Remain-In-Room Plan for Residence Halls

Information about Remain-in-Room (RIR) plans for residence halls experiencing active cases and community spread of COVID-19 was emailed to Miami students on September 29, 2020. 

Students living in a residence hall on a floor with a Level 4: Purple designation will be advised via email and placed on a Remain-in-Room plan until it is determined through our testing protocol that spread has been contained. We anticipate the RIR plan will typically, but not always, be shorter than a 14-day quarantine order. If residents fully comply with the Remain-in Room plan, spread of the infection can be contained more quickly.

When a residence hall is placed under the Remain-in-Room plan, students should not leave the residence hall except for essential matters (e.g. bathroom, medical appointments or emergencies, contactless food delivery, breaks to spend time outside by yourself or with your roommate while wearing a face covering and practicing physical distancing). Additionally:

  • No visitors should be on these floors, including other members of the hall.
  • Residents should not leave the building to attend classes in person or participate in other face-to-face activities, such as going to work.
  • Do not use residence hall lounges/common rooms, laundry rooms, study rooms, or common kitchens.
  • Wear your face coverings at all times when you are not in your room, except as needed to use the restroom facilities.
  • Spend as little time in restroom facilities as possible.

These steps are essential in containing and halting the transmission of COVID-19.

You will be tested as frequently as every other day while you are under the RIR plan. These tests will typically be administered in the residence halls with a 36-48 hour turnaround time for results. Community testing results will determine when the RIR can be safely lifted. The RIR will be lifted when the floor is in the orange category (no more than 2 new cases in the past 7 days) for 4 days in a row. 

The plan is best able to contain spread when 100% of the affected population participates fully. We hope RIR will allow students to return to daily activities more quickly than a mandatory quarantine.


Residence Hall Risk Levels

Similar to the State of Ohio, Miami will start using a color-coded alert system to identify the risk of COVID-19 outbreaks in residence halls. Our color-coded system was developed by our internal team of experts in consultation with public health officials:

  • Level 1: Yellow – There are no known positive cases in your residence hall in the last 7 days. Please exercise caution to avoid bringing the infection back to your hall. Practice physical distancing, wash your hands often, and wear a face-covering at all times when outside your room, whether indoors or out. 
  • Level 2: Orange – There have been 1-2 cases on at least one floor in your residence hall in the last 7 days. Follow public health guidelines to avoid becoming infected or unknowingly infecting others. Practice physical distancing, wash your hands often, and wear a face-covering at all times when outside your room, whether indoors or out. 
  • Level 3: Red – There have been 3 or more cases on at least one floor in your residence hall in the last 7 days, but there is not yet statistical evidence of an outbreak. You are at a significant risk of becoming infected and must take aggressive action in limiting visitors and time spent with others outside of your roommate, practicing physical distancing, washing hands often, and wearing face coverings at all times, indoors and out. 
  • Level 4: Purple – There is a COVID-19 outbreak on at least one floor of your residence hall and those living on the identified floor are at a very high risk for becoming infected. Miami will implement a Remain-in-Room plan designed to stop the spread of the infection for each residential floor at this level. An outbreak is defined as over 5% of floor residents testing positive during the last 7 days, and statistical evidence of an outbreak.
  • QUARANTINE – If the Remain-in-Room Plan is not effective in controlling COVID-19 transmission, a mandatory quarantine of the entire floor or residence hall, depending on the spread of the infection, will be put in place. 

List of residence halls and their current color-coded level

How are these levels determined? 

Miami monitors the residence location of students who test positive each day we receive test results. We then identify the color codes based on the above information. 

Outbreaks are identified when the number of students who test positive in a residence hall is at least 5% of floor residents in the last 7 days. We also use a standard statistical test for detecting outbreaks, and only implement the RIR plan when we are over 99.99% confident there is an outbreak.


FAQs for the Remain-in-Room (RIR) plan

Is the Remain-in-Room plan required? 

The Remain-in-Room (RIR) plan is designed to stop a localized outbreak as quickly as possible without relocating students. While not mandatory, it will take everyone on the floor doing their part to follow the plan fully to end the RIR plan and to avoid a mandatory quarantine order. 

