Physical Distancing Protocol for RISD Spaces


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.

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

In almost all studios, shops, and home spaces, 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 is 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.

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.

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