Screening, Testing and Care


Screening is a strategy used to help identify those who have symptoms of COVID-19 and may need further evaluation or testing. Students and employees working on campus will be expected to self-screen at home prior to coming to campus by checking a predetermined list of symptoms provided by the college through a mobile app. If a student or employee is feeling symptomatic, they will be directed to consult with Student Health Services (students) or their healthcare provider (employees). If a student develops symptoms during the day while on campus, they will be required to contact Student Health Services who will complete a medical evaluation and determine whether to perform a COVID-19 test. If an employee develops symptoms during the day, they will immediately be separated from other employees and students, sent home and asked to contact their primary care provider.

To protect privacy, RISD will not monitor screening answers, or any other personal medical information, but only use global analytics to understand frequency of use across the community and to aid education efforts.


Testing for COVID-19 is a critical means of quickly identifying and treating cases and facilitating immediate isolation to prevent spread. Our testing approach is in line with the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Rhode Island Department of Health, Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy and American College Health Association. We will update our policy if any new medical guidance from the RI Department of Health or other professional agencies emerges.


Student Health Services has established a new and fully-staffed campus respiratory clinic, working in conjunction with East Side Labs in Providence, in Thompson House for evaluation and testing of COVID-19 for students.

COVID-19 testing needs for students will fall into three categories:

  • Students with respiratory symptoms needing evaluation and testing
  • Students “screening positive” on daily screening and in need of testing
  • Students who are asymptomatic and require testing because of potential close contact with a confirmed case


Employees who have symptoms of COVID-19 or have been exposed to the virus should contact their primary care provider and get tested at a RI State testing site closest to them.

Health Insurance

Diagnostic testing for COVID-19 will be covered by the RISD student health insurance policy and the RISD employee health insurance policy at approved locations. Hospitalization and treatment for COVID-19 is covered like any standard medical treatment.

RISD will make options available to its on-campus faculty and staff for obtaining COVID-19 testing, where those employees do not have health insurance available to cover the cost of testing.

Contact Tracing

Contact tracing is the identification of contacts of a confirmed positive individual for the purpose of further testing and quarantine and is an important part of the process to stop chains of transmission. While it can be aided by digital tools, it requires nuanced understanding achieved only with research done by health professionals.

  • In the event of a known positive test result reported to RISD, RISD will notify the Rhode Island Department of Health and notify those RISD community members who were identified as having had close contact or shared common space with the infected person. Notification of contacts will not disclose the infected individual’s identity without their consent.
  • The school will work alongside the Rhode Island Department of Health contact tracing effort.
  • To the extent that RISD will need to assist the Rhode Island Department of Health and other state departments in identifying contacts of test-positive cases, two contact tracing coordinators will be hired to help coordinate information related to students and employees.
  • All community members will be expected to adopt the contact tracing technology, Crush COVID RI, offered by the State of Rhode Island and/or keep a journal that records daily activity, in order to help in tracing, if needed.

Quarantine, Isolation and Care

Isolation and quarantine help protect the public by preventing exposure to people who have or may have a contagious disease. According to the CDC, isolation separates sick people with a contagious disease from people who are not sick; quarantine separates and restricts the movement of people who were exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick.


There will be a 14-day self-quarantine requirement for all students living in RISD housing upon arrival for the fall semester. In addition, students who travel outside of the United States during the semester will be required to quarantine for 14 days following their return to campus. This includes travel during any semester break (i.e. Thanksgiving or Winter); we recommend that travel during the school year be limited to only that which is necessary.

We will be providing specially-designated housing to those students who must isolate or quarantine, according to public health guidelines. For those students who test positive and require isolation, there will be one residential area designated for this purpose. Students who need to quarantine will be able to stay in place in single rooms. See information about quarantine and isolation housing.

Student Health Services will conduct daily phone check-ins with students in isolation to ensure that students are getting what they need and following self-care guidelines and every 2-3 days with students in quarantine. Counseling and Psychological Services will also conduct check-ins. Students will be permitted to return to their on-campus housing after they have met Rhode Island Department of Health guidelines for ending isolation or quarantine.

Drop-off meals for students in isolation/quarantine will be prepared for lunch and dinner, with a continental breakfast provided with the dinner delivery. Our Dining staff will work with students on any dietary requirements. Academic continuity and co-curricular engagement will be devised for any students in quarantine or isolation.


Staff and faculty who travel outside of the United States must also quarantine for 14 days following their reentry to the US and before returning to campus. Those traveling domestically, but not in residence in RI—including both commuting faculty and staff, as well as off-campus students—will follow the guidance of current RI executive orders and Rhode Island Department of Health mandates and observe all health and safety guidelines.

Employees who test positive for COVID-19 but do not need to be admitted to the hospital for treatment will receive care through their primary care physician and will be required to isolate at home and contact their primary health care provider.

Employees who are experiencing symptoms related to COVID-19, as identified by the CDC Guidelines, should not report to work on campus. Employees who have contracted COVID-19 should not report to work on campus until they have been approved to return to campus following a 14-day quarantine period, or other period required by law. Employees should report their confirmed or presumptive cases of COVID-19 to RISD Human Resources.

RISD does not provide medical advice or diagnosis, and employees who are experiencing symptoms should consult with their health provider.

RISD has expanded leave benefits to include COVID-19-related illness for the benefit of employees during this period.

RISD will make options available to its on-campus faculty and staff for obtaining COVID-19 testing, where those employees do not have health insurance available to cover the cost of testing.

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