Return to the Rock - Spring 2021

Students wearing masks as a check in table

Rockhurst University plans to hold spring 2021 semester classes in a format similar to the fall 2020 semester. Students will be able to select from a number of course modalities, including in-person, hybrid and online only. We will continue to observe all COVID-19 protocols developed by the Rockhurst University Pathways Planning Task Force in coordination with local and national health authorities.

Important Reminders

  • If you experience new or unexplained symptoms or have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, complete the health screening on the Campus Clear app to help you determine your next steps. You may need to complete the Illness and Exposure Reporting Form. See the FAQ for more information.

  • Everyone is required to wear a mask on campus when indoors and when outdoors but unable to observe a physical distance of six feet. Masks are not required when eating or when exercising outdoors (given adequate social distancing), when alone in one’s residential room or office, or with an approved exemption from the Office of Human Resources (employees) or Disability Resource Center (students).

  • If you see someone not following mask wearing or social distancing guidelines, remind them of the requirements on campus. Incidents of repeated, blatant disregard for mask wearing or social distancing guidelines by members of the University community can be brought to the attention of the appropriate staff through the policy violation form or, if names of those in violation are unknown, by contacting campus security.

Spring Semester 2021 Schedule

  • Jan. 26, 2021 — spring semester courses begin.

  • April 2-5, 2021 — Easter Break (No class — sessions will resume after 4:30 p.m. on Monday, April 5)

  • May 4 — Spring semester courses conclude

  • May 6-12 — Finals week

  • Spring break, originally scheduled for March 15-19, will not be held (similar to the policy at many other institutions) in an effort to reduce spread of the virus resulting from travel. The University will, however, provide other opportunities for our students to rest during the semester.

COVID Vaccinations

  • COVID vaccines are being rolled out by states on a prioritized basis. Rockhurst does not have plans to require vaccination at this time but does recommend that you get vaccinated when it is available to you if your health care provider advises you to do so.
  • Be sure to check the health departments located in your city and county of residence to learn more about when you may be eligible to receive a vaccination. You may be able to complete a form indicating your interest and requesting notifications when updates or registration opportunities are available. A list of Kansas City-area health department links is available through Saint Luke’s health system.
  • If you receive a vaccination, please notify the University by completing this COVID-19 vaccine form.
  • The CDC recommends that those who have been vaccinated still wear a mask and practice social distancing.

Positive and Quarantined Cases

During the spring 2021 semester, the number of COVID-19 positive and quarantined cases will be reported weekly in an email to faculty, staff and students and will be posted here. Archived messages with case numbers from fall 2020 are available here.

We are currently Level 3 (Orange) out of four levels, which simply means there is one or more active cases on campus. 

With the return of students to campus, the number of reported active and quarantined cases have increased. For undergraduate students on the Troost campus, there were eight active COVID cases, up from two last week, and 34 quarantined cases, up from two last week. The Westport campus reports no cases for either their undergraduate or graduate student population. For graduate students on the Troost campus, there are only two reported quarantined cases. Faculty and staff cases are low on both the Troost and Westport campuses. 

As of Feb. 23  


Troost Campus 

Undergraduate Students 

Graduate Students 


Total Population 




Active Positive Cases/percentage 









Westport Campus 

Undergraduate Students 

Graduate Students 


Total Population 




Active Positive Cases/percentage 









*There are no undergraduate positive cases in University residential facilities. The number of beds available on campus for isolation is 45 and the number of occupied beds is zero. 


  • COVID Active: tested positive for COVID; isolated 
  • Quarantined: had close contact with a COVID-positive person; possibly being tested 
  • Close Contact: You were within 6 feet of someone who has COVID-19 for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period; You provided care at home to someone who is sick with COVID-19; You had direct physical contact with the person (hugged or kissed them); You shared eating or drinking utensils; They sneezed, coughed, or somehow got respiratory droplets on you 



Campus Operations and Facilities

What steps are being taken to ensure campus health?

Changes have been made to campus facilities to accommodate social distancing requirements. Plastic shields have been installed in work areas where frequent in-person interactions take place. Students, faculty and staff are asked to actively monitor their own health each day through the use of the Campus Clear app and talk to their supervisors, self-quarantine and seek medical evaluation and treatment if they experience any of any of the following new or unexplained instances of the most common COVID-19 symptoms. Non-contact, wall-mounted thermometers are installed in various locations across campus for self-evaluation, though it is recommended that each student possess and use their own thermometer. A kit, containing two cloth masks and hand sanitizer, has been issued to all students.

