COVID-19 Information: Recent Communications

Recent Updates

August 16: New RMU Masking Policy - Effective Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Dear students, faculty, and staff:

We are writing today with an important update to our COVID-19 mitigation policies. In response to a dramatic increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in western Pennsylvania, Robert Morris University will require all members of the campus community and all visitors to wear masks while indoors, effective tomorrow -- Tuesday, August 17.

This policy applies to everyone regardless of vaccination status. We have made this decision in response to the latest guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which you can read here. Please note that we are not requiring masks to be worn outdoors. While we know this is a frustrating development, masking indoors will help to ensure a safe return to full in-person instruction and activities for the fall semester. This is a temporary measure, and we will lift this requirement as soon as we deem it safe to do so.

We also want to take this opportunity to again urge you to get fully vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus, if you have not already done so. Vaccination is required for all students enrolled for in-person classes, students who reside in on-campus housing, and students involved in club sports and intercollegiate athletics. Remember, today (August 16) is the deadline to submit proof of vaccination or apply for an exemption at rmu.edu/vaccineinfo. Students who are vaccinated will not be required to participate in re-entry testing or surveillance testing. 

The COVID-19 vaccine is currently available for free at the Rite-Aid at the Moon Plaza shopping center across from campus. RMU also plans to host an on-campus vaccine clinic in the coming weeks, and details will be forthcoming. 

As we move closer to the fall semester, we will continue to provide updated information regarding COVID-19, and we will reassess our policies when necessary based on the course of pandemic and in accordance with public health guidelines. Continue to check out rmu.edu/coronavirus for updates.

Sincerely,

Mary Ann Rafoth, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs

John Michalenko, Vice President of Student Life and Dean of Students

June 30: COVID-19 Vaccine Requirement

Dear RMU Student,

We hope you are having a good summer, and are looking forward to returning to full in-person classes and activities for the Fall 2021 semester. 

We are confident in our ability to return to normal thanks in part to the widespread availability of COVID-19 vaccines. Therefore, we are announcing today that beginning with the start of the Fall 2021 semester, the COVID-19 vaccine will be required for all RMU students who are enrolled for in-person classes, students who reside in on-campus housing, and students involved in club sports and intercollegiate athletics, subject to the limited exemptions discussed below.

In accordance with this policy, effective immediately, RMU will no longer require anyone to wear masks on campus, either indoors or outdoors. We strongly recommend, however, that anyone who has not been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 continue to wear a mask indoors, consistent with the guidance from the Pennsylvania Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). All students will still be required to wear masks on the shuttles going to and from Yorktown Hall and Wal-Mart, consistent with local, state, and federal guidelines regarding mass transit. 

Exemptions to the vaccine requirement may be granted for medical reasons or due to objections related to religious, moral, or ethical beliefs. Students with a valid exemption request, consistent with university policy, may contact the UPMC MyHealth@School Center at 412-397-6220 to be provided with an exemption form to complete and return. The university’s complete vaccination policy can be found here.

Students must provide evidence of their COVID-19 vaccination status to the UPMC MyHealth@School Center by Monday, August 16, 2021. We have received documentation from many of you already and we thank you for your cooperation. Please go to rmu.edu/vaccineinfo to complete and submit a form confirming your vaccination status. Please wait to submit your immunization information card until you have received your final dose -- the second if you receive the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna immunization or the single dose if you receive Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen immunization.

We would like for you to submit your documentation as soon as possible. Therefore, all students who provide documentation by Monday, August 2, 2021, will be entered into a drawing to win a number of prizes, which include free parking passes for 2021-22, $100 Barnes and Noble Bookstore Gift Cards, RMU merchandise, and other prizes. A second drawing will be held on August 16 for students who submit their documentation by this date.

Students who are not fully vaccinated will be subject to COVID-19 testing prior to the start of the fall and spring semesters, as well as surveillance testing during the academic year. 

For questions regarding the COVID-19 vaccination requirement, please contact the Dean of Students Office at studentlife@rmu.edu or by phone at 412-397-6483. International students should contact the Center for Global Engagement at 412-397-4243. We appreciate your prompt attention to this important health and safety matter, and we look forward to welcoming you back to campus in August. Check out rmu.edu/coronavirus for further updates as the summer moves along, and we also will be sending information about upcoming vaccination clinics on campus. 

