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August 18, 2020
Dear Students,
As the start of the fall 2020 semester draws near, we write to provide you with a detailed description regarding the process of your initial and subsequent COVID-19 tests.

As previously communicated, the Institute’s plan to return to campus-based operations is a comprehensive document that focuses on the health and safety of all members of the Rensselaer community with a commitment to provide an excellent in-person educational experience this fall, if it is safe to do so.
A central aspect of the plan is regular COVID-19 testing for all students who will have physical access to campus. We have two plans for testing students based on the types of tests available to us; both are conducted via a nasal swab. It is important that you familiarize yourself with each plan, which we have detailed below.
COVID-19 Testing Dates: August 25-27
Click to Schedule Your Test Online
Testing dates are available between August 25-27. Please schedule your test online by Friday, August 21. You will need to arrive at the Rensselaer Houston Field House at your selected testing date and time with your Rensselaer identification. Wearing a fabric or paper mask and observing social distancing protocols, you will be directed to the testing tent and will receive a COVID-19 test. No family members or guests may enter the testing tent or receive a COVID-19 test.
PCR Testing
A Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test detects the virus’s genetic material. This test typically provides results within 24 hours after the sample is provided.
Antigen Testing
An antigen test detects specific proteins on the surface of the virus. This test typically provides results within 15 to 30 minutes after the sample is provided.
Test Results
Your health and medical privacy are a priority to us. You will be notified of negative test results via the Health Center portal. You will be notified of positive results by Health Center personnel.
If you test negative, you will remain in quarantine in your local off-campus residence for 14 days, through the start of in-person classes on September 8. You may only leave your off-campus residence while in quarantine for your initial COVID-19 test and subsequent required tests.

If you test positive, a member of the Health Center staff will evaluate you to ensure you do not need immediate medical care. After you have been evaluated by a health care provider, you will be required to remain in your local off-campus residence for a minimum of 14 days to minimize the spread of infection. Health Center medical staff will check in with you twice a day. Additionally, Student Life staff, including your Class Dean, will be in touch daily. If you have questions or need further assistance, contact the Off-Campus Commons at (518) 276-6284 or email After you have been cleared by the Health Center staff, you will be allowed to leave isolation.
Lastly, in accordance with New York state guidelines, all students who test positive for COVID-19 will have their names and contact information reported to the Rensselaer County Department of Health.
Groceries, Medication, and Meals
During quarantine or isolation, we recommend that you participate in a local grocery delivery service and stock your food and medication supply with everything you will need. We also suggest that any meals you order are through contactless delivery services.
COVID-19 Health and Safety Protocol Reminder

In order to protect yourself and others within the Rensselaer family, it is crucial that you maintain at least a six-foot distance between you and others at all times both on and off campus, wash or sanitize your hands regularly, and wear a face covering at all times in public.

In an effort to answer anticipated questions regarding plans for returning to campus, we have created handouts with more information about quarantine and isolation. Another source of information is the Institute’s COVID-19 website, where you will find up-to-date information and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s).
We are excited to have you join us on campus and look forward to seeing you soon. Please stay safe and be well as you plan for your arrival.

Travis Apgar,
Assistant Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students
Leslie Lawrence, MD,
Executive Director for Health and Wellness
Student Life
Troy Building, 4th Floor
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
110 8th Street | Troy, NY | 12180-3590
(518) 276-6201

Hours of Operation: M-F: 8:30 a.m.–5 p.m.
In case of an emergency, contact Public Safety at (518) 276-6611
Copyright © 2020 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, All rights reserved.

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