August 15, 2022 - Fall 2022 COVID-19 Updates
Dear campus community,
As the start of the new academic year approaches, please take note of our updated COVID-19 policies and protocols.
Vaccinations and Boosters
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, unless they receive a medical or religious exemption from the RIC Center for Health and Wellness.
Fully vaccinated means a person has received their primary series of COVID-19 vaccines. One vaccine for Johnson & Johnson and two 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, in the future, depending on COVID-19 community health risk and the efficacy of to-be-developed boosters, RIC may implement a booster mandate.)
Asymptomatic testing will be available for the entire RIC Community beginning 8/26/2022:
Asymptomatic Testing Site:
Yellow Cottage, East Campus
Monday through Friday
9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Dorm Residents: 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. 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.
Students with medical or Religious Exemptions: All students who are exempted will be required to test weekly before their first class of the week when we are in Yellow (moderate) or Red (high level transmission).
In light of a change in CDC guidance related to mask wearing and a nationwide decline in cases, RIC will follow the following guidance under various 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, Counseling Center, advising meetings and individual sessions/interactions unless instructed otherwise. Masking in classrooms is at the discretion of each faculty member.
Yellow (medium incidence): Masks are encouraged in all buildings. Masks are required in the classrooms. However, faculty may elect to repeal their mask requirements. Masks are required if not fully vaccinated or exempted.
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).
Surgical (paper) masks and KN95 and N95’s 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. If resources are limited, double masking as described in CDC guidance is the next best option. Gaiters, scarves and cloth masks will not be permitted.
If you are having COVID-19 symptoms:
- Students living on campus please contact the Center for Health and Wellness (CHW) to schedule a test. Do not attend class or visit other congregate areas (e.g., library, gym).
- Commuter students, please contact your primary care provider to schedule a test and contact CHW if positive. Do not come to campus.
- Faculty and staff, please contact your primary care provider to schedule a test and contact Human Resources if positive. Do not come to campus.
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 Center for Health and Wellness 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.
Center for Health and Wellness 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 be instructed on proper mask-wearing and monitor for symptoms 10 days from the time of exposure. They should seek testing on Day 5 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 5 if asymptomatic and with a negative NAAT or rapid antigen test performed that day. 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.
Students at High Risk/Faculty at High Risk
Students with co-morbidities that place them at higher risk for serious disease should consult with Center for Health and Wellness or their private health care provider regarding the best strategies for reducing their risk and avail themselves of accommodations offered by RIC. 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.
Should pandemic circumstances or local conditions change, RIC may reinstate or strengthen certain measures (e.g., boosters or masks wearing) as well as other mitigations based on guidance from CDC or RI Department of Health.
The RIC administration is truly thankful for the cooperation of each member of our campus community to date as we strive to safeguard everyone’s health and wellness and deliver a rich campus experience. Please continue to abide by the mitigations we have laid out to assure your own health, and that of you fellow students, staff and faculty.
If you have any questions about these mitigations:
- Faculty and Staff, please contact the Office Human Resources 401-456-8216
- Students, please contact the Center for Health and Wellness 401-865-8055