The federal government has declared an end to the Public Health Emergency related to COVID-19 as of May 11, 2023. The end of the state of emergency signals a new phase in how we live with and manage COVID-19.
RPI, along with many other universities, has taken this opportunity to re-evaluate its COVID-19 protocols. We realize the past few years have been trying and recognize the many views held on campus regarding vaccines, mask mandates, and how best to manage the uncertainty inherent in pandemics. In keeping with the spirit and culture of RPI, we have, therefore, undertaken this task with a high degree of consideration for the well-being of all our community members based on the best available evidence-based science.
By way of background, over the last three years, RPI has administered over 500,000 COVID-19 tests (both PCR and antigen), instituted mandatory mask wearing until fall of 2022, and required proof of vaccination from members of our community. This herculean effort on the part of our faculty, staff, and students helped to reduce the severity of infection within our community, protecting the most vulnerable among us. Consequently, our community achieved a high degree of immunity while experiencing few cases of severe illness and no student, faculty, or staff deaths.
Based on this consideration, the following changes will go into effect as of May 11:
- RPI will no longer have a mandatory requirement of COVID-19 vaccinations for students, faculty, and staff. We will strongly recommend and encourage everyone to remain up to date with their COVID-19 vaccinations in keeping with CDC guidelines.
- To maintain our culture of safety, we will continue to offer free flu and COVID vaccines and will notify you of their availability through Morning Mail, and the Student Health Center and Human Resources websites.
The well-being of our community members is our top priority. Going forward, Student Health Services, Student Life, and Human Resources will continue to monitor data on COVID-19 and other public health matters and will advise me and the leadership if any subsequent changes to protocols need to occur.
For those with questions or concerns, faculty are encouraged to speak with their respective deans. Staff members are encouraged to contact Human Resources and students are encouraged to contact the Student Health Center.
I want to thank you all for your hard work and cooperation. We have learned an incredible amount about resilience. In true RPI fashion, we relied on science and data, and each other, to see us through a very difficult time and move Rensselaer forward.