School of Nursing COVID-19 Safety Guide


Welcome to the summer semester and the 2020-21 academic year at the University of Rochester School of Nursing!

For Fall 2021 updates see: UR School of Nursing Anticipates Return to Fully In-Person Learning in Fall.

Due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, the past year was unlike any that has come before it in the 95-year history of the school. Amid rapidly changing conditions, the UR School of Nursing has developed many protocols and implemented the best-known practices to ensure the safety of all members of its community. This website serves as a guide to help SON faculty, staff, and students navigate the school’s operating plan for the academic year ahead.

The content on this site has been compiled from the latest information provided by school and university leaders, is informed by local, state, national and international public health officials, and will be updated frequently as situations dictate. The School of Nursing is currently making plans for the 2021-22 academic year and will soon announce those plans on this site.

The site is intended to serve a comprehensive resource for all members of the SON community. For more information, you may visit the University of Rochester COVID-19 Resource Center or the online portal URMC Redesigned (University network access required).  

We have attempted to provide as much information related to SON protocols as possible. However, the facts surrounding the pandemic and how best to contain the virus remain fluid. Should widespread outbreaks of the virus disrupt our stated plans, the school reserves the right to amend protocols and institute additional guidelines or requirements if necessary to ensure the health and safety of its community. If you have questions about the contents of this site or other feedback about items to be included on these pages, please email us at:

SON’s COVID Recovery and Response

While there have been a number of changes to campus life at the school, two critical aspects of UR Nursing remain unchanged:

  • The UR School of Nursing is committed to the health and safety of its faculty, staff, students, prospective students, alumni, and others.
  • The rigorous academic experience that has long been associated with the UR School of Nursing will continue to be of the highest quality.

The school has been actively addressing the COVID-19 crisis since early March, 2020. The SON’s Dean’s Leadership Council, comprising faculty and staff from Admissions, Clinical Operations, Communications, Diversity and Inclusion, Education, Finance, Information Technology, Research, and Student Affairs, has been meeting regularly since the crisis hit New York State to shape the school’s response. In addition, the School of Nursing has been represented on working groups and advisory teams across the UR Medical Center and the University tasked with creating a safety plan.

The resulting School of Nursing Return to Campus plan has been created in accordance with the University’s Recovery Principles.

We will base our decisions and plans on the following principles:

  1. The health and safety of our students, faculty, staff, patients, and guests are our highest priority.
  2. We will comply with federal, state, and local authority operational and health mandates.
  3. We will sustain the teaching, learning, research, healthcare, and cultural missions of the University through both traditional methods and new avenues of endeavor.
  4. We will act responsibly as stewards of the University’s property, assets, and resources.
  5. We will continue to partner purposefully with the Rochester community, and to support our neighbors in the city and the region.
  6. We will base our decisions on scientific evidence and facts.
  7. In all of our decision-making, we will abide by our Meliora Values: Equity, Leadership, Integrity, Openness, Respect, and Accountability.

The school’s plan is also aligned with the guiding principles on the reopening of U.S. schools of nursing promulgated by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing:

  • Until we have an effective treatment, vaccine, or achieve herd immunity (70-90% of the entire population having been infected) in the U.S., schools should maintain non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) for the protection of faculty, staff, and students.
  • Key NPI considerations for schools include: masking, low-density and social distancing, continuous hand hygiene, staying home when sick, cleaning and disinfecting, and heightened situational awareness. Consistent implementation of the entire suite of NPIs will reduce transmission of the virus.

Show Your Commitment: #URCommitment

Make the #URCommitment to act in the best interests of our collective health and safety, in accordance with public health guidelines and directives from our state and local officials, here.

If you have questions or concerns about something you have observed or are experiencing related to COVID-19, including gatherings, mask-wearing, social distancing, or any other issue that presents a risk to individual or communal health, please visit the University’s Community Concern page.

SON COVID-related violations will result in administrative review in line with the SON’s Policy on Academic and Professional Integrity.  Accordingly, allegations of misconduct will be referred to the Committee on Academic and Professional Integrity.

Return to Campus Plan for Summer 2021


The Summer 2021 semester will begin on schedule on May 10 for September and January APNN cohorts and RN to BS students. All other students will start on May 17. The School of Nursing will continue to deliver instruction remotely for classroom courses while offering most labs and clinical training in person, subject to physical distancing and personal protection protocols. Students should confirm the details of their individual schedule and contact their instructors to clarify their on-campus requirements. 


Travel remains complex due to various federal and New York State travel restrictions and guidelines. All members of the UR Nursing community should adhere to standards and travel advisories set by New York State and the Centers for Disease Control. Those individuals who travel to areas under New York State travel advisories should complete the New York State Traveler Health form to determine whether precautionary quarantine or isolation is required, and continue to monitor their health per CDC guidelines.

