Campus Safety Protocol

Despite current CDC guidance, RISD will maintain all current health and safety protocol, including testing, mask wearing and physical distancing for both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals until the end of the spring semester.


Residential: The majority of students are living in single-occupancy rooms. RISD has expanded its housing, gaining 200 additional beds by renting the Edge College Hill apartments.

Academics: Core studio and shop-based courses are being held in person and other courses are taking place online or in a hybrid online-plus-embodied version.

Employees: Wherever possible, employees will continue to work from home to keep the density of our campus as low as possible.

Physical Distancing

The CDC recommends that individuals stay at least six feet (about two arms’ length) from other people, do not gather in groups, stay out of crowded places and avoid mass gatherings.

Interactions that cannot be conducted while maintaining six-feet of distance should be limited to less than 15 minutes at a time in a 24 hour time period and/or include increased personal protective equipment.

Face Coverings

RISD will follow the recommendations of the CDC and the Rhode Island Department of Health, which currently prescribe multi-layered cloth face coverings over the mouth and nose.

  • Must be worn at all times and should not substitute for physical distancing practices.
  • Are not intended to replace protective equipment for making practices.
  • Vented masks are insufficient for COVID transmission mitigation. Community members using a vented mask (often used for dust filtration in shops) must also wear a cloth face covering over this mask type.
  • Face shields are generally reserved for medical settings where exposure to “splash” of bodily fluids is a concern. They should not replace cloth masks in normal speaking transactions.
  • Disposable masks are available at Public Safety or for order by departments and offices to serve as a backup to cloth face coverings.

Cleaning and Disinfecting

  • Increased custodial staff will be responsible for regularly disinfecting key areas across campus every four hours during normal hours of operation; residence halls twice a day, more for areas that house students in quarantine; and high-touch surface areas, multiple times daily.
  • All academic buildings will be closed from 12–7 a.m. each night for cleaning.
  • RISD will fog with disinfectant all buildings on a weekly rotating schedule.
  • Shared spaces are immediately disinfected after it has been confirmed that a COVID-positive community member has been there for more than 15 minutes.

Ordering Supplies

  • Work orders are NOT required for COVID cleaning supplies for classrooms, studios, and shops. Shops will be supplied with disposal buckets for towels used to clean tools and shared equipment. Custodial staff will attend to the buckets regularly.
  • Orders ARE required for COVID cleaning supplies for use in offices. Departments should centralize and coordinate ordering system to ensure local office space needs are met.
  • You will be notified by email that your order is ready to be picked up at What Cheer Garage. Large orders will be delivered.

Order supplies

Facilities and Physical Spaces

More than 200 shops, studios and classrooms have been reconfigured to provide for six-feet of physical-distancing separation space, including tape and other physical markers. Furniture in residence halls has been rearranged to accommodate single person occupancy with workspace in each room. Egress and flow patterns have been adjusted to accommodate physical distancing requirements in addition to limitations on elevator capacity and staggered release of classes. In addition:

  • Ten buildings have had items moved to temporary storage to provide space for physical distancing, filling 18 storage tractor-trailers with materials. 
  • Approximately 150,000 linear feet of floor tape marks physical distancing guides.
  • Approximately 370 toilet lids have been installed throughout campus in response to concerns about infectious plumes caused by toilet flushing. This work is ongoing.
  • More than 700 soap and sanitizer dispensers have been added in all buildings across campus.
  • All crossing signals on and around the RISD campus are automated or “touchless.”

Shop and Studio Zones

  • Zones have been taped or painted to indicate where a student should be when working in that room or with that piece of equipment.
  • In most cases, zones that are of the same color (i.e., all green or all orange) can be used with a person in each zone, as they are 6′ apart.
  • Adjacent zones of different colors (green/orange) cannot be used at the same time as they are closer than 6′.
  • In a few cases, in particular in some shops, there are adjacent zones of the same color that are not 6′ apart. These pieces of equipment are used for less than 15 minutes at a time.
Please remember the rule that if you are going to be in a zone for more than 15 minutes you need to be 6′ apart from the next person, regardless of the color of the zone. Also, if you are in a room, you should be in a zone, not in the open area between zones, except to pass by.

Shared and Common Spaces

Shared or common spaces have posted on the entrance the required capacity and any restrictions on use. Employees will hold meetings using existing videoconferencing technology wherever possible, and use physical meeting spaces that allow for physical distancing where videoconferencing is not possible.

HVAC and Air Filtration

In consultation with health experts, an industrial hygienist and mechanical engineering consultants, RISD is continually taking action to upgrade  filtration, fresh air intake and exhaust in campus buildings. These measures include:

  • maximizing the outdoor air intake settings on all mechanical systems as well as utilizing guidelines created by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE)
  • enabling all mechanical systems to operate 24/7
  • upgrading all HVAC filters from MERV 8 to MERV 13 where possible
  • inspecting, repairing and lubricating all operable windows on campus including in residence halls
  • inspecting and repairing all bathrooms for mechanical exhaust fans and installing fans in those bathrooms currently without mechanical exhausts

For building-specific information, including recommendations for further improvements, please see the external assessment by Gifford Consulting, the design and consulting firm that aided in assessing RISD’s HVAC preparedness.

Signage and Visual Cues

Every building on the RISD campus has been outfitted with site-specific wayfinding, educational, and COVID-specific visual information to reinforce public health protocols and direct circulation in shared spaces. Be sure to pay close attention to and follow these markings as we strive to ensure the continued health and safety of our community.

Download the RISD Safe Together – Sign Template

RISD Safe Together - Sign Template

  • Pick a template (landscape or portrait) based on where you intend to place the sign
  • Make a copy in Google Slides by going to File > Make a copy > Entire presentation
  • Enter the text for your sign. Try to keep it clear and succinct.
  • Print on any b/w printer on 8.5” x 11” paper


Sign Template: Landscape Version

Sign Template: Portrait Version