Sincerely,

Mary Ann Rafoth, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs

John Michalenko, Vice President of Student Life and Dean of Students

May 20: Updated COVID-19 Policies

Dear students:

Welcome to summer!  Good news: Around the nation and close to home, COVID-19 cases are down, vaccinations are up, and local, state, and federal public health officials are relaxing pandemic-related restrictions.

Therefore, I am happy to announce that Robert Morris University will no longer require you to wear a mask while outdoors -- as long as you have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. This is in accordance with new guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Pennsylvania Department of Health (PA DOH).

After considering the latest CDC and PA DOH guidance, RMU is also relaxing its own indoor masking requirement: Those who are fully vaccinated do not need to wear a mask when they are in small groups (five or fewer) or by themselves. For now, we continue to require that you wear masks while in class, and additional restrictions may continue to apply for students who participate in NCAA Division I athletics or club sports.

If you are not fully vaccinated, the CDC recommends that you continue to wear a mask both indoors and outdoors to protect yourself and others. There are great benefits to getting vaccinated, first and foremost being that it is highly effective in preventing transmission of COVID-19. Other benefits you will enjoy on campus if you are fully vaccinated include:

  • You will not be required to undergo surveillance testing or re-entry testing.
  • No more Braddock Hall! As long as you do not have symptoms, you will not have to be quarantined if you come into contact with someone who is positive for COVID-19.
  • Free treats and other specials in RoMo’s Cafe. More details to come!

If you are already fully vaccinated or once you are fully vaccinated, please send your documentation of completed vaccination by email to studenthealthcenter@rmu.edu.

If you haven’t been vaccinated, you can do it on campus: RMU is hosting a clinic featuring the Pfizer vaccine in the UPMC Events Center in partnership with the Allegheny County Health Department. Go to rmu.edu/vaccine for dates and times, and walk-ins are welcome. Everyone gets a free T-shirt, a certificate for a free bucket of balls at the RMU Island Sports Golf Dome, and a chance to win season tickets in basketball and football!  For other opportunities to get vaccinated, go to https://vax4.alleghenycounty.us/patient/s/. We urge you to do so as soon as possible.

Remember to keep checking rmu.edu/coronavirus for more updates, and don’t forget there is still time to register for summer classes -- at a discount -- at rmu.edu/summer.

Have a great summer!

Dr. Christopher Howard, President

Fall 2021 Plans

Dear students:

The last few weeks have seen some very promising developments in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Cases continue to decline while vaccination rates climb, with President Biden predicting that the United States will have enough doses to vaccinate every adult by the end of May.

At Robert Morris University, we have continued to follow all public health guidelines, as well as the requirements of the RMU Ready Plan, which has allowed us to avoid widespread outbreaks on campus.

Therefore, we are pleased to announce that, assuming continued progress in controlling the virus, we plan on returning to normal in-person instruction and activities for Fall 2021, including athletics with fans in attendance and other major campus events. Naturally, we will continue to follow any and all public health guidelines, including any requirements imposed by local, state, and federal governments. We also recognize that the situation with the virus can change rapidly, and the past year has taught us that we must be prepared for any contingency. As we move closer to the fall semester, we will be able to fill in more details.

We also plan to be open for in-person instruction this summer, and we anticipate that every student who wishes to live on campus during the summer term will be able to do so. We will of course, continue to offer many online courses and fully online degree programs, during the summer and beyond. To learn more details about tuition discounts available during the summer term, go to www.rmu.edu/summer.

It is important to note that all current public health guidelines and restrictions on in-person activities remain in force on campus. As limitations on in-person activities are relaxed, we will adjust our policies accordingly, but we must remain vigilant in order to prevent the spread of the virus on campus. We will continue to post updates at www.rmu.edu/coronavirus.

Thank you for all your hard work and perseverance, which has allowed us to have a successful and vibrant academic year in spite of the pandemic. Congratulations, and good luck as we enter the final half of the spring semester!

Regards,

Christopher Howard, President