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Weekly Campus Update

May 13, 2020

Dear RIC Faculty and Staff,

Now, more than ever, Rhode Island’s college has a vital role in supporting the state’s recovery. As the state’s comprehensive public college with high-quality academic programs at every level and an unmatched return on investment, we are actively engaged with powering-up the state’s economy while securing our role as an anchor in the community.

Right now, Rhode Island needs us. As always, the college community will answer the call to help Rhode Islanders, not just to educate our citizens, but support the workforce and priorities that will move Rhode Island beyond the current health crises. More on that later, but first, a reminder that there is still much to celebrate this week.

Virtual commencement for the Class of 2020.

On Saturday, May 16 faculty, staff, family, friends and fellow students are invited to celebrate the accomplishments of the undergraduate and graduate members of the Class of 2020.

While not a live event, our celebration will be available to view starting at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday, May 16 on the virtual commencement website. The celebration will feature a series of videos from Governor Gina Raimondo, Class of 2020 President Jeni Melo, photos submitted by graduating students, as well as messages from the Rhode Island College Alumni Association and the Golden Anniversary Class of 1970. The virtual commencement website will also feature the names of all graduates and those receiving Cap & Gown awards. To culminate our celebration, a special RIC CARES concert will feature student performers paying tribute to the many members of our campus community who have supported the college and our state in recent months.

Thank you Microsoft and Governor Raimondo!

Today Governor Raimondo announced that Microsoft is donating 500 laptops to help the state with technology needs, and a significant number are coming to Rhode Island College. These laptops will enable us to provide immediate relief to our students who are struggling with access to technology during distance learning. We are tremendously grateful to Microsoft and the governor to responding to the needs of our students.

Reopening Rhode Island

Yesterday, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top epidemiologist, reminded us of the consequences of the critical decisions we must make during this difficult time. While we remain focused on our mission to deliver an affordable, high-quality education for our students, we must do so with the clear understanding that health and safety are a top priority.

As I mentioned in my last communication, the college is developing a plan of operation for the upcoming year. Our plan will be reviewed by the Rhode Island Department of Health and aligned with the state’s overall plans for reopening Rhode Island.

Anchors in the Community
We are supporting communities disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.

As the disease continues to impact hundreds of families throughout the state, our older adults and communities of color have been significantly impacted. With inclusive excellence as one of our college’s core values, we must continue to reinforce our commitment to equity not just through our words, but through our actions.

Last week, together with Central Falls Mayor James A. Diossa and Pawtucket Mayor Donald R. Grebien, the Rhode Island College Workforce Development Hub in Central Falls became the first facility outside of CVS Health’s testing site at Twin River Casino to offer the rapid result Abbott ID NOWTM COVID-19 test. This testing site, like the one on our main campus, will provide significant relief to the citizens of Rhode Island, particularly for communities that are disproportionately impacted by this crisis.

The site will serve as an extension of the “Beat COVID-19” initiative, a campaign focusing on grassroots communication and assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic with the goal of reaching out to every single household in Central Falls and Pawtucket. This initiative includes identifying residents who become symptomatic as soon as they get sick, providing them with available testing and resources, and eventually moving them to effective isolation.

We are supporting Rhode Island’s at-risk population of older adults.

With the advent of the coronavirus pandemic, our at-risk population of older Rhode Islanders have been in their homes now for a number of weeks and social isolation is now becoming more worrisome.

Based at Rhode Island College, Age-Friendly RI is a coalition of community and state agencies, healthcare and social service providers, individuals of all ages, advocacy and faith-based organizations, businesses, academic institutions and municipal leaders who are committed to healthy aging. In an attempt to alleviate some of the social isolation concerns, Age-Friendly RI is developing an online "senior center," where anyone in RI can access curriculum normally found in senior centers. Categories include wellness, fitness, arts, music, history, food and nutrition.

You can reach the Age-Friendly team at to learn how you can join in this important initiative.

REMINDER: We need your feedback on the Mission, Vision and Core Values statements.

Please review and provide feedback on the revisions to the college's Mission, Vision and Core Values statements. Please read the statements and fill out the feedback form at this link by May 15, 2020.

Thank you!

As we close the 2020 academic year, let me take this opportunity to thank each of you for your support, words of encouragement, hard work and dedication not just during this moment of crisis, but throughout the year.

Yours in education,

Frank D. Sánchez

Page last updated: May 14, 2020