symptoms appear, quarantine, and seek testing. If test is negative, quarantine ends. If testing is not done or is positive, complete isolation according to the guidance above.

If completed the primary series of Pfizer/ Moderna vaccine > 6 months ago and not boosted
Completed the primary series of J&J > 2 months ago and not boosted
Are unvaccinated /Incompletely Vaccinated

  • Quarantine for 5 days and wear a well-fitting mask while around others for an additional 5 days. Test on day 5, if possible.
  • If symptoms appear, quarantine, and seek testing. If testing is not done or is positive, complete isolation according to the guidance above.

Cleaning and Sanitizing

At the onset of the pandemic, the campus-wide HVAC system was updated with MERV-13 air filters.

Plant Facilities personnel have continually been flushing and running water in low traffic areas to prevent stagnation. The New York State mandatory cleaning and disinfection protocols are no longer in effect. However, Plant Facilities personnel will continue to clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces such as common areas, restrooms, and shared workstations, and regularly clean and disinfect other surfaces as necessary.

Plant Facilities will continue to provide hand hygiene stations at building entrances and restrooms.

Food Service

The Hawk’s Nest and Cafeteria will be open for the Spring 2023 semester. Visit the Food Services page for hours and details.

CampusClear Screening

Daily screenings for on-campus visitors through the CampusClear App are not required at this time. It is strongly recommended that you continue to self-screen and remain home if you are ill.


Please reach out to [email protected]  with any questions or concerns.

Read SUNY COVID-19 Guidance for Spring 2023 Semester

As we return to campus in Spring 2021, Rockland Community College’s first priority is the health and safety of our campus community, including our students, faculty, and staff. The best way to maintain the safest environment possible throughout 2021 and beyond, is for each of us to take steps to minimize the risks, not only for ourselves, but for all members of the SUNY community. This includes:

  • wearing face coverings (masks)
  • hand washing
  • social distancing
  • participating in testing and tracing
  • completing daily screenings
  • being mindful of our surroundings and the impact we have

Any of us alone can spread this disease and cause harm to others. But all of us together can build a community that is safe and healthy, where educational success is possible.

Here’s what you need to know and do as SUNY and Rockland Community College welcome students back to campus in 2021:

  • The College continues to hold virtual meetings with students, faculty, and staff to provide updates on the current status of campus operations.
  • The College will contact students via phone, text, social media, e-mail, or a combination thereof, regarding their spring schedule and if their classes will be meeting virtually or in-person.
  • Employees will be notified by their supervisors about their work schedules, and if they will be telecommuting, working on campus, or a combination of both.
  • The College will be in touch with the County Executive and other local elected officials regarding its reopening status and plans moving forward.
  • COVID-19 related updates and announcements are posted to the RCC website: sunyrockland.edu/about/coronavirus
  • The College has implemented mandatory COVID-19 pooled saliva testing for students taking in-person classes. Weekly testing is required only for students taking classes on the main campus located in Suffern. Testing continued through the end of the Fall 2020 semester, and will start up again in Spring 2021, and will continue to be required for the 20% of students taking in person classes in spring 2021.
  • There is no direct cost to students for testing.
  • Information regarding the College’s testing process, and testing dates/times are posted to the RCC website: sunyrockland.edu/about/coronavirus/covidtesting
  • The College does not have a residential population and cannot isolate or quarantine people at any of its locations at any time. The College’s COVID-19 Monitor and the Rockland County Health Department work to ensure that individuals who test positive are not present at any campus location until they receive clearance from the Health Department.

Everyone coming to campus, including students, must complete a daily health screening.

  • The College has deployed mobile technology to provide reassurance that students, faculty and staff are ready to return; allowing for self-reporting of temperature, symptoms, and virus exposure risks.
  • The College uses the CampusClear App for the self-monitoring process. Students, faculty and staff who physically attend classes or work on campus respond to basic questions listed on the CampusClear app, allowing for easy daily self-screenings. Any visitors to campus are required to use the app.
  • Additional information about the CampusClear App is posted on the RCC website: sunyrockland.edu/about/coronavirus/reopening-plan/campusclear/

SUNY maintains a comprehensive dashboard of COVID-19 testing and infection rate status across the system and at each campus. suny.edu/covid19-tracker/.

