Fall 2021 Protocol
At a Glance
Frequently Asked Questions
For latest updates about Fall 2021 Protocol, view recent Recordings of RISD Community Town Hall Meetings.
RISD’s population is highly vaccinated, with a community vaccination rate of over 85 percent. Vaccination is required for all students (medical and religious exemptions notwithstanding); and all employees are required to disclose their vaccination status. Vaccines are the single most effective tool in limiting the transmission of COVID-19 and mitigating serious illness, and RISD strongly encourages all employees to get inoculated.
RISD will continue to require face coverings indoors and will conduct asymptomatic community surveillance testing to monitor for any breakthrough variants or clustered outbreaks. Those community members who are not vaccinated will be required to participate in increased testing protocol to monitor their health safety.
Students and employees are encouraged to continue monitoring their own health — both in relation to COVID-19 and other contagious illnesses — to help keep our communities healthy. If a student or employee is feeling symptomatic, they will be directed to consult with Student Health Services (students) or notify their supervisor and consult their healthcare provider (employees).
RISD maintains a thorough cleaning protocol for campus facilities. Bathrooms are sanitized daily, and high-touch areas are cleaned frequently. Additionally, hand sanitizer stations will remain available throughout campus facilities to encourage frequent handwashing and air filtration will continue to be prioritized.
No. RISD will remove the physical distancing requirement for employees and students. As such, RISD will remove capacity limits in residential halls, classrooms or shared spaces on campus, including bathrooms, kitchens, offices, and conference rooms. In addition, faculty and staff will be permitted to return to in-person, on-campus work with increased ability to work in a hybrid or remote manner depending on the requirements of the position.
No. RISD will not require a “quiet period” (10 day entry quarantine) before the start of the fall term. However, all faculty, students and staff will be required to test upon arrival.
Yes. Following CDC guidance for face coverings in areas of high transmission, face coverings will be required inside of RISD buildings. RISD will continue to monitor transmission levels and public health guidance and may lift the face covering mandate as conditions improve.
Students may remove face coverings when in their residence hall rooms, even in the presence of their roommates. Employees may remove face coverings when working alone in their offices.
There are no restrictions on the use of bathrooms. Individuals should wear face coverings when in shared bathrooms. In addition, toilet lids installed during AY 2020–21 will remain in place and community members are encouraged to close the toilet lid before flushing. Bathrooms are sanitized daily, and high-touch areas are cleaned frequently. Additionally, hand sanitizer stations will remain available throughout campus facilities to encourage frequent handwashing.
Shared items will be made available for community use as transmission and infection from surfaces and food is rare. However, following CDC guidance, transmission prevention strategies such as frequent handwashing and respiratory etiquette should be observed by all RISD community members.
There are no capacity limits or restrictions on food or beverage at RISD gatherings and events, however RISD will not host indoor events (full or in part) open to the public and asks that only two external participants be present for each event, meeting, crit, or gathering. Outdoor events can be open to the public and non-vaccinated attendees asked to wear a mask if three feet of social distancing can not be maintained.
Event hosts or planners cannot ask for proof of vaccination, but they can ask specific COVID-19 screening questions as a requirement for admittance to events. Participants and attendees are required to wear face coverings at all indoor events or gatherings.
RISD will continue to prioritize high levels of air filtration and will maintain an increased frequency of regular maintenance, continue to set exterior air setting to the maximum permitted by the system design, adopt MERV 13 HVAC filters as the RISD standard in all fixed mechanical systems, and continue making stand-alone HEPA ventilation units available until ASHRAE or CDC guidelines recommend otherwise.
RISD will monitor the infection levels in Rhode Island and the surrounding area. As part of this oversight we will pay attention to hospitalization levels, what is happening on neighboring campuses and the availability of resources.
In case of an outbreak on campus (10+ cases in one week) RISD may need to tighten restrictions on a temporary basis to assess an imminent threat to public health, which may include:
- Increasing surveillance testing
- Limiting gatherings and student activities
- Moving to remote learning for a specific length of time
In case of a significant degradation of the public health context on campus, RISD might be compelled to pivot temporarily to the “Vaccine Failure” scenario, outlined in the AY 2021–22 Planning Report.