University facilities personnel will continue enhanced cleaning protocols. Common areas and high-touch areas will be cleaned twice daily by facilities. Employee offices and cubicle areas will be cleaned nightly by facilities staff.

Critically, students, faculty and staff will continue to be required to take steps to mitigate the spread of the virus on campus, including maintaining social distancing at all times and following proper handwashing and sanitizing protocols. Mask wearing will be required within University buildings and recommended outside where possible (see question below for more guidance). Meetings should be conducted virtually unless considered critical.

Will there be requirements for social distancing or mask wearing on campus?

Yes. Masks or facial coverings are required when in indoor spaces on campus and when outdoors but unable to observe social distancing. Masks or facial coverings are not required when eating or when exercising outdoors (given adequate social distancing), when alone in one’s residential room or office, or with an approved exemption from the Office of Human Resources (employees) or Disability Resource Center (students). Students, faculty and staff will also be expected to observe 6 feet of social distance in shared areas, and adjustments will be made to campus furniture to promote observation of these guidelines. Social student gatherings are limited to 10 people or fewer.

Is the University requiring students, faculty and staff to monitor their own health? How and how often?

Yes. The University is implementing an application called Campus Clear, available for free on both Android and iPhone phones and as a desktop application, as a way for the campus community to check their health daily. Students, faculty and staff will be required to complete a daily self-screening for symptoms and exposure before coming to campus and are required to report being in close contact with a COVID positive person, being symptomatic (resulting in a red screen on Campus Clear), or receiving a positive test result on a COVID test. Those who are considered cleared will receive a green “fast pass” through the app, allowing them access to campus buildings. Those who receive a "red" screen should report their symptoms through the illness and exposure reporting form — failure to do so will lead to disciplinary action, as will any false reports of illness by students or employees will also lead to disciplinary consequences.

How has Campus Dining Services adjusted operations to accommodate social distancing requirements?

Seating in dining areas is reserved in an effort to accommodate primarily commuter students (i.e. those who must eat in the Thomas More Dining Room). The University has also adding additional seating for eating and other purposes via three tents – located by the Perch, the Einstein’s deck and the pergola near the Kinerk Commons. These tents are equipped with heaters for the colder months.

Food is served by Rockhurst Dining Services employees in “to-go” containers and University employees will be encouraged to eat in their offices. Seating in dining areas will be primarily reserved for commuter students and only two guests will be allowed per table in dining areas. Meal plans will be adjusted to reflect this new method of delivery. Hawk dollars will be added to most plans to enhance the dining experience and options.

How will residence halls accommodate new requirements?

Residence[L1]  halls are open at normal capacity but adjustments have been made to promote social distancing requirements in shared areas.

Furniture has been moved out of common spaces in residence halls to promote social distancing. 

Residence life and facilities staff have also taken the following extra efforts to mitigate opportunities for spread:

·       Installed signage in bathrooms that only every other sink be used.

·       Exhaust fans have been set to run 24 hours a day to maximize air circulation in shared bathroom spaces.

·       Two dry hydrogen peroxide units will be added to each wing or floor of the University’s residence halls to help sanitize and remove contaminants — a measure approved for efficacy by MRI Global.

·       Added cleaning staff in all residence halls. As a result, each hall will have cleaning staff on site from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days a week, a significant increase from normal coverage. Bathrooms will be deep cleaned each night seven days a week and will be disinfected no fewer than an additional two times per day using an electrostatic sprayer. Cleaning staff will also use an electrostatic sprayer in stairwells and common areas.  

Residence Life has set aside two wings of two floors to quarantine exposed individuals as needed and are reserving approximately 15 rooms with private bathrooms to isolate those suspected or confirmed of having COVID-19.  

Students living in Townhouse Village, On-Campus Houses, Rock Row and Kateri Community are not allowed to have visitors. No one other than the residents assigned to their unit/house may be in those units. Residents may host a guest outside or in the THV community center.

Students living in Xavier-Loyola, McGee, and Corcoran halls are allowed to host outside guests in the lobby only. No outside guests are allowed on the floors. For the current level, students within the building are allowed also to visit each other. Adherence to mask wearing and social distancing protocols expected. No more than four people will be allowed in a room at any time.

