RIC Fall Opening 2021


Fall 2021 Opening Plan - Frequently Asked Questions

The following are links to frequently asked questions for the campus community.

RIC Fall Opening 2021 Plan

This information describes how Rhode Island College (RIC) will safely welcome students, faculty and staff back to campus this fall. Fortunately, Rhode Island College has the benefit of an extensive COVID-19 response plan that was prepared last year. Our dedicated and talented students, faculty and staff implemented that plan with great success, and RIC stood out among its peers for delivering academic programs and providing student activities while protecting against the spread of the coronavirus. Now, as RIC plans for a safe and welcome return to in-person teaching and learning for the fall semester we must take reasonable steps to continue to provide for everyone’s health and safety, as the virus is not eradicated and variants are on the rise.

Five committees were assembled made up of faculty, staff and students. They were asked to develop our fall plans focused on specific areas:

  • Community Health
  • Academics
  • Student Life
  • Human Resources
  • Campus Space Use 

Each were guided by recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH), specific to institutions of higher learning (IHE). These plans have been reviewed by the RIC COVID-19 Response Team, the RIC COVID-19 Steering Committee, President Frank D. Sánchez, and the President’s Executive Cabinet. The report was further informed by review and comment received on the draft document from individuals throughout the RIC community. Their input is greatly appreciated.

This report contains general rules and guidelines for the fall opening and covers most campus-related activities. There are also accompanying FAQs covering topics that have emerged from various faculty, staff and student forums in the last several weeks.

The RIC administration, in consultation with the Commissioner of Postsecondary Education and the Chair of the Council of Postsecondary Education has moved to delay the start of classroom instruction on the RIC campus from Monday August 30, 2021 to Wednesday September 8, 2021 to allow additional time for students to come into compliance with RIC’s vaccination mandate. Although this will cause some disruption to the academic calendar, efforts to assure that every student on campus is in compliance with our vaccination policy is paramount to protecting the health or our community. 

While this decision modifies academic instruction, it does not disrupt normal campus operations. Accordingly, the campus remains open to business as usual. The revised Academic Calendar can be found here: https://www.ric.edu/academics/academic-calendar.

NOTE: clinical placements in Nursing and Medical Imaging, student teaching in the Feinstein School of Education and Human Development and field placements in the School of Social work are not delayed and will begin as planned.

RIC will continually monitor COVID-19 variants and indicators of disease prevalence in the greater Rhode Island community and on campus to assess the level of risk to the campus. The Office of Health Services has developed four risk levels:

Low (Blue)

Moderate (Yellow)

Substantial (Orange)

High (Red)

NOTE: The CDC has developed indices to determine risk levels for states and territories, including Rhode Island, based upon total new cases per 100,000 persons in the past seven-day period. With the opening of the semester, RIC will adopt the CDC risk level to guide our COVID-19 responses. As of August 30, 2021, we are in the High (Red) risk level and will implement mitigations accordingly. As the semester advances and RIC-specific COVID-19 case data become more available, RIC will determine its own risk levels, with the guidance of RIDOH, comprised of the CDC’s information on Rhode Island as a whole and RIC’s case level extrapolated to 100,000 individuals over a seven-day period. This will include all students, faculty and staff. By supplementing the CDC’s state information with RIC-specific information, we will have the advantage of perhaps being able to reduce some mitigations if the campus community has much lower incidence than the rest of the state, and equally important, maintain or implement higher levels of mitigation if the campus rate exceeds the state rate. As an added precaution, at no time will the RIC designation be lower than the state’s by one level.

Throughout the semester, RIC will consult with the Department of Health on a regular basis to discuss COVID-19 incidence data and trends to assure that we are taking all appropriate measures to protect the health of the RIC community. If at any time there is a significant increase in COVID-19 incidence or severity within the RIC community, we shall seek their guidance as to whether or not it would be appropriate to operate as a predominantly remote campus for some period of time, as we had in Spring of 2021. Additionally, the administration will regularly monitor any operational disruptions caused by COVID-19 (e.g., due to illness, isolation and quarantine driven absences) to determine if specific campus operations need to be adjusted in order to continue operations safely. Based upon the level of disruption, responses could range from take-out only dining to moving to remote instruction. 

