PPE and Cleaning

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Three basic types of masks used to mitigate coronavirus transmission are a cloth face covering, a disposable face mask (also known as a surgical or clinical mask), and an N95 respirator. Below are guidelines for what Rhode Island School of Design is recommending and will provide to students, faculty and staff.

Cloth 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.

  • Designed to contain coughs and sneezes and prevent disease transmission to others
  • Must be worn at all times and should not substitute for physical distancing practices
  • Cloth face coverings are not intended to replace protective equipment for making practices
  • Should consist of substantial cloth, finely woven, preferably with multiple layers, to filter droplets
  • Masks should be worn properly
  • Cloth face coverings will be provided to every member of the community upon arrival in the fall (3 to students, 1 to faculty/staff). If you did not receive your face covering, you may pick one up at Public Safety.

Disposable face masks

RISD has a supply of disposable masks available for order by departments and offices to serve as a backup to cloth face coverings.

  • To be used in the event somebody’s face covering becomes unusable, or they have forgotten their personal cloth face covering for the day.
  • Resistant to fluids and will filter small particles
  • To be worn once and then discarded

N95 respirators

N95 masks are critical supplies reserved for healthcare workers, medical first responders, and individuals performing the limited high-risk tasks directly supporting the continuity of healthcare, public safety or essential medical research.

  • Requires professional fit-testing to be fully effective
  • RISD will not supply any N95 masks for students, faculty or staff with the exception of Public Safety and Student Health Services

Other masks and PPE

Masks with vents are insufficient for COVID transmission mitigation. RISD will require all community members using a vented mask (often used for dust filtration in shops) to 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 for source control in normal speaking transactions.

Safety Kits

All faculty, staff and students who are required to be on campus have received a Welcome Kit, which includes cloth face coverings (three for students, one for staff/faculty), hand sanitizer, and a thermometer. If you did not receive your face covering, you may pick one up at Public Safety.

Cleaning and Disinfecting

Cleaning Frequency

  • 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.
  • Users of classrooms, shops and instructional spaces will clean surfaces before/after each discrete use.
  • RISD will fog with disinfectant all buildings on a weekly rotating schedule.

Classrooms, Studios, Shops

  • Work orders are not required for COVID cleaning supplies for classrooms, studios, and shops.
  • Paper towels and spray bottles with disinfectant will be installed in all classrooms, studios, and shops before students start using those spaces at no charge to the department, and will be refilled/replaced on a daily basis.
  • Shops will be supplied with disposal buckets for towels used to clean tools and shared equipment. Custodial staff will attend to the buckets regularly.
  • If there’s an immediate unmet cleaning supply need during the semester, submit a work order (see below)

Office Spaces (i.e., faculty, department, division offices)

  • 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.

Residence Halls

Using/cleaning bathrooms:

  • Students in residence halls with communal bathrooms are assigned to a specific bathroom
  • Bathrooms with multiple stalls/sinks/toilets: students will be assigned a specific stall/sink/toilet to use. They are asked to limit their use to these specific fixtures.
  • Students should clean upon entry and exit ideally.

Using/cleaning common area kitchens:

  • Shared kitchen spaces in Hill Houses and the First Year Buildings may be used to wash dishes, store food in, and to use the microwave.  One student at a time, first come first served.
  • Students should clearly label any personal items stored in communal kitchens.
  • Dining tables and chairs will not be provided in kitchens.
  • Students should not congregate or host gatherings in the kitchen spaces.
  • Communities who continually disregard these policies may lose kitchen access.

Ordering Cleaning and PPE Supplies

Order supplies through a Facilities work order.

Departments should not place independent orders outside of this system.

  • Disposable face masks – Available in a box of 50
  • Gloves – Available in a box of 100. Please indicate size SM, M, L, XL. Latex-free available upon request.
  • Disinfecting wipes – Suitable for hands and surfaces. Limit to one package per order.
  • Disinfectant surface spray – 32oz bottle

Pick up orders at What-Cheer Garage.

An email notification will be sent in advance. Orders that are too large to pick up can be delivered upon request.

  • If you are currently on campus, or have students on campus and have an immediate need, please note it in your order.
  • For specialized PPE, or equipment that is not COVID-related, use existing ordering processes.

Order supplies

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.