Info for New Students

Students new to the University of Rochester School of Nursing may reference this page for updated information related to COVID-19 safety procedures, requirements, and resources specific to the School of Nursing.


Building Access and Guidelines

Access to Helen Wood Hall is currently limited to staff, faculty, 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.

We ask that students restrict their presence in the building to the minimum necessary for required lab coursework and clinical rotations. Meetings with instructors, advisors, program directors, and other classmates or colleagues should be conducted virtually rather than in-person.

The atrium, student lounge and kitchens, and Evarts Lounge will be closed. All classrooms, meeting rooms, and public spaces have new maximum capacities to ensure appropriate physical distancing.

Elevators and restroom capacity is limited to ensure appropriate physical distancing. We discourage use of student lockers, though the locker room may be accessed with a maximum capacity of two students at a time. Signage is posted within the building to help you with wayfinding, as well as to outline building accessibility and occupancy information.

Every time you will be in Helen Wood Hall, you must:

  1. Complete the Dr. Chat Bot symptom survey before entering the building (or any University of Rochester facility), and receive a notification that you are clear to go into class that day. You will receive a daily reminder by email to complete this survey.
  2. Maintain safe physical distance of at least 6 feet wherever possible, observing occupancy guidelines for all public spaces within the building.
  3. Wear a cloth or surgical mask at all times and in all settings within the building, including classrooms, hallways, bathrooms, stairwells, etc. Mask exemptions are limited to being outdoors with greater than 6 feet of separation from others. 
  4. Practice good hand hygiene by using hand sanitizer or washing hands frequently, and avoiding accidental contamination by not touching your face.
  5. Disinfect surfaces you need to interact with before and after using them.


COVID-19 Compliance and Protocols

Current NYS COVID 19 Travel Advisory Guidelines Apply.

Effective April 1, domestic travelers will no longer be required to quarantine after entering New York from another U.S. State or U.S. Territory. While no longer required, the NYS Department of Health still recommends quarantine after domestic travel as an added precaution. Mandatory quarantine remains in effect for international travelers. All travelers must continue to fill out the Traveler Health Form.

Please note: Nursing students are considered essential workers and therefore should follow New York’s guidelines for essential workers.

Nursing students who are not yet vaccinated may fill out the COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic Waiting List form to become vaccinated. (Nursing students are considered essential workers.)

If you have symptoms or suspect you may have been exposed to COVID-19, contact University Health Service at (585) 275-2662 or

When UHS offices are closed, you may still reach an on-call UHS physician for urgent concerns. Check here for help deciding if your condition is urgent.

  • If your concern is urgent: call UHS at (585) 275-2662.
  • In an emergency, call Public Safety at (585) 275-3333 if on campus (911 if off campus).

Refer to the University’s policy on reporting symptoms or exposure.

There are varying degrees of distancing and social separation, depending on a student’s exposure, health status, testing status, and living arrangements.

Social distancing is the practice of staying home and away from others as much as possible. This practice encourages such strategies as grocery delivery instead of in-person shopping, and video or phone communication instead of in-person meetings.

Physical distancing is the practice of staying at least 6 feet from others when in public settings. The University endorses both social distancing and physical distancing as methods to reduce exposure and spread of COVID-19.

Quarantine separates and restricts the movement of asymptomatic people who were or may have been exposed to a contagious disease, for the purpose of monitoring symptoms and preventing potential spread. COVID-19 has a 14-day incubation period; during this time, students must remain in their housing without visitors and without leaving.

Social quarantine permits essential workers, such as nursing or medical students, to attend lab or clinical in-person, while eliminating all other social contact. This practice functions similarly to quarantine where students remain in their residence, except during social quarantine, they may attend lab or clinical.

Isolation separates symptomatic people who are infected with a contagious disease from people who are not infected or immune.

  • If a student becomes infected or is experiencing symptoms consistent with COVID-19, they should contact University Health Service at (585) 275-2662 or visit the UHS site. UHS will provide support and guidance for students who are required to isolate, including routine follow-up by phone and telehealth. Students who require higher level health care will be referred to Strong Memorial Hospital.
  • Students in isolation may utilize the following resources for:

Nursing students are considered essential workers and therefore should follow New York's guidelines for essential workers. All students coming from areas under New York State travel advisories should contact University Health Service at 585-275-2662 as soon as possible (within 24 hours) after arriving in Rochester to schedule testing and avoid a mandatory 14-day quarantine.

