COVID-19 Information: Recent Communications

Recent Updates

August 22: Important COVID-19 Vaccination and Re-Entry Testing Reminder for Fall 2022

Dear RMU Student,

As we get ready to start the Fall 2022 semester next week, I am writing to remind you of important information regarding COVID-19 vaccinations and RMU’s Re-Entry Testing Program requirements.  

VACCINATIONS: The primary series of the COVID-19 vaccine is 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. You are considered to have completed the primary series of the COVID-19 vaccine when you have received either one dose of the Johnson & Johnson Janssen immunization or two doses of Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech, or Novavax (this is considered “fully vaccinated”). Furthermore, the university strongly encourages students to receive the recommended booster dose(s) when eligible as outlined by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 

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 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. Approved exemption requests from the 2021 - 2022 academic year remain in effect for continuing students for the upcoming year unless vaccination information is provided to the university as outlined below. Please note that sites outside of RMU’s control (e.g., clinical placement sites) may have differing vaccination requirements, and students accessing those sites will be expected to comply with those requirements. 

Students are now asked to promptly provide evidence of their COVID-19 vaccination status to the MyHealth@School Center.  If you have not already done so, please go to rmu.edu/vaccineinfo to complete and submit a form confirming your vaccination status. Wait to submit your immunization information until you have received your final dose -- the second if you receive the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, or Novavax immunization or the single dose if you receive Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen immunization. You should also use this form to provide booster dose information that you may not yet have provided to the university.  

RE-ENTRY TESTING: To mitigate the spread of the virus, we are requiring ALL students, regardless of vaccination status, who are registered for in-person classes this semester, reside on campus, or are members of intercollegiate or club sport teams to participate in re-entry COVID-19 testing prior to returning to campus.

You are asked to take a PCR or antigen test no more than 48 hours prior to your arrival.  Home test kit results will be accepted. Should you use a home test kit, you must submit a photo of your test kit result along with a piece of paper that includes your full name, Banner ID number, and the date/time of the test. If you utilize a testing facility instead, documentation of your final test result should be submitted. Resident students are asked to provide their re-entry test result to the Office of Residence Life at the time of move-in. Commuter students should provide documentation via email to the MyHealth@School Clinic at studenthealthcenter@rmu.edu no more than 48 hours prior to the start of your classes.  

On-campus antigen testing will be available weekdays from 9 a.m. -  1 p.m. through Friday, September 2 at the MyHealth@School Center. Students can contact the office by phone at 412-397-6220 to schedule an appointment. Resident students who test positive for COVID-19 via re-entry testing will be advised to stay or return home as there will be limited on-campus isolation housing available.    

If you have tested positive for COVID-19 within 90 days of your return to campus, you may submit documentation of a dated positive test taken between May 31 - August 29, 2022 in lieu of completing a re-entry test. Submit documentation to the MyHealth@School Center at studenthealthcenter@rmu.edu

Re-Entry testing continues to be advised by our health partners at UPMC and has been proven to be helpful to minimizing the spread of COVID-19 on the campus.  Students who do not comply with re-entry testing will be subject to university discipline and sanctions that include being removed from housing and being barred from attending in-person classes. 

FACE COVERINGS & TESTING KITS: RMU will continue to monitor guidance related to masks/face coverings. At this time, masks are optional on the campus, but may be required at the discretion of faculty or staff members for particular classroom or office settings. Students are encouraged to return to campus with a supply of 3-ply disposable surgical face masks to have for use as needed. Additionally, students should consider returning to campus with a supply of at-home COVID-19 tests for their use if needed this semester.  

As has been the case during the pandemic, RMU’s protocols and requirements are subject to change based on conditions in our community and the guidance from the CDC, Pennsylvania Department of Health, Allegheny County Health Department, and our UPMC medical experts. As always, up-to-date information from RMU is available on our website, rmu.edu/coronavirus.

Please reach out to the Dean of Students Office via email at studentlife@rmu.edu if you have any questions or need assistance.  We look forward to a successful start to the new year later this month.  

Sincerely,

John Michalenko, 

Vice President of Student Life and Dean of Students

August 9: Covid-19 update to students

Dear RMU Student,

As we prepare for the start of the fall semester, RMU continues to work with the Allegheny County Health Department and UPMC medical experts to monitor the COVID-19 virus and how it could affect our community as we return to campus for the start of the new year. Please review this important information as you prepare for your return to campus. 

