December 23, 2021: COVID-19 Update for Students


Dear RIC Students,

We have been monitoring the spread of the Omicron variant, which is soon expected to become the predominant strain of COVID-19 in Rhode Island. Though it appears less virulent, it is highly contagious. According to health officials, cases are expected to rise in the coming weeks and there are things we can do now to maintain the health and safety of our campus community. Out of an abundance of caution, we are taking the following steps: 

Booster Shots Required for the Spring 2022 Semester

“It is critically important for all eligible people in Rhode Island – including college and university students, faculty, and staff – to get COVID-19 vaccine booster doses… With the Omicron variant now with a presence in Rhode Island, booster doses may more than double the protection someone would otherwise get from a primary series of vaccine. Colleges and universities have been leaders in the COVID-19 vaccination campaign. This is another opportunity for students, faculty, and staff to help keep their school communities as healthy and safe as possible.”

Nicole Alexander-Scott, MD, MPH
Director of the Rhode Island Department of Health

Accordingly, booster shots will now be required for students, faculty and staff for the return to campus in the spring semester or once eligible (six months after completing vaccination dose), whichever is earlier. This also applies to new, incoming students. Additional information will be forthcoming from Health Services.

Winter Break (Now through January 17)

Academics

  • Early spring courses will be held remotely; and
  • With limited exceptions, academic classes may be held in person only upon approval of the provost and Health Services.

Campus Life

  • Campus will remain open to the public, with appointments encouraged;
  • Orientation will be moved to a virtual format;
  • There will be no in-person events on campus, unless otherwise exempted or approved by Health Services;
  • Athletic competition will be curtailed with appropriate mitigation;
  • Recreation Center will be closed;
  • Dining Services will remain open over break, with grab-and-go options available;
  • Library services will be offered remotely only;
  • Residence Halls will remain open for those limited number of students remaining on-campus over the break. Residence Halls will open as scheduled on January 16 for the general student population; and
  • Campus tours will be conducted by appointment.

Testing is required for all students prior to return to campus

Each student must enter a negative COVID-19 test into Medicat within 72 hours of their planned return to campus. Additional information will be forthcoming from Health Services.

Testing is strongly encouraged for everyone in the RIC community

We strongly encourage faculty and staff to get tested prior to the start of the spring semester, monitor your symptoms, get tested if necessary and stay home if you are not feeling well. 

Adjustments for start of Spring 2022 Semester
(January 18-February 7)

The Omicron variant is expected to be prevalent in Rhode Island at the time we return to campus for the start of the spring semester. To decrease the likelihood of increased spread, we will take the following steps during the first three weeks (January 18-February 7).

Campus Life: January 18-February 7

  • Campus will remain open to the public, with appointments encouraged;
  • Campus tours will be conducted by appointment;
  • There will be no events on campus, unless otherwise exempted or approved by Health Services;
  • Residence Halls and Dining Services will remain open, with grab-and-go options available;
  • Athletic programs will be curtailed with appropriate mitigation;
  • Recreation Center will be closed; and
  • Library services will be remote only.

Please note, we are in active discussions with the Office of the Postsecondary Commissioner on how to best proceed with academic classes at the beginning of the semester. Please expect that next week we may announce either a delayed opening, and/or a move to remote learning for a few weeks until the Omicron variant is expected to subside. 

Together, We Are #AnchorStrong

We encourage each of you to follow established health protocols (masking and social distancing), particularly while gathering with family and friends over the holiday season.

Throughout the course of the pandemic, we have maintained the ability to keep our campus healthy and safe by working together. We need to continue to work together. We will actively monitor the situation and will communicate any changes to these plans.

For additional information, please visit the college’s website.

Thank you in advance for your assistance and cooperation.

COVID-19 Operational Team