Residence Life will place additional limits on guests within the residence halls in the event of increasing cases. 

Students who have medical conditions that place them at greater risk may request disability accommodation from the residential living requirement (i.e. freshmen and sophomores) through the Disability Resource Center.

Will campus athletic and exercise facilities such as the MAC be open?

The MAC (Magis Activity Center) is open for the University community. The facility will be open from 9 a.m.-1 p.m., with a cleaning from 1-3 p.m., and will then reopen from 3-7 p.m. Monday through Friday. On Saturdays and Sundays, the facility will be open from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. There will be additional requirements for those who use the facility, in accordance with both best practices and guidance from the CDC and local health authorities:

·       Waivers must be signed by each student and faculty/staff at the check-in desk.

·       Temperature checks are required at the check-in desk for entry, as well as showing the green campus clear screen.

·       Masks are required when working out (per CDC guidelines and the Kansas City Health Department).

·       Maximum capacity of 40. Once that number is reached, users must wait for a guest to leave the workout floor before entering.

·       Students[L1] , faculty and staff must still swipe in and swipe out of the MAC.

·       It is mandatory to wipe down equipment after usage.

·       Please bring your own yoga/stretch mat if needed.

·       Please bring your own water bottle. Only the bottle filling stations will be available.

·       Please use the hand sanitation stations provided; avoid touching your face, eyes, nose, and mouth.

·       Maintain 6 feet of social distance when using the weights and machines. No circuit training allowed.

·       Every other cardio machine will be blocked off to create social distancing.

·       There will be extra cleaning done in all areas of the MAC. Besides the clients wiping down each piece of equipment following usage, the staff will be cleaning workout equipment throughout the day.  

·       Per CDC guidelines and the Kansas City Health Department, the showers are off-limits at this time. Restrooms are available.

·       Aerobics and Beach Body classes will be limited to 10 people per class. There will be designated markings on the floor for individuals to maintain adequate social distancing.

·       The MAC staff will complete the Campus Clear app and temperature check prior to each shift and wear masks.

Because it is an unsupervised facility, the weight room in Massman Hall will remain closed to students, faculty and staff at this time. The Massman weight room will be used by athletic teams only. Each team will have times for scheduled strength and conditioning and with the supervision of a strength and conditioning coach (or designated coach). Only those coaches will have swipe access to the facility. The following other requirements will be in place:

·       The strength and conditioning coaches will conduct Campus Clear and temperature checks prior to each workout.

·       Student-athletes are required to wear a mask while exercising in the Massman fitness center, per CDC guidelines and the KC Health Department.

·       Coaches are required to wear masks.

·       The strength coaches have learned the proper cleaning protocols and they will instruct the student-athletes. The weight room will also be cleaned between 11 a.m.-1 p.m. and in the evening.

·       Equipment will be wiped down after each use with supplied disinfectant.

·       Hand-washing on a regular basis with supplied hand sanitation stations is recommended.

·       Student-athletes will maintain social distancing.

·       Maximum occupancy is 30.

All of the above requirements, restrictions and hours are subject to change depending on best practices or guidance.

Will visitors be allowed on campus and in residence halls?

Students living in Townhouse Village, On-Campus Houses, Rock Row and Kateri Community are not allowed to have visitors. No one other than the residents assigned to their unit/house may be in those units. Residents may host a guest outside or in the THV community center.

Students living in Xavier-Loyola, McGee, and Corcoran halls are allowed to host outside guests in the lobby only. No outside guests are allowed on the floors. For the current level, students within the building are allowed also to visit each other. Adherence to mask wearing and social distancing protocols expected. No more than four people will be allowed in a room at any time.

Residence Life will place additional limits on guests within the residence halls in the event of increasing cases. 

Will events or gatherings be allowed on campus? What about off-campus gatherings?

Yes. Events will be allowed on campus, provided guests can adhere to six-foot-social distancing and 50-percent capacity requirements outlined by authorities in the City of Kansas City, Missouri.