What would mandatory quarantine entail?

Depending on the severity and spread of the outbreak, the Level 4: Purple zone may be escalated to a mandatory quarantine from the Butler County General Health District. A mandatory quarantine order could involve moving students to individual rooms in official quarantine space for 14 days and/or temporarily shutting down the residence hall entirely. 

How do you determine when my floor goes into the category where RIR is needed?

We use a combination of information on the number and location of students who test positive, and the size of the residence corridors, floors, and halls. We use a statistical test to determine the probability of an outbreak in a particular area. We are currently implementing an RIR plan when more than 5% of the floor has tested positive in the past week, and when a statistical test confirms the outbreak with over 99.99% confidence.

My hall is “purple” but I have not been notified to RIR. Was I overlooked?

We plan to institute an RIR plan by floor. So if there is an outbreak that only appears on one floor or in one house, only that floor will be on an RIR and the rest of the building will continue to be monitored for changes.

If another floor in your building is under an RIR plan, you should stay vigilant in your own practices to keep yourself healthy and avoid visiting others in your building.

How long will I be in RIR?

Some universities are using two weeks as their timeline for similar programs. We want to avoid this long of a period if possible, so we are using frequent tests to identify and isolate people with COVID-19, and then lifting the RIR when test results indicate the outbreak is controlled.

The length of RIR is highly dependent on how compliant residents are with the restrictions in place. For a floor that is 100% compliant, RIR may be as short as 5-6 days. If students are less compliant, it will likely take longer.

A designated Level 4: Purple floor will be removed from the RIR plan when the floor is in the orange category (no more than 2 new cases in the past 7 days) for 4 days in a row.

All students affected will be tested as frequently as every other day. Results are expected to be turned around in 24-36 hours. The sooner Miami receives these results, the more quickly we are able to lift the restrictions - so please sign the release form provided so Miami can receive your results immediately. Otherwise, Miami will receive the results on a delay from the Butler County General Health District.

What about in-person class sessions? Other in-person activities?

You should not attend in-person class sessions or other in-person activities. Contact your instructor(s) as soon as possible to alert them that you are unable to attend in-person class session(s) due to being on a Remain-in-Room plan for your residence hall.

You should not leave your room for in-person student organization meetings, work, internships, etc. Do what you can remotely, and maintain open communication to employers, faculty members, etc. about your situation.

What are acceptable reasons to leave my room when I am under a Remain-in-Room plan?

You can continue to use the community bathroom in your hall. You may also arrange for contactless food delivery from off-campus restaurants during hours when physical facilities staff is not present (to reduce the likelihood of contact). You can take limited breaks to spend time outside by yourself or with your roommate only, staying close to your hall, while wearing a face covering and practicing physical distancing. You can also leave for medical appointments or in the event of an emergency.

Update October 8, 2020

You’re also able to leave your room to get meals at each meal time. More information below.

Will my faculty members be notified?

Faculty members have been notified generally about the Remain-in-Room plan, but you should contact them individually if you will miss any in-person classes due to the RIR plan.

How am I going to get food?

Update October 8, 2020

Starting October 9th, all Remain in Room students will have access to Bell Tower Commons for meals during the week (Monday-Friday) and Western Dining Commons on the weekends (Saturday-Sunday). Breakfast will be available from 8-10AM, lunch from 11-1PM and dinner from 5-7PM. The commons will be closed to all other students and guests when the location is serving RIR students.

RIR students will continue to use their meal plan as normal to swipe in. Dining staff will compare the student’s name against a current list of students who live on RIR floors. There will be no general seating inside the commons. View the menu »

Can I do laundry?

Updated October 16, 2020

If you need to do laundry while in RIR, please contact your Resident Director.

Can I interact with others in my hall?

You should not interact in-person with other people in your hall, other than your roommate(s). This also means no visitors (even other residents in your corridor) in your room.

Why are you making me stay in this building with other people who are sick?