Each of us can take small steps to protect ourselves and the campus community. Because COVID-19 is highly contagious, these simple measures apply both on and off-campus:

  • Wear face coverings (masks) at all times on campus, including in classrooms, conference rooms and other public spaces, even when you are able to maintain six feet of social distancing.
    • Exceptions to this requirement include when students are eating meals on-campus while seated and socially distanced. Faculty and Staff are likewise exempt when alone in their office or other private spaces.
  • Regularly wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and use hand sanitizer where soap and water are not available.
  • Stay home when you are sick or have potentially been exposed to COVID-19.
  • Practice social distancing at all times to reduce transmission.
  • Students who test positive for COVID-19, have been exposed to individuals who tested positive for COVID-19, or are informed by a state or local health department or medical or campus official that they are “at risk” for having COVID-19, may be required to quarantine or isolate.
  • This may include taking classes remotely, and not going to campus facilities. Students identified for quarantine and isolation will have access to certain assistance from Enrollment Management and Student Affairs. They may also receive psychosocial, academic and/or other supports, as needed.
  • When the College learns of a violation of the rules associated with COVID-19 safety, students may lose access to campus facilities.
  • Other disciplinary actions may be taken by the Student Conduct and/or Human Resources Offices. Student conduct is governed by the campus Code of Conduct.
  • Minimum sanctions are outlined in the Uniform Sanctioning in Response to COVID-19 Student Violations.
  • Consistent with SUNY policy, students who are partially or completely removed from the institution due to a violation are not eligible for refunds.

We understand that this is an exceptionally challenging time. SUNY and Rockland Community College have resources to help you get the support you need.

There are three scenarios related to academic program planning for SUNY Rockland Community College for Spring 2021.

  1. Tele-campus mode. In this modality, designed to significantly reduce the density on campus, only a small number of essential personnel (mostly in Plant Facilities, Grounds, Housekeeping, and Public Safety) are physically on campus, and has allowed for a deep cleaning of the entire College. The vast majority of employees continue to telecommute and most instruction is delivered virtually. Any employee who needs to come into the office for the day is required to notify their Vice President, and if approved, the Vice President then requests the permission of the Executive Director of Operations and Chief Law Enforcement Officer.
  2. Modified-campus mode. The College will have no more than 20% of population on campus at a time. The College will continue monitoring and modifying density as needed in an effort to promote the health and safety of all, while also maintaining optimal campus-based staffing levels. All onsite classes will have a distancing plan in place. The majority of employees and students will continue to telecommute and receive instruction virtually, and most meetings will be conducted electronically. For Spring 2021, up to 80% of instruction will remain remote. In-person instruction will be for courses with academic outcomes that cannot be measured or achieved remotely, such as performance, laboratory, and clinical experiences, and other select courses.
  3. Full-campus mode. The College will move into a full-campus mode once it has been determined that the community spread of the COVID-19 virus is not expected to return, and there is sufficient community immunity and availability of treatment. At this point, the campus will become fully operational again, with full on-site instruction, a relaxation of social distancing rules, and the allowance of large events.

Barring unforeseen circumstances, RCC plans to offer up to 20% of courses in a face-to-face format in Spring 2021.

Students who wish to disclose covered disabilities and receive reasonable accommodations for their disabilities should contact the Accessibility Services Office.

Residence Halls: Rockland Community College does not maintain any residential facilities and no faculty, staff or students reside on campus.

Dining Services: The Rockland Community College cafeteria and Hawk’s Nest will remain closed for dining services until further notice.

If the campus must switch to a two-week (or longer) pause, the College will go to Tele-campus mode and the following rules apply:

  • The College will reduce the density on campus to a small number of essential personnel (mostly in Plant Facilities, Grounds, Housekeeping, and Public Safety) physically on campus, and will deep clean the entire College.
  • In this modality, the vast majority of employees will continue to telecommute and most instruction will be delivered virtually.
  • Any employee who needs to come into the office for the day will be required to notify their Vice President and if approved, the Vice President will seek the permission of the Executive Director of Operations and Chief Law Enforcement Officer.
  • In the event of an increased transmission rate in our region which results in mandates, the campus will resume the same operations and academic instruction as dictated in its tele-campus mode.
  • The College has already identified which personnel are essential on-campus and which can proceed with remote work.
  • The College’s Administration will proceed with notifying all students, faculty, and staff through e-mail, social media, and text messaging, should there be any change in the campus operational and academic modality, as well as post updates to the RCC website.
  • Deans and Program Chairs will work with instructors in each individual Academic School regarding a shift to remote instruction.

Changes and Updates: The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic creates a fluid situation that may require unexpected changes in our response. Updates to scientific knowledge, public health guidance, or laws and regulations may mean SUNY and Rockland Community College have to make changes to our standards and rules, including those indicated above. SUNY and Rockland Community College will try to minimize these changes and their impact. We will keep you informed of new developments.

Thank you in advance for everything you are doing and will do to make 2021 safe for you, your fellow students, the campus community and beyond.