Regarding off-campus events, in light of the pandemic and significant challenges we’ve seen at other campuses, Rockhurst is implementing the following policy specifically regarding off-campus social gatherings:

Gatherings limited to 10 people or less.
When possible have your event outside.
Keep physical distancing of 6 feet or more.
Wear a mask inside and outside if under 6 feet from another person.
Wash your hands regularly with hot water and soap; have hand sanitizer available if hot water and soap is not.
Dispense food and beverages in such a way that doesn’t use common sources or utensils.

Should individuals be found in violation of this policy by attending or hosting a social gathering of over 10 people, they will be subject to disciplinary action – including, but not limited to fines, disciplinary probation levels impacting co-/extra-curricular involvement and/or leadership, and suspension or expulsion. Following these policies will be critical in order to remain on campus for the semester. Larger gatherings, particularly where the density of people is high and health protocols are not being followed, are especially dangerous.

Are faculty and staff expected to return to campus full-time?

Rockhurst employees will return to campus with a phased approach beginning July 13. Department leaders will discuss specifics with their direct reports. These requirements are subject to change as circumstances continue to evolve. Employees who are unable to return to campus should contact Human Resources to request an accommodation at Find a more complete list of frequently asked questions here.



What is the online course attendance policy?

Effective Fall 2020 Semester

Regular engagement with online course materials, peers, and faculty is essential to student success in an online course. Federal regulations require instructors to confirm student attendance within the first week of the class along with regular attendance updates throughout the academic term.

Online students are expected to meet the same attendance policy and procedures as those attending face-to-face courses. Participation, however, is defined differently for online courses than face-to-face courses. 

For the purposes of verifying attendance, faculty are required to have academic related activities for students to complete or participate in each week. The following items are considered examples of “academic related activities” for the purpose of this policy.

  • Participating in an assigned online activity
  • Attending a synchronous online class session meeting
  • Submitting a gradable assignment, prepared responses to an online assignment, including draft material
  • Taking an online exam/quiz, including a video quiz
  • Participating in an online class discussion forum
  • Completing activities related to interactive tutorials or to other computer-assisted instruction
  • Participating in an assigned online student group activity
  • Documentable discussion, interaction, and discourse between student and faculty member on the academic subject matter covered in the course

The following items are not considered as evidence for verifying attendance

  • A student’s login into a course’s learning management system as participation in that course as attendance
  • A student’s activity log of viewing course pages within the learning management system

Students’ absences must be reported by instructors according to the Rockhurst University roster check procedure during the first week of class. 

In an effort to support student success, instructors should also report lack of attendance or other academic activity to the appropriate University contact for the Student Success Network as per the current “early alert” procedures, as set by the Associate Provost for Student Success.

How will the schedule for the spring semester be adjusted?

In-person, on-campus courses are scheduled to begin on Tuesday, Jan. 26. There will be no spring break to prevent COVID spread resulting from travel. There will be an Easter break from April 2-5. Spring semester coursework will end May 4, with final exams scheduled from May 6-12.

I need help with my studies — what resources are available?

The University has several options available for students in need of academic assistance. The Greenlease Library has online support and resources, the Aylward-Dunn Learning Center offers instructional support and tutoring for students. Students with specific accessibility-related needs should contact the Disability Resource Center.

Will there be remote or online course options?

In addition to the regularly available online and remote course options, the University will also modify the instructional methodology of courses with too many students to adequately socially distance in a classroom to be a combination of online learning and face-to-face learning. This will require splitting the face-to-face portion of the class into two to three sessions.


General FAQ

How will the University share information on an ongoing basis?

The University will send communication to students, faculty and staff via email. This page will also be updated with the latest information and communication as it becomes available.

Should I report to the University if I have been in contact with someone who has COVID-19?

Yes. The University is requesting that any member of the campus community who meet the following criteria should submit that information using this form:

  • You were within 6 feet of someone who has COVID-19 for at least 15 minutes.
  • You provided care at home to someone who is sick with COVID-19.  
  • You had direct physical contact with the person (touched, hugged, or kissed them).  
  • You shared eating or drinking utensils. 
  • They sneezed, coughed, or somehow got respiratory droplets on you.

The University will contact those who report their information by phone to learn some additional details about your situation and arrange for follow-up. The intent of this information sharing is twofold:  

  • First, to care for University companions during this challenging time.  
  • Second, the University has a desire to take reasonable steps to notify individuals from the Rockhurst community who may have been exposed – and also do a deeper cleaning of any spaces that a member of the community might have occupied while infected.  