Throughout the pandemic, RIC has benefitted from the tremendous understanding and cooperation of the entire community and we expect this will continue until we are through this difficult chapter. However, as this lingers, frustration and fatigue are to be expected.  This may lead to persons occasionally not being fully mindful of the rules we have established to assure safety, be it masking, distancing, etc. If you do encounter a person or persons not in full compliance, we would ask that, if comfortable, you offer a polite reminder of the rules. However, if you are not comfortable doing so, or your reminders are not acted upon, we ask that you please do not take any enforcement actions into your own hands. Rather, during day-to-day operations, faculty and staff can contact Human Resources if there is an issue with a fellow employee. HR will make the appropriate follow-up. If there is an issue with a student, faculty, staff and students are to contact Student Health Services who will work in conjunction with Student Affairs to address any behaviors in need of correction. If you are at an organized event, please approach the nearest RIC staff at the event who can address the issue. Of course if you are met with belligerence or feel threatened at any time, please contact Campus Police.

The sections that follow represent RIC protocols for opening in the fall and, where appropriate, each risk level.

Guided by state and national public health officials, Rhode Island College has implemented protocols for this academic year in order to promote a health and safe campus environment. As a member of the RIC community, each of us is expected to abide by our fall plan on the college’s website.

In particular, we are expected to abide by the following ANCHOR STRONG standards:

Always support each other, particularly our students
Notify supervisor if you are unable to come to work
Complete daily screenings before coming to campus
Human resources question? humanresources@ric.edu
Opt-in to get RAVE text alert messages to get important campus updates
Remember to wear your mask while indoors and outdoors at larger planned events (do not congregate without a mask) and maintain 3’ or 6’ distance limit in each room or venue.

Stay connected: stayinformed@ric.edu and www.ric.edu for important updates
Talk to Health Services if you have a COVID-19 health related question: 456-8055 (option #$)
Request support from our Employee Assistance Program (EAP): Visit the EAP webpage.
Obtain a medical or religious exemption if you need one
Never come to campus to work or teach feeling ill or when you did not get a green check on our RAVE app
Get tested routinely and especially if you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or been exposed to someone who has

For COVID-19 health questions, please contact Health Services at 456-8055 (option #4)

Nurse's hands

Community Health

View information about vaccinations, masking, testing, guidelines for travel and health resources for students.

Students reading a book


The Academic Planning Committee sought to prioritize the health and safety of our community and the academic success and progression of our students in making these plans. In addition, this report includes recommendations designed to support faculty in implementing the best teaching practices for various risk levels and scenarios.


Student Life

This section will outline Student Life’s operations as they pertain to programs and student organizations.

RIC students in Ducey Media Center practicing social distancing

Residential Life and Housing

The Office of Residential Life and Housing is considered an essential department, regardless of the stage of the pandemic. Thus, housing will remain in operation in all four stages.

Donovan staff in the dining hall

Dining Services

Dining Services offers catered and vending-based services in multiple locations across campus. Changes have been implemented to support the timely pivoting between transmission levels in order to safely offer the maximum range of services.

Girl playing in gym


The Office of Intercollegiate Athletics continues to develop best practices for its student-athletes and facilities through ongoing dialogue and communication with Health Services, state entities (the Rhode Island Department of Health, the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, etc.), other Rhode Island intercollegiate departments, the National Collegiate Athletic Association and its conference leadership and member institutions.


Human Resources

The Human Resources Committee made specific mitigation recommendations for employees (masks, screening and distancing) that have been adopted by the entire RIC community.

A business classroom

Campus Space Use

The Space Planning group consisted of faculty and staff of diverse backgrounds, chaired by the vice president of Academic Affairs and the associate director for Facilities and Operations.

woman posing

APPENDIX A - Guidelines for RIC Events

Rhode Island College may host visitors and events that strictly follow CDC, RIDOH and RIC health and safety guidelines. All events and programs must be planned at a level of flexibility that may change at a moment’s notice to adhere to the most current health and safety conditions. Keeping the Rhode Island College Community safe is of paramount importance.

Image of Mohegan Bluffs on Block Island

APPENDIX B - Fall 2021 RIC Travel Policy & COVID-19

These supplemental travel policies shall be in effect while RIC is in Moderate, Substantial or High risk due to COVID-19.