  • Please note: Nursing students are considered essential workers and therefore should follow New York’s guidelines for essential workers.
  • Students reporting to campus from areas outside of New York State should plan their travel in advance, allowing adequate time to quarantine, if necessary, before the start of classes. See the Current Students section of this site for more details.
  • Faculty and staff should refer to the COVID-19 Resource Center for guidance on personal and University-related travel.

Emotional/Mental Health Support

Everyone has been affected by this global pandemic. It is common for individuals to feel a wide range of emotions, including fear, anxiety, sadness, or an overabundance of stress. The University has many resources available to assist. You can also call the New York State COVID-19 Emotional Support Line at 1-844-863-9314.

COVID-19 Safety Protocols

The School of Nursing advises all faculty, staff, and students that any and all activities that can be accomplished remotely should continue to be done from a distance until local public health officials deem it safe to return to campus. Individuals who do return to campus should remain on campus only for the time necessary to accomplish their required on-campus activities.

The following are general protocols required of all members of the SON community:

Before entering Helen Wood Hall or any UR/URMC facility, you must complete the Dr. Chat Bot survey and receive a notification that you are clear to go into work or class that day. Dr. Chat Bot is a brief, online health screening tool that tracks symptoms and provides guidance based on a few short questions. The screening can be completed from any smartphone, tablet, or computer with an internet connection. It is also available through the UR Mobile app, which can be downloaded on any Android or iOS device. The UR Mobile app can be found in the App Store or Google Play Store.

Please see the COVID-19 Resource Center or the appropriate audience section (faculty/staff, current students, prospective students) for additional information about symptom surveillance, testing, and tracking.

All individuals on campus (students, faculty, staff, visitors, and guests) should always endeavor to remain physically separated from others by at least 6 feet, acknowledging that hallways as well as exits to rooms and buildings will not accommodate a 6-foot separation. When in the presence of others, masks should be worn in addition to practicing physical distancing measures.

Observe and follow newly established occupancy requirements to reduce risk of infection. Signage is posted to help guide you.

Cloth or surgical masks are required when in public areas of UR facilities, including classrooms, hallways, restrooms, stairwells, etc. Masks must also be worn outdoors when 6 feet of separation between individuals is not feasible. Masking exceptions include being outside with greater than 6 feet of separation from others.

This section refers to campus settings and does not apply to clinical settings where higher level PPE will be required. Please review URMC's Universal Masking policy and guidelines for information on PPE in the Medical Center campus and in patient care settings. 

PPE equipment, when required for School of Nursing faculty, staff, and students, is available centrally through the SON Facilities email address:

Students who have specific accessibility needs for PPE, should contact the School of Nursing ADA Access Coordinator, Joseph Gomulak-Cavicchio at

Use hand sanitizer or wash your hands frequently and avoid touching your face, particularly your eyes and nose.

The University has enhanced cleaning and disinfecting efforts across campus. To learn more about the University’s plans to keep its facilities – including shuttle buses – clean, visit the COVID-19 Resource Center.

Clean any surfaces you need to interact with before and after using them.

Building Access and Guidelines

Access to Helen Wood Hall is currently limited to a reduced number of faculty and staff, and students who are attending labs or clinical assignments. The building is secured, and entry is permitted for School of Nursing students and employees through any of the building’s swipe-enabled entrances with a School of Nursing ID badge. Entry through the front door facing Crittenden Blvd. is permitted by swipe access for anyone with a URMC ID badge Monday – Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Overall building capacity has been reduced to 50 percent in order to provide for appropriate physical distancing. Public gathering locations, such as Evarts Lounge, the atrium, and the student lounge, are currently closed.

Elevators and restroom capacity is also limited to ensure distancing. Please follow signage indicating new maximum capacities and protocols related to common spaces, such as meeting rooms, copy rooms, break rooms, and restrooms. (See first floor map of Helen Wood Hall)

For more detailed information about expectations and protocols for the spring semester, please see the COVID-19 Resource Center or select your affiliation from the buttons below.

faculty/staff    current students        prospective student  

Frequently Asked Questions

All individuals who are symptomatic will be tested and isolated until their test result is returned. Isolation will continue for individuals with positive test results in accordance with CDC guidelines. Contact University Health Service at (585) 275-2662 or to schedule an appointment.

The Coronavirus University Restart Team (CURT) has reviewed New York State's travel and quarantine guidance and evaluated what this new information means for University faculty, staff, students and parents.

See updated University travel guidance on the COVID-19 Resource Center.

SON Director of Student Affairs Colleen Johnson,, is the school’s designated quarantine and isolation care and support coordinator.

Ancillary rooms, such as break rooms, kitchens, and copy rooms will have maximum capacity of 1 to 2 people. Signage will be posted. Please refrain from eating in public common areas of the building. Sharing of food and beverages, including coffee, in HWH is not permitted.

Coffee and other dining options will be available from 7 a.m. to noon Monday to Friday at West Winds Cafe, located in the Saunders Research Building. Coffee will also be available at Finger Lakes Coffee Roasters in Strong Memorial Hospital.

Check the URMC Intranet for updates on designated eating areas throughout the Medical Center.