The follow-up process with those who might make a report has been reviewed, approved, and applauded by the Kansas City Department of Health. Only a limited number of RU staff members will have access to the information that is shared on a need-to-know basis – the proper and respectful use of personal information is critical.

How can I get tested for COVID-19?

Testing is available at area HCA CareNow Urgent Care and Saint Luke’s Convenient Care clinics. Residents of Kansas City, Missouri, as well as Jackson County and Clay County, Missouri, can sign up for free testing here. At the recommendation of the Kansas City Health Department, students should use their RU local address in order to be eligible for the free Kansas City test.  Residents of Johnson County, Kansas, can get tested for free — sign up here.  Those seeking or needing a test should go online and/or call before they visit a clinic to ensure the availability of testing at that location and to schedule an appointment.  Given their higher level of validity, please pursue a PCR/molecular COVID test as rapid/antigen tests have a higher percentage of “false negative” results. 

Should I report to the University if I have symptoms related to COVID-19?

Yes. The University is requesting that any member of the campus community who has any of the following new or unexplained symptoms should self-quarantine and submit that information by completing this form. Do not include symptoms associated with known or previously diagnosed medical conditions.

  • Shortness of breath
  • Cough
  • Fever (100.4 or greater)
  • Chills
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle aches/pain
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • New loss of taste or smell 


What should I do if I see someone not following mask and distancing guidelines?

Know that if you see someone not following University requirements for masks or social distancing, initiating a friendly conversation can be the most immediate step toward prevention of further exposure.

Here are some tips for having what might sometimes feel like difficult conversations to have:

Remind the person that these are not only the University’s requirements, but they represent some of the best ways to prevent transmission of the virus according to scientific evidence compiled by the CDC. It is also mandatory, according to the mask order issued by Kansas City, Missouri, Mayor Quinton Lucas.
Make sure the other person/people understand that the ability to live and learn on campus safely this semester depends on everyone — faculty, staff and students — following the rules.
Frame your comments in the context of everyone being part of the community of Rockhurst. For example: “I and a lot of other students were really excited to come back to campus this semester. For a lot of us, having to go home early again because we didn’t follow these rules would be really disappointing.” Or, “Our ability to learn and work on campus depends on all of us following protocols and trying to prevent the spread of the virus. I’m sure you wouldn’t want to contribute to us needing to go back to remote learning and working.”
Jesuit core values — in particular, the idea of “cura personalis,” or “care for the whole person” — can help us understand why taking these steps are important.
Recognize that mask wearing and social distancing can feel unnatural or uncomfortable at times and acknowledge the other person or people might not have realized what they were doing.
If you are meeting with a group in a space that does not allow appropriate physical distancing or if your group is sitting closer than the recommended six feet, suggest meeting in a different place that allows at least six feet of distance or via Zoom.
Say you would feel more comfortable if the other person wears their mask (or wears it properly, completely covering their mouth and nose).

One of our University’s Jesuit core values is “cura personalis,” which means “care for the whole person.” We expect all students, faculty, staff and visitors to campus to follow the same COVID-19 prevention protocols. If you are concerned that someone is showing blatant disregard for the health of our community, kindly remind them that wearing a mask and maintaining physical distance is a requirement if they are going to be indoors and on campus property. If they ignore your request, you can bring that to our attention by using this policy violation form, or if you don’t know the names of the people in violation or need immediate assistance, then please call Security.

Helpful Videos

Everything from how to wear a mask to how to wash your hands.

Campus Communications

Fall 2020
Spring 2021

CARES Act Information

Notifications related to CARES Act funding distributed by Rockhurst University
CARES Act required reporting

Pathways Planning Task Force Members

Doug Dunham, Ph.D., provost and senior vice president for academic affairs (co-chair)

Matt Quick, Ph.D., vice president of student development and athletics (co-chair)

Jennifer Friend, Ph.D., dean of the College of Arts and Sciences

Hubert Benitez, Ph.D., vice president for strategic planning and academic innovation

Paula Shorter, Ph.D., associate provost for enrollment services

Jeremy O’Connor, Ph.D., associate professor of management

Mark Hetzler, associate vice president for student development

Gary Burns, director of athletics

Jason Riordan, associate vice president of facilities operations

Gerald Moench, chief financial officer

Katherine Frohoff, director of university relations