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RIC COVID-19 Mitigations

FALL 2022

*Subject to change per COVID-19 Community Burden Level

Vaccinations and boosters are a critical component of the strategy to reduce the severity of illness, protect high-risk populations, decrease the strain on health care resources, and reduce the risk of emerging variants.

For Fall 2022 Rhode Island College (RIC) will require all students and non-classified employees to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19. Fully vaccinated means a person has received their primary series of COVID-19 vaccines. One vaccine for Johnson & Johnson and 2 vaccines for Moderna or Pfizer (or any combination of mRNA vaccine).

RIC also recommends that all eligible students, faculty, and staff consult with their primary care physician as to whether they should receive the currently available COVID-19 booster doses. NOTE, depending upon the efficacy of any boosters which may be developed in the future, and/or the community risk level of COVID-19, RIC may reinstate a booster requirement as well as other mitigation measures.

When possible, testing should include a multi-pronged approach that includes pre-arrival (especially for residential students), on-arrival, and surveillance testing. Surveillance testing will be available for the entire RIC Community at the Asymptomatic Testing Site

Asymptomatic Testing Site: 
Yellow Cottage, East Campus
Monday through Friday
9am to 3pm
No Appointment necessary. RIC ID is required for entry and testing.

Housing: Students who will be residents in housing for the fall 2022 semester will need a negative test from their point-of-origin prior to coming to campus (72 hours or less preferred). However, due to the pervasive nature of Omicron and limited resources, some of this testing may be conducted on campus when the student arrives -- provided an appointment is made in advance. Minimally, students who are symptomatic should be tested, regardless of vaccination status, with the testing of close contacts as the next priority. Use of PCR and FDA-approved rapid antigen tests are both acceptable when used for their prescribed purposes. Students who did not obtain a point-of-origin test prior to arrival but test positive on campus will not be permitted to access their dorms for 5 days (may extend to 10 days if symptoms persist). Other arrangements should have been made by the students and/or their families for housing accommodations.

Exempted Students/Faculty/Staff: Exempted will be required to test weekly before their first class of the week or visit to campus when we are in Yellow (moderate) or Red (high level transmission). This will be based on Providence County. Non-compliance for students not abiding by their exemption contracts will be reported to the Dean of Students and faculty will be notified that students must not attend in-person classes.

  • Students living on campus please contact Center for Health and Wellness to schedule a test.
  • Commuter students, please contact your primary care provider to schedule a test and contact Center for Health and Wellness if positive.
  • Faculty and staff, please contact your primary care provider to schedule a test and contact Human Resources if positive.

In light of a change in CDC guidance related to mask wearing and a nationwide decline in cases RI College will follow the guidance under the levels of transmission:

Green: (low incidence) Masks will continue to be optional on campus. Masks will be required in high-risk areas such as Center for Health and Wellness, advising meetings and individual sessions/interactions unless instructed otherwise. Masks in the classrooms is at the discretion of each faculty member.

Yellow: (medium incidence) Masks are encouraged in all buildings and events. Masks are required in the classrooms. However, faculty may elect to waive the mask requirements. Masks and testing are required if not fully vaccinated or if you have received a religious or medical exemption.

Red: (high incidence) Masks are required in all buildings and classrooms on campus.

*Masks will be required for all positive cases on Days 6-10 (following proper isolation).

COVID-19 mitigation strategies will be sent by email from ‘STAY INFORMED’ should pandemic circumstances change, or local conditions arise that require the re-institution of mask requirement (based on guidance from CDC or RI Department of Health). Surgical (paper) masks and KN95 and N95 masks offer the best protection against transmission. Masks should cover both the nose and mouth and fit tightly to assure the best protection. With the highly transmissible nature of the Omicron variant, wearing face coverings in a way that produces a good fit with no air gaps is most protective. Gaiters, scarves and cloth masks will not be permitted.

Due to the high transmissibility of Omicron, contact tracing will be limited on campus. Members of the testing team are trained to identify trends on campus and upticks in cases. We encourage students to inform their close contacts and advise them to contact health services with questions/instructions and testing arrangements. Your RIC emails will be used for exposure notification.

RIC will implement five-day (per CDC general guidance) or ten-day (CDC congregate setting guidance-if symptoms persist on Day 6) protocols for isolation. While using the 5-day protocol, students will have to be cleared by Health Services on Day 6. This protocol allows students to return to class as soon as possible. All students must be fever-free for 24 hours without the use of antipyretics to be cleared. The term “asymptomatic” does not always mean “not contagious.” Therefore, any individuals leaving isolation prior to day 10 should be provided with and instructed on the appropriate use of a well-fitted mask, which should be worn at all times in public indoor settings and crowded outdoor settings where distancing is not feasible. If the individual cannot comply with the mask guidance as outlined, continuance of 10 days of isolation will be considered.

Options for Residential Isolation of Students

  • Students who live near campus and have their own transportation should isolate at home.
  • Students who are positive can cohort into identified rooms/locations for the isolation period.

Quarantine space may be limited and case management of high numbers of quarantined individuals will be challenging. In general, all individuals who are exposed (i.e., close contacts of infected persons) should monitor for symptoms and wear a well-fitted mask for 10 days. If an individual develops symptoms at any time, they should isolate immediately and get tested. Do not use the Asymptomatic Testing Site.