Students may also be tested, free of charge, at a New York State-administered testing site. See Monroe County COVID-19 Testing for testing site locations and more information. 

If you choose to be tested at a site operated by a private company, such as a pharmacy, medical practice, or not-for-profit organization, you are advised to check with the testing site and your insurer to confirm you will not be responsible for any fees associated with your test.

See the University’s plan for prevention, testing and monitoring, and reporting symptoms or exposure.

If you have specific questions about your testing requirements or eligibility, please contact

Waiting for Results    

Depending on the testing site you use and the test used, your results may take several days.

While you wait for your results, if you do not have symptoms:

  • You may socially quarantine, avoiding social contact except for work or school
  • You should continue to monitor your health and follow protocols to reduce infection, including social and physical distancing, wearing a mask in public, and practicing good hand hygiene.

While you wait for your results, if you have symptoms:

  • You and any household contacts should stay home
  • You should separate yourself from household members to the extent it is possible


If you are tested at University Health Service, your results will be provided to you and the School of Nursing.

If you are tested at a state-administered or private site, your results are provided to you and reported to the Monroe County Department of Health, but are not automatically reported to University Health Service or the School of Nursing. You will need to provide your results by calling UHS at (585) 275-2662, or sending them to SON at or by fax to (585) 756-8299.


Review the CDC’s guidance on understanding and interpreting your COVID-19 test results here.

If you test negative:

And you do not have symptoms

  • You may return to class or work with approval from UHS and SON.
  • Continue to monitor your health and follow protocols to reduce infection, including social and physical distancing, wearing a mask in public, and practicing good hand hygiene.

And you have symptoms

If you test positive:

And you have symptoms

And you do not have symptoms

  • Stay home and isolate, except to receive medical care. Do not report to class or work.
  • Notify UHS at (585) 275-2662.
  • Notify SON Care Coordinator and Director of Student Affairs, Colleen Johnson, at (585) 576-9117 or
  • Continue to monitor your health and follow protocols to reduce infection.
  • You may return to class or work after 10 symptom-free days have passed since your positive test.
  • Consult the CDC’s guide on ending isolation, and follow instructions from UHS and SON.


Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) will be required at various levels of protection, and will be provided for your use in research, lab, and clinical settings. If you have questions about PPE, please contact Students who have specific accessibility needs for PPE should contact the School of Nursing ADA Access Coordinator, Joseph Gomulak-Cavicchio at 

Masks and Face Shields

  • In campus settings: Cloth or surgical masks are required when in public areas of all UR facilities, including lab rooms, classrooms, hallways, restrooms, stairwells, etc. Masks must remain on at all times, including outdoors when 6 feet of separation is not feasible.
  • In inpatient and outpatient care settings: Students in precepted or immersive clinical placements must wear a surgical mask while in patient rooms, care areas, and all other common or shared areas within the hospital or facility. One mask will be provided each day, though if it’s not soiled or damaged, students may use their mask for up to a week. Masks worn into an isolation room that is not protected by a face shield must be discarded when exiting the room. Please review URMC’s Universal Masking policy and guidelines for information on PPE in patient care settings. Review these guidelines on how to wear and care for your mask.


Hand sanitizer is available for use in common areas within Helen Wood Hall and on campus. Disinfectant and cleaning supplies will be available for use within Helen Wood Hall. The University has enhanced cleaning and disinfecting efforts across campus. To learn more about the University’s ongoing health and safety planning visit the COVID-19 Resource Center

All students are expected to demonstrate compliance with the following:

  • Complete the Blackboard COVID-19 training module
  • Submit the Chat Bot symptom tracking tool every time you will be on campus, including for orientation or lab
  • Complete the required UR BADASS Title IX training.
  • Make the #URCommitment to act in the best interests of our community’s collective health and safety, in accordance with public health guidelines and directives from our state and local officials.
  • Demonstrate understanding of the conduct outlined in our Student Handbook.

