Physical Distancing Protocol


Residential: The majority of students will live 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 will be held in person and other courses will take 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 and/or include increased personal protective equipment.

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. Ten buildings have had items moved to storage or marked for disposal to provide space for physical distancing.
  • Physical barriers have been installed for walk-up service desks, cashier’s stations and other points of service in addition to the use of technology, drop-off points and vending to lessen person-to-person contact.
  • Non-academic departments have been required to submit a plan for review to define how their space will be de-densified. 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.
  • Shared or common spaces have posted on the entrance the required capacity and any restrictions on use.
  • Egress and flow patterns have been adjusted to accommodate physical distancing requirements in addition to limitations on elevator capacity and staggered release of classes.
  • Approximately 370 toilet lids have been installed throughout campus in response to concerns about infectious plumes caused by toilet flushing. This work is ongoing.
  • Soap and sanitizer dispensers have been added in all buildings across campus.
  • Furniture in residence halls has been rearranged to accommodate single person occupancy with workspace in each room.
  • All crossing signals on and around the RISD campus are automated or “touchless”.

Outdoor Classroom Space

RISD will have several exterior spaces tented to provide additional physical-distanced classroom space. These areas are scheduled to be used only between the hours of 8 am–6 pm. Spaces include:
  • Parking area at 161 South Main Street
  • Parking area at 231 South Main Street
  • The parking lot besides Illustration building located at 55 Canal Walk
  • Market Square, 8 North Main Street
  • Farnum Park, 12 Congdon Street
  • The North Hall turn around located at 60 Waterman Street

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.

Building occupants are expected to follow signage on traffic flow through building entrances, exits, elevator usage and similar common use areas. Be sure to pay close attention to and follow these markings as we strive to ensure the continued health and safety of our community.