Students with confirmed positive test results will not stay in the building. They will be moved to isolation spaces following established isolation procedures.

Can I go home?

Yes, if you prefer to go home rather than participate in the Remain-in-Room plan in your residence hall room, you may do so if you are able to get there without the use of any public transportation, and without making any stops between campus and your destination.

How many people are sick? Can you tell me who?

Federal privacy laws prevent us from sharing information that directly or indirectly exposes the medical records of an individual. Sharing the number of positive cases in a specific hall may inadvertently expose the identities of students who tested positive.

What can I do to be the most helpful during RIR? Other than following all RIR guidelines.

Other than following all requirements of RIR, you can be extra vigilant about physical distancing, washing hands, wearing masks, and checking symptoms. When you complete paperwork for testing, you should sign the release of your records to the Dean of Students office. Only your COVID-19 test result would be shared; they will not have access to any of your other health records. While the Dean of Students will receive results on a delay from Butler County General Health District, the sooner results are received, the sooner the RIR plan will be lifted.

How is this different from quarantine?

The Remain-in-Room plan does not require you to temporarily leave your permanent housing assignment, nor move into a room by yourself. RIR also allows limited time outside. If the outbreak is quickly controlled by people following RIR guidelines, the RIR is likely to be shorter than quarantine. Quarantine is ordered by the Department of Health; the Remain-in-Room plan is a voluntary program created by Miami intended to prevent the need for a full quarantine.

I’ve already tested positive and from COVID. Do I still have to participate in the RIR plan?

If you have previously tested positive and have provided documentation of a PCR test to TriHealth, you will be excluded from the testing as a part of the Remain-in-Room plan.

However, students who have recovered from COVID-19 should still actively follow the guidelines in place for their residential community for a number of different reasons including:

  • Individuals who do not actively have the virus can still transmit the virus through surface spread.
  • Everyone in the community is included in the RIR as we protect the personal health information of everyone in that space; excluding someone from the RIR discloses their personal health information.
  • Following the Remain-in-Room plan is something you can do to keep others healthy. You are at a lower risk, but your movement around the residence hall spreads germs in your residence hall and in the broader campus if you leave the building, increasing the risk of further transmitting the virus to others.
  • The risk from re-infection is not fully understood. While we expect individuals who are re-infected with SARS-CoV-2 to have a milder illness and shorter infectious period, we cannot rule out that individuals who have been infected previously could become infected again and spread the illness to close contacts.
  • This is a community effort to reduce the transmission and you can help, even though you may have already had the virus. When you follow the RIR plan you are making a choice to help protect your community.

What happens if I choose not to follow the Remain-in-Room plan?

The plan is best able to contain spread when 100% of the affected population participates. If you choose not to participate, you may put yourself and others at risk of spreading COVID-19. Lack of full participation will also likely extend the length of the RIR plan for the entire floor. It may also eventually lead to a mandatory quarantine. We hope that by introducing this mediating step, you will be able to return to daily activities more quickly than a mandatory quarantine.

Can I receive packages or mail while under the RIR plan?

Updated October 16, 2020

You can pick up packages - from lockers only - after 5 pm and before 6:30 am. Use the provided cleaning supplies to wipe down the locker after retrieving your package.

If you receive a package at the customer service window while you are under an RIR plan, you have 3 options. You can:

  • Request an extension with a new date.
  • Arrange for a friend to pick it up (the window is open from 7:30 am to 4 pm).
  • Ask to return the package to the sender.

If you need additional help or have questions, contact the Mail & Package Center.

Testing FAQs

Who pays for the tests?

Miami covers the cost of the tests during RIR, similar to testing during residence hall move-in.

Do I have to participate in the RIR plan testing if I tested negative at move-in, or if I recently tested negative through wide-net or surveillance testing?

Yes. You could have contracted the virus since your last test or may not have been far enough along in the incubation period to show that you have the virus.

Do I have to participate in RIR testing if I tested positive and recovered before coming to campus?

No. If you have previously tested positive for COVID-19 with a PCR test, you will be asked to schedule an appointment and provide documentation of your test at the time of your appointment.