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 in the Student Handbook.  Accordingly, allegations of misconduct will be referred to the Committee on Academic and Professional Integrity.


Attending Class

The School of Nursing is poised to continue providing the adaptive, innovative education we always have. In recent years, we have intentionally and thoughtfully expanded our use of technology and experiential learning to shift the classroom experience toward more enriching and more active learning for our students; to enhance faculty-student and student-student interaction, support, and collaboration; to revitalize and redefine course development, delivery, assessment, and feedback; and to improve access for a more diverse student population.

Overall, our course designs and modalities have been adapted to meet the unique characteristics of our undergraduate, master’s, and doctoral programs, and to provide the value and quality that we and our students expect and deserve. The same collaborative tools and educational resources we utilize in the physical classroom translate easily to virtual applications, and promote immersive, active learning experiences that make our students better nurses.


Labs and Clinical Placements

At this time, we are not anticipating interruptions to clinical site access, so clinical immersion and precepted clinical experiences are expected to take place as usual. Additionally, we expect most labs to be conducted in a face-to-face format.

We are taking all necessary precautions to ensure that our skills, simulation, and health assessment labs can continue safely and effectively in-person. This means converting classroom space, reducing lab capacity, and increasing screening and sanitation in compliance with infection control and physical distancing guidelines.

To confirm the details of your individual schedule and on-campus requirements, we recommend that students reach out to their course instructor following course registration.



We are continuing to plan student activities and events that can be accomplished virtually as well as in-person, safely and with appropriate physical distancing. View our Events Calendar to stay up to date. 

For questions about hosting SON-related student events, please email 


Resources and Support


Academic Support


Our Incoming Students site provides centralized access to SON resources, including our academic calendar, course schedules, and information about financial aid, scholarships, parking, and other essential support services.

Information Technology Services provides hardware and software support, email, account, access, and backup assistance, and project support for SON students, faculty, and staff. To contact the Helpdesk, call (585) 275-7500.

Each school has a designated access coordinator who requests and maintains disability-related documents, certifies eligibility for services, and determines and develops plans for reasonable academic accommodations. Contact the School of Nursing Access Coordinator, Joseph Gomulak-Cavicchio at

CERC facilitates educational media, equipment, and technology resources for students. Students may contact (585) 275-5913 or with requests.

CAPS serves as a free academic resource for students looking to improve their learning strategies, critical thinking skills, study habits, or receive academic assistance in a particular content area. Services include instruction, group and individual tutoring, mentorship, career planning, and resume writing. Students may submit a self-referral form to request assistance.

Edward G. Miner Library provides access to materials, technology, and other essential library services. Remote services are available, and main library spaces and printers are available by swipe access 24/7.

LIFT is a student-led initiative within SON designed to provide opportunities for students to engage in learning and discussions related to leadership, advocacy, and diversity.

Our Council for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (CoDEI) serves as a resource and support for students, faculty, and staff within the SON community regarding issues of diversity, equity and inclusiveness within the School of Nursing community.


Personal Support


UHS provides primary care, counseling, and health promotion services to students and employees in the University community. For questions related to COVID-19 protocols and testing, contact UHS at (585) 275-2662 or

CARE Network provides connection to resources for all students. You may initiate a self-referral or express concern about a person, incident, or issue by submitting a CARE referral form.

UCC offers help for managing anxiety, stress, and depression. Any student experiencing a mental health concern can call the (585) 275-3113 to be connected to mental health support. 

Interfaith Chapel is a multi-faith community that provides spiritual and emotional support through dialogue, worship, and interfaith education. Leaders from Jewish, Muslim, Catholic, Protestant, Hindu, and Buddhist traditions are ready to help. Contact The Rev. Dr. C. Denise Yarbrough at for more information or to schedule a time to speak with a chaplain. 

The Basic Needs Hub provides urgent, essential student necessities, such as food, clothing, housing, and access to academic tools for students who need financial assistance.

The Food Pantry is open to all Rochester graduate students.