Health Service professional staff and providers may develop specific strategies for dealing with a shortened quarantine and will take vaccination status and individual risk factors into account.

Close contacts who are up to date on COVID-19 vaccination can forego quarantine altogether if they are asymptomatic; therefore, maximizing vaccine uptake is ideal. Those who are up to date on COVID-19 vaccination should monitor for symptoms 10 days from the time of exposure. They should seek testing on day five or at any time before or after if they develop symptoms.

Close contacts who are not up to date on COVID-19 vaccination should quarantine for at least five full days. An individual could leave quarantine after day five if asymptomatic and with a negative NAAT or rapid antigen test performed on day five. The individual should be instructed on symptom monitoring and the proper use of a well-fitted mask that should be worn for 10 days after their initial close contact. If the individual cannot adhere to the mask recommendations, continuing the 10 days of quarantine is strongly considered.

Individuals who have had COVID-19 in the past 90 days do not need to quarantine or get tested for SARS CoV-2 if they were in close contact with an infected individual unless they develop symptoms.

Strategies to adequately ventilate and filter air in indoor spaces should be implemented to the extent it is feasible and possible. When possible, opening a window in a room a few inches can be useful. The addition of portable HEPA filters can be helpful, especially in spaces that lack mechanical ventilation.

Students with comorbidities that place them at higher risk for serious disease should consult with campus health services or their private health care provider regarding the best strategies for reducing their risk and avail themselves of accommodations offered by Rhode Island College. Referrals to and collaboration with campus partners in student success, academic affairs, and disability services will afford students an opportunity to address their specific needs. Employees should consult with Human Resources to address their higher risks and individual concerns.

INTRODUCTION
Rhode Island College may host visitors and events that strictly follow CDC, RIDOH, and RIC health and safety guidelines. All events must be planned at a level of flexibility that may have to adapt at a moment’s notice to adhere to current health and safety conditions as outlined by the color-coded risk levels: Green, Yellow, and Red.

The COLLEGE reserves the right to adjust COVID mitigation plans and requirements based on increased risk or cases, increased transmission, local hospitalizations, and/or presence of variant concerns.

PROPOSED EFFECTIVE DATE: 
Monday, August 1, 2022

GUIDELINES:
1.    No physical distancing in spaces used. Total capacity in all spaces (including performance spaces). 
2.    Use the following color-code guidelines for events. 
 

  Masks Vaccines Physical Distancing Other
GREEN Not required Not required Not required  
YELLOW Optional/
Make mask available
Optional/not required Not required  
>RED Required/Make masks available Highly recommended Not required  

PROCESS:

1.    ALL Events must have Ownership*

  • Student groups (SCG, Student Activities, faculty advisors, etc.)
  • On-Campus (non-student Groups, originating department, etc.)
  • Off-campus (related to college mission)

2.    All Events must contain the following:

  • Plan
  • Structure
  • Ownership 

3.    *Any increase in mitigation for pre-approved and planned events is at the discretion of the Owner. Consultation with Director of Center for Health & Wellness is encouraged with high capacity or room size restrictions. 

For further assistance, please contact the Conferences & Events Office at 401-456-8900 or events@ric.edu.

Domestic:

Travelling to or From Area Rated as Green: No restriction on RIC-related domestic travel to or from areas rated as green or yellow. Please check the status of destination here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/your-health/covid-by-county.html. Students and employees should heed the CDC guidance on delaying travel until they are fully vaccinated and should test three to five days upon their return.

Travelling to of From Area Rated as Yellow or Red: In addition to above precautions, students, faculty and staff must be fully vaccinated and complete the RIC Essential Academic Travel Request Form (below) and receive approval from their supervisor and the Director of the Center for Health and Wellness . Students must complete the form and receive approval from the Dean of Students and the Director of the Center for Health and Wellness.

International:

Travelling to Area Rated as Level 1: Individuals must be fully vaccinated for RIC-related international travel to areas rated as 1. Please check the status of destination here: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/noticescovid19. Per the CDC, make sure you are up to date with your COVID-19 vaccines before traveling to this destination. If you have a weakened immune system or are more likely to get very sick from COVID-19, even if you are up to date with your COVID-19 vaccines, talk to your clinician about what additional precautions may be needed before, during, and after travel to this destination.

Travelling to Area Rated as Level 2 or 3: In addition to above precautions, students, faculty and staff must complete the RIC Essential Academic Travel Request Form (below) and receive approval from their supervisor and the Director of the Center for Health and Wellness. Students must complete the form and receive approval from the Dean of Students and the Director of the Center for Health and Wellness. Per the CDC, if you have a weakened immune system or are more likely to get very sick from COVID-19, even if you are up to date with your COVID-19 vaccines, talk with your clinician about your risk and consider delaying travel to this destination.

Travelling to Area Rated as Level 4: There will be no RIC sponsored international travel to areas rated as Level 4.

RIC Essential Academic Travel Request Form
Rhode Island College entrance

COVID-19 Response Team

Center for Health and Wellness

We are here to provide confidential and holistic primary health care and counseling to enhance the academic potential of our students. Telehealth Appointments Available.