Travel and Commuting


Off-campus travel during semester

  • Students: Due to RISD, Rhode Island and other quarantine policies, out-of-state travel, including during Thanksgiving and spring break, is strongly discouraged. Students who do travel out of state over Thanksgiving will need to quarantine for 14 days, making them unable to attend in-person classes, work in studios, or have access shared workspace. Students cannot test out of quarantine.
  • Employees: Rhode Island travel guidelines require that anyone coming to RISD from US areas with a COVID-19 positivity rate higher than 5% either self-quarantine for 14 days or provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test.

RISD-sponsored travel

In light of pandemic-related health risks and uncertainty around US border policy and international travel, RISD will extend the suspension of all RISD-sponsored international travel for the foreseeable future. RISD-sponsored domestic travel, such as for conferences or outside-research is strongly discouraged.

Non-essential personal travel

Students, faculty, and staff are likewise strongly discouraged from personal travel, especially international travel.

Course-based travel

Field trips and other course-related, out-of-state and international travel, including for independent and collaborative study projects (ISPs or CSPs), are suspended for the fall 2020.

European Honors Program (EHP)

EHP is cancelled for fall 2020. We will assess shortly whether to resume the program for spring 2021.

Global Exchange Programs

RISD has cancelled all Global Exchange and Mobility programs for fall 2020, including both RISD students applying to other institutions, and vice versa.


General guidance

Given that even local travel may bring commuters into increased contact with more people, commuting to and from work can potentially increase the possibility of COVID-19 transmission. To reduce risk as much as possible, commuters expected to:

  • Stay home if you have COVID-19 symptoms or have been in close contact with a person with COVID-19 within the past 14 days.
  • Follow RIDOH guidance if you commute from out of state.
  • Receive a baseline COVID-19 test between August 24-September 16 and participate in RISD’s surveillance testing program.

Solo travel

Forms of transportation that minimize close contact with others (e.g., biking, walking, driving by car alone, or riding by car with household members) reduce virus risk the most.

If traveling by bike:

  • Disinfect helmet before and after trips. 
  • Wipe down bicycle before and after usage – especially if using a bike rack or riding a bikeshare bike or scooter.

If traveling by car:

  • Be sure to set the air ventilation or air conditioning on non-recirculation mode.
  • NOTE: There will be no cost for RISD parking permits through December 31, 2020. Given space reconfiguration on campus, usual parking spots may be devoted to other uses.

Public Transportation (Bus, Train, Ride-Share)

Commuters who rely on public transportation should familiarize themselves with the protocols of the transportation services they use. If commuting by bus and train, follow agency and public health guidelines and travel during off-peak hours if possible.

If you commute via taxi or ride-share service, limit the number of passengers as much as possible. Note that the RISDRides shuttle service will operate according to Rhode Island COVID-19 guidelines for passenger cars and vans, which may include reduced capacity per car.

More Information

Please see the CDC guidelines on using transportation.