VACCINATIONS: The primary series of the COVID-19 vaccine is 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. You are considered to have completed the primary series of the COVID-19 vaccine when you have received either one dose of the Johnson & Johnson Janssen immunization or two doses of Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech, or Novavax (this is considered “fully vaccinated”). Furthermore, the university strongly encourages students to receive the recommended booster dose(s) when eligible as outlined by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (this is considered “up to date”). Being vaccinated and up-to-date on the booster is strongly advised as unvaccinated individuals and individuals not up to date are currently subject to more stringent quarantine protocols if determined to be a close contact of a positive case of COVID-19.

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 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. Approved exemption requests from the 2021 - 2022 academic year remain in effect for continuing students for the upcoming year unless vaccination information is provided to the university as outlined below. Please note that sites outside of RMU’s control (e.g., clinical placement sites) may have differing vaccination requirements, and students accessing those sites will be expected to comply with those requirements. Students must provide evidence of their COVID-19 vaccination status to the MyHealth@School Center by Friday, August 19, 2022.  If you have not already done so, please go to rmu.edu/vaccineinfo to complete and submit a form confirming your vaccination status. Wait to submit your immunization information until you have received your final dose -- the second if you receive the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, or Novavax immunization or the single dose if you receive Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen immunization. You should also use this form to provide booster dose information that you may not yet have provided to the university.  

Students who have not received the required primary vaccination dose(s) may be subject to COVID-19 surveillance testing during the upcoming academic year. Information regarding any testing protocols will be provided directly to these students in the coming weeks.

RE-ENTRY TESTING: To mitigate the spread of the virus, we are requiring ALL students, regardless of vaccination status, who are registered for in-person classes this semester, reside on campus, or are members of intercollegiate or club sport teams to participate in re-entry COVID-19 testing prior to arriving on campus.  

You are asked to take a PCR or antigen test no more than 48 hours prior to your arrival on campus. Home test kit results will be accepted. Should you use a home test kit, you must submit a photo of your test kit result along with a piece of paper that includes your full name, Banner ID number, and the date/time of the test. If you utilize a testing facility instead, documentation of your final test result should be submitted. Resident students are asked to provide their re-entry test result to the Office of Residence Life at the time of move-in. Commuter students should provide documentation via email to the MyHealth@School Clinic at studenthealthcenter@rmu.edu no more than 48 hours prior to the start of your classes.  

On-campus antigen testing will be available weekdays from 9 a.m. -  1 p.m. on Monday, August 15 - Friday, September 2, at the MyHealth@School Center. Students can contact the office by phone at 412-397-6220 to schedule an appointment. Resident students who test positive for COVID-19 via re-entry testing will be advised to stay or return home as there will be limited on-campus isolation housing available.    

If you have tested positive for COVID-19 within 90 days of your return to campus, you may submit documentation of a dated positive test taken between May 31 - August 29, 2022 in lieu of completing a re-entry test. Submit documentation to the MyHealth@School Center at studenthealthcenter@rmu.edu

Students who do not comply with re-entry testing will be subject to university discipline and sanctions that include being removed from housing and being barred from attending in-person classes. 

FACE COVERINGS & TESTING KITS: RMU will continue to monitor guidance related to masks/face coverings. At this time, masks are optional on the campus, but may be required at the discretion of faculty or staff members for particular classroom or office settings. Students are encouraged to return to campus with a supply of 3-ply disposable surgical face masks to have for use as needed. Additionally, students should consider returning to campus with a supply of at-home COVID-19 tests for their use if needed this semester.  

As has been the case during the pandemic, RMU’s protocols and requirements are subject to change based on conditions in our community and the guidance from the CDC, Pennsylvania Department of Health, Allegheny County Health Department, and our UPMC medical experts. As always, up-to-date information from RMU is available on our website, rmu.edu/coronavirus.

Please reach out to the Dean of Students Office via email at studentlife@rmu.edu if you have any questions or need assistance.  We look forward to a successful start to the new year later this month.  

Sincerely,

John Michalenko, 

Vice President of Student Life and Dean of Students

February 25: On-Campus COVID-19 Testing Services

Dear Students,

I am writing to share information about RMU’s enhanced availability for on-campus COVID-19 testing for the remainder of this semester. 

