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IMPORTANT Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates

March 25, 2020

Dear Campus Community,

The circumstances regarding coronavirus (COVID-19) continue to evolve. Accordingly, we want to share some important updates:

Confirmed Case on Campus

On Monday, March 23, 2020 the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) confirmed that one of our students tested positive for coronavirus. Later that same day, the college sent a campus-wide communication notifying students, faculty and staff of the positive case on campus. Per RIDOH protocol, that student and another student in close contact with the positive case are now under quarantine on campus.

Upon learning that there was an interaction between the student and an employee, the college asked RIDOH to review the situation, and RIDOH determined that there have been no further contact risks for students, faculty or staff who may have had casual or limited interactions with the student who tested positive.

However, we recognize the concerns of our hardworking staff who are on the frontline of our college’s effort to stop the spread of the virus. In response to their concerns and for their added safety, we are adopting more stringent protocols with regard to sanitization of campus facilities and protections for our staff.

Moving forward, we will continue to work with our facilities staff and an external company to continue to clean and sanitize high-contact areas like the residence halls.

We will also ensure that custodial staff have personal protective equipment, including full-dress scrubs/gowns, for cleaning the health center facilities. We thank the leadership of the Council 94 union Local 2828, representing RIC’s custodial staff, for working with us to implement these additional protections for its members.

In all situations involving students, faculty and staff, we continue to abide by RIDOH guidance and implement RIDOH protocols.

Visual-Verbal Employee Health Screening

Protecting the health and well-being of our community is our top priority. As the state and the college continue to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, the campus will be participating in a pilot program for verbal health screening. Beginning tomorrow, Thursday, March 26, all employees (faculty and staff) will complete a screening upon entering the workplace. This will take place each day until further notice.

Your department chair or immediate supervisor will ask you if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms: cough, fever of 100.4F or greater, shortness of breath/difficulty breathing, chills, runny nose, stuffy nose, sore throat and/or diarrhea. You will also be asked if you have returned from international travel or travel on a cruise ship within the last 14 days; if you have traveled domestically (within the U.S.) on an airline within the last 14 days; and if you have had known exposure to someone with, or under investigation for, COVID-19.

The questions in these screenings may change as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Rhode Island Department of Health issue further guidance. It is important to note that no information will be recorded as part of this screening process.

Based on your responses, you will either be allowed to work the day or instructed to leave the campus and to call Human Resources.

It is imperative that you provide this information to ensure the health of you and your colleagues. Please remember: if you are sick or not feeling well and suspect that you have COVID-19, you should not report to work. You should instead call your primary care physician or other healthcare provider and inform your supervisor that you are not feeling well.

Federal Work Study

Under the U.S. Department of Education's guidance issued March 5, and pursuant to federal law, institutions may make Federal Work Study (FWS) payments under certain limited circumstances to disaster-affected students who are unable to continue working at both on and off campus FWS jobs.

Given the unique nature of the circumstances related to the COVID-19 outbreak and the college’s decision to transition to remote learning, students who are paid on the FWS program as of March 5, will continue to be paid for any previously agreed upon hours they were scheduled to work each week. These hours will be paid at their current wage rate, up to the limit of their work study award, or the limit of the college’s FWS allocation for 2019-20.

Students:

Students receiving FWS funds must continue to be matriculated and enrolled for at least 6 credits. Students should continue to submit their regularly scheduled hours for each payment week and have their employer approve their hours. Students are asked to ensure that their direct deposit information is up to date.

Supervisors:

Supervisors may approve to pay students for any regularly scheduled hours or allow students to work by other means—for example, completing work online or remotely, depending on the job. If scheduled hours vary from week to week, students and supervisors should work together to determine an average number of hours to submit each week for approval.

For more information, please contact Jim Tweed, dean of enrollment management, by phone at 401-456-8845 or via email at jtweed@ric.edu.

Working Remotely

The college is continuing to follow the State of Rhode Island’s Teleworking Policy until further notice. Where telework is a viable work option and an application to telework has been approved by the appropriate administrators in accordance with the Teleworking Policy, the employee may temporarily work from home. Visit the Human Resources website for the appropriate forms.

Please note that all requests for teleworking require supervisory approval. Once your teleworking request is approved, please visit the ITS website for guidance on requesting access to on-campus technology resources. ITS is pleased to offer access to GoToMeeting and GoToMyPC for teleworkers hosting meetings or otherwise in need of specialized access. If you would like to host meetings, require access to on-campus file shares or PeopleSoft resources, please submit a request via the Helpdesk.

Computer Labs Update

Assistive Technology Lab:

The Assistive Technology Lab located within the library is not open to the public. Students with disabilities who have questions or need services related to Assistive Technology should contact the Disability Services Center at dsc@ric.edu for assistance.

Computer Labs:

In order to allow students to do their work in a healthy environment, the computer lab in Whipple 102 will be open as follows:

Monday–Thursday: 7:30 a.m. – 12:00 a.m. (midnight)
Friday: 7:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Saturday: 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Sunday: 12:00 p.m. (noon) – 12:00 a.m. (midnight)

These hours are subject to change.

Stay Informed. Stay Connected.

As the virus and the response continue to evolve, please make sure to check our website and your campus email for any updates or send us an email if you have any questions: stayinformed@ric.edu.

Thank you for your continued support of our students and our campus community.

Yours in education,

Frank D. Sánchez
President

Page last updated: March 25, 2020