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A Message from Rhode Island College President Regarding the Coronavirus

March 3, 2020

Dear Rhode Island College Community:

Rhode Island public health officials confirmed two presumptive cases of the novel coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, within the state. A third person is currently undergoing testing. While there is no confirmed case of COVID-19 at the college, we empathize with those who have been impacted by the virus here in Rhode Island and in communities across the globe.

Rhode Island College continues to monitor the spread of the coronavirus as more cases are confirmed in the United States and other countries. The consensus among the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO) and the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) is that the risk of exposure to COVID-19 is currently low in the United States. Nonetheless, we are actively planning and aligning our actions with the most recent recommendations from state public health officials and following guidance from the CDC, as we maintain our focus on the health and well-being of our college community.

We want each of you to take care of yourself.

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.

We want you to please stay informed.

While we continue to monitor international travel regulations, we urge you to consult the most recent guidance from national and state officials to learn more about the spread of the virus and any travel restrictions that may be put in place.

Please take precautions during travel, particularly during the upcoming spring break (March 9-13, 2020). If you are a student, and planning to travel abroad this semester, please contact the Office of the Dean of Students. If you are a faculty or staff member and planning to travel abroad this semester, please contact Administration and Finance.

Any faculty, staff or students who are planning to travel abroad should stay abreast of travel regulations and understand that you may be required to self-quarantine for as many as 14-days depending upon the location of travel and the spread of the outbreak.

In addition, the college will continue to make updates available through our website that will provide an additional source of information that includes information about considerations for travel, steps to take if you feel sick and resources for our college community members.

We want each of you to remain calm and show compassion.

As the coronavirus and our response continues to evolve, we know that some may feel a sense of anxiety and fear. Please know that our campus colleagues are working tirelessly to make information and campus resources available should you need them.

During this time, one of the most important messages for us to remember is 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.

We want to thank you.

I want to thank all of the members of our community who have been leading these efforts from each division of our campus. I want to particularly express my gratitude to Christie Rishworth, Interim Director of College Health Services/Nurse Practitioner; Steve Nedder, Vice President for Administration and Finance; Tamika Wordlow Williams, Assistant Vice President and Dean of Students; Gersende Chanfrau, Director of Study Abroad/Instructor of French; Rob Eaton, Director of Budget; Clark Greene, Executive Director for Strategic Initiatives; Sue Pearlmutter, Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs; and Kimberly Dumpson, Vice President for College Advancement for their ongoing leadership as we continue to monitor this rapidly changing situation.

We will continue to stay in touch with you and keep you informed. Thank you for your understanding and support during this time.

Yours in education,

Frank D. Sánchez
President

Page last updated: March 17, 2020