Frequently Asked Questions


The School of Nursing has taken several initiatives especially over the past few years to integrate and optimize technology at every educational level. These initiatives predate the current pandemic, physical distancing guidelines, and resulting distance learning models adopted by most institutions. Our faculty and current students are prepared for this continued delivery format, and we are confident that our incoming students will be successful, especially with the support of our distinguished faculty, instructors, and resources.

  • For students in our APNN and PhD programs: your acclimation from an in-person classroom setting to our active digital learning environment will be enriched by our thoughtful instructional designers, collaborative tools, and educational resources. For APNN students, labs and clinical experiences will continue in-person. For PhD students, face-to-face contact with your advisor/doctoral committees, study teams, labs, and study participants, as well as dissertation defenses, will comply with university and public health guidelines.
  • For students in other programs, including those delivered in completely-online and hybrid formats: there will be minimal transition to an online didactic setting. Labs, clinical coursework, and practicum courses will continue in-person.
  • Students across programs may be expected to attend synchronous virtual class sessions at scheduled times associated with their course. You may contact your course instructor for specific class details and requirements.

The same collaborative tools and educational resources we utilize in the physical classroom translate easily to virtual applications, and promote immersive, active learning to ensure our graduates are prepared with the digital skills and confidence in technology they will need to perform their best as clinical providers, researchers, educators, and leaders.


Active learning refers to direct student participation or interaction with the learning process, and engagement or collaboration with the instructor and other learners, as opposed to passively receiving information such as in lecture. Active learning methodology is separate from the mode of course delivery, such as traditional or online, and impacts how you as the student experience your education. Our faculty and instructional designers integrate more hands-on, active techniques and strategies that result in better understanding and analysis, greater retention and synthesis of information, and increased familiarity with technology, all of which we know will promote critical thinking, improve clinical reasoning and problem solving skills, and ultimately make our students better practitioners, researchers, educators, and leaders.


Since our founding, the School of Nursing has been a pioneering force in the science and practice of nursing. Today, we remain committed to leveraging technology to redefine and transform nursing education. While other institutions struggle to reimagine their classrooms and transition their instruction methods in response to this public health crisis, the School of Nursing is poised to continue providing the adaptive, innovative education we always have.

In recent years, we have intentionally and thoughtfully expanded our use of technology and experiential learning to shift the classroom experience toward more enriching and more active learning for our students; to enhance faculty-student and student-student interaction, support, and collaboration; to revitalize and redefine course development, delivery, assessment, and feedback; and to improve access for a more diverse student population.

While this academic year may look different than you expected, we want to again assure you that for us, little has changed. As other institutions are struggling to reimagine their instruction methods in response to COVID-19, we are poised to continue providing the innovative education we always have.

Over the last decade, we have taken important steps to optimize our experiential learning opportunities, integrating tools and technologies that have kept us at the forefront of innovating nursing education. These steps have predated campus closures, physical distancing guidelines, and the "online” learning models adopted by most institutions—and our readiness has allowed us to continue to deliver the highest quality active learning experience without interruption.

Today, we remain committed to you, your education, and your well-being. The experience you will receive has been carefully and thoughtfully designed over years to ensure that you gain not only the clinical knowledge and skills, but also the confidence you will need throughout your career in nursing.

Our faculty and current students are practiced and prepared for this academic year, and we are confident that you, too, will be successful. We will continue to keep you informed, and provide additional resources to ensure you feel as prepared as we do for the semesters ahead.


The community of peers is such an integral element of our educational experience, so even amidst a global pandemic, our goal remains to provide alternative experiences that promote active and experiential learning, mark important milestones and celebrations, and encourage engagement with your classmates and instructors. Although you will participate in online instruction this semester, you will still complete regular lab coursework and clinical placements in-person, which will require parking access. We are also continuing to plan student activities that can be accomplished safely and with appropriate physical distancing, and will share more information about these activities as details are confirmed.


Currently, this format applies to the 20-21 academic year. However, should widespread outbreaks of the virus disrupt our stated plans, we reserve the right to amend protocols and institute additional guidelines or requirements if necessary to ensure the health and safety of our community. We have been continuously monitoring data and guidelines surrounding community health throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and will continue to inform our educational planning for future semesters according to national, state, and local recommendations.