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IMPORTANT Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates

March 11, 2020

Dear Campus Community,

Today, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the coronavirus (COVID-19) to be a global pandemic.  Unquestionably, this situation is placing colleges and universities in uncharted territory.  As a result of increasing concerns about the spread of the virus, the college is taking a number of actions in order to maintain the health and welfare of those within the campus community while balancing the need to ensure that we continue to deliver instruction to our students.

I would like to express my appreciation to Vince Bohlinger, Chair of the Council of Rhode Island College and Quenby Hughes, RIC/AFT Faculty Union President, for their perspective and guidance on this important communication.

ACADEMIC INSTRUCTION

Classroom Instruction 

  • The college is cancelling classes from Monday, March 16 through Friday, March 20, 2020. During this time, the college will remain open as we work with faculty to transition to remote course delivery through the web, video and teleconferencing tools, and other alternative methods that are available.
  • On Monday, March 23, classes will resume through online and/or alternative delivery until further notice. All in-person class instruction will be suspended.  We will continue to closely monitor this course of action as the situation evolves. 
  • All students will be expected to continue and complete coursework off-campus following faculty guidance for completion. 
  • Consistent with guidance from the state, Henry Barnard School shall remain open.
  • All facilities and administrative and faculty offices will remain open.

Additional guidance and resources for instructional continuity will be forthcoming from the Office of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs.

Student Academic Support
The college is actively working to make sure that appropriate academic support will be made available to those students for whom this decision may present a hardship.

Accommodations
The Disability Services Center will be working collaboratively with User Support Services and faculty members to make sure that appropriate accommodations are met within the remote learning environment.

Labs, Seminars, Studios, Performing Arts Activities
Departments and faculty members are working to provide additional guidance to and will be in touch with students regarding classes where face-to-face instruction is essential.

Internships, Clinical and Student Teaching Placements
While classes are occurring remotely, students who are participating in internships and student teaching placements should follow the guidance of the appropriate school district and/or clinical site.  Faculty members are working to provide additional guidance to and will be in touch with students.

Graduate Assistants
Graduate assistants participate in the critical work of the college and should consult with their faculty members or supervisors for more information.

STUDENT EXPERIENCE

On-Campus Living

Residence halls and the Donovan Dining Center will remain open. Students may remain on campus, but for those who choose not to do so may contact the Office of Residential Life and Housing for additional information.  For students who choose not to return, refunds will be not issued.

EVENTS AND ACTIVITIES

Intercollegiate Athletics

Intercollegiate Athletics will follow the guidance of the NCAA and the Little East Conference as it relates to athletic competitions. However, while teams and their respective coaching staffs will be authorized to attend events, fans and spectators will be prohibited from attending all campus competitions. Athletic facilities will remain open, but will not host events with expected attendance of 100 or more people.

Student Events
From March 11 through March 23, student events are suspended. Additional guidance will be forthcoming.

Campus Events
In an abundance of caution, Rhode Island College is cancelling and/or postponing all events with greater than 100 in attendance scheduled on campus between March 11 and April 7. This directive does not apply to credit-bearing activities. When classes resume, groups are encouraged to consider alternative plans in case future events may need to be cancelled or postponed.

We are working with the Division of Student Success to determine changes and enhancements to Admitted Students Day and other spring visits and yield events.

All concerns related to credit-bearing classes, events and activities must be directed to Academic Affairs at 401-456-8003. For questions regarding professional studies and continuing education programming, please contact the Office of Professional Studies and Continuing Education at (401) 456-8909.

Meetings and Other Gatherings
We are discouraging large group meetings, where possible. Meeting planners are encouraged to use conference calling for staff meetings and other meetings that are not required to be in-person.

EMPLOYEES

As we continue monitor this situation, we recognize that there are a host of human resources related matters that must be considered. At this time, all staff are expected to maintain their regular schedules. Additional guidance will be provided as soon as practicable.

Student Employees and Work Study Students
We know that many of our students rely upon work study programs to support their educational needs. We are asking each supervisor to communicate with these students to discuss plans regarding students’ return to campus.

Accommodations
For faculty members and staff who may need ADA accommodations or who may fall under high-risk categories, please contact the Office of Human Resources.

GENERAL HEALTH AND WELL-BEING

Stay Well. Stay Informed.

As this health emergency continues to evolve, it is important to emphasize that currently the vast majority of people who have become ill with COVID-19 have experienced relatively mild symptoms, such as fever and cough. We are encouraging everyone to take precautions to monitor their own health:

  • Cover your mouth and nose with your elbow or a tissue when you cough or sneeze, and immediately dispose of the tissue.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds, and if soap and water are not available use 60-95% alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces that are frequently touched.
  • Stay home from work and school when you feel sick.

Please remember that the risk for coronavirus is tied to one’s travel history or close contact with someone who has traveled to an impacted area, not someone's nationality. Rhode Island College remains committed to values of diversity and inclusion, and as such, we know that members within our community will live those values, even in the midst of the present circumstances.

As the virus and the response continues to evolve, please make sure to check our website for any updates or send us an email if you have any questions.

Thank you!  I would like to thank each of you for your tireless efforts and for your patience during this time.

Yours in education,

Frank D. Sánchez
President

Page last updated: March 13, 2020