VOLUNTARY COVID-19 ANTIGEN TEST

Beginning Monday, February 28, the MyHealth@School Center will be offering COVID-19 testing to individuals who are asymptomatic and wish to be tested on a voluntary basis – for example, those returning back to campus after travel, or for students attending large events or family gatherings.  We do recommend that all students traveling during the upcoming Spring Break consider this opportunity to be tested before you depart and after your return to campus.  

Please contact the MyHealth@School Center by phone at 412-397-6220 to schedule an appointment.  Appointments will be available Mondays, Thursdays, and Fridays from 9 a.m. - Noon at our alternate testing location in the Franklin Center lobby.  Please be advised that masking will be required at the testing location.      

SYMPTOMATIC COVID-19 TESTING

Our clinical staff will continue to provide testing at Jefferson Center for community members with COVID-19 symptoms and those that have been identified as a close contact to a positive case.   If you experience symptoms, have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, are waiting for COVID-19 testing results, or have tested positive for the virus, you are reminded that you must contact the MyHealth@School Center at (412) 397-6220 during business hours to receive the appropriate medical guidance.

Again, we thank you for your continued efforts to keep yourself and the campus community healthy, and we are pleased to be able to now offer this voluntary testing schedule to you.

Sincerely,

John Michalenko

Vice President of Student Life & Dean of Students

February 23: Updated Masking Policy

Dear students,

Thanks to your diligence and hard work, we have a high COVID-19 vaccination rate and a low transmission rate on the Robert Morris University campus. We are also seeing a rapidly declining number of cases throughout our region and across the nation. In light of these positive trends, we are making some changes to our COVID-19 policies.

UPDATED MASKING POLICY

Subject to limited exceptions, RMU will no longer require masks to be worn indoors or outdoors effective March 2, 2022. We are asking that all members of the campus community continue to carry a mask at all times, because there will be situations, outlined below, in which you will be asked to wear one:

  • Any faculty member may require students to wear masks in their classrooms, laboratories, and/or offices, and students must comply with that request.
  • Masks must be worn at all times in the MyHealth@School Center and while completing any COVID-19 testing.
  • Masks must be worn in the Counseling Center, including when students meet with a counselor.  
  • Masks must be worn on the Yorktown Hall shuttle.  
  • All students, faculty, and staff may request that anyone who meets with them wear a mask, and in the spirit of community and cooperation, we expect everyone to comply with such a request. 
  • Anyone who prefers to continue to wear a mask should feel free and comfortable to do so. 
  • We strongly recommend that all visitors to campus continue to wear masks indoors. 

We have arrived at this decision after careful consideration and in consultation with UPMC, our campus health care provider. It takes into account the high vaccination rates among students, faculty, and staff; the low rate of transmission during the spring semester and our overall success in managing the virus to date; and current conditions nationwide. The university reserves the right to amend this new policy as conditions with the virus change. 

CONTINUED MITIGATION AND TESTING

We ask that you continue to take common sense precautions. First and foremost, we urge you to get vaccinated against Covid-19 if you have not already done so, and to get the booster if you are eligible. (Click here for booster guidelines.) You can schedule an appointment online through UPMC, Giant Eagle, Rite Aid, CVS, Costco, Wal-Mart, Sam’s Club, and many other independently owned pharmacies.

If you experience symptoms, have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, are waiting for COVID-19 testing results, or have tested positive for the virus you must contact the MyHealth@School Center at (412) 397-6220 during business hours to receive the appropriate medical guidance. At other times, students are advised to contact their own medical provider or the UPMC Anywhere Care App -- Virtual Urgent Care, then call the MyHealth@School Center on the next business day. Residential students should be in contact with the department’s on-call personnel during evenings or weekends via phone at 412-397-5242.

The MyHealth@School will continue to provide COVID-19 testing on the campus for community members with COVID-19 symptoms and those that have been identified as a close contact to a positive case.  Additionally, beginning Monday, February 28, testing will also be available for individuals who are asymptomatic and wish to be tested on a voluntary basis – for example, those preparing to return home from break or those returning from travel. Please contact the MyHealth@School Center for instructions and further details. As always, we will post updates to rmu.edu/coronavirus.

Thank you for your efforts, and stay healthy!

Sincerely,

Mary Ann Rafoth, Ph.D.
Interim President