What Students Should Know: COVID-19 and Returning to Campus

What Students Should Know: COVID-19 and Returning to Campus

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.