July 7, 2020: COVID Update

Dear Members of the RISD Community,

As planning for RISD’s reopening in the fall in a de-densified manner, I want to reassure the community that we are closely monitoring changes in scientific understanding of how the virus is spread and consulting daily with the team of experts that are guiding us. RISD also continues to participate in numerous external groups at the state and federal level to learn what new information is available and to advocate for RISD. At the moment, CDC and Rhode Island Department of Health guidelines around prevention continue to call for protocols that involve social distancing and wearing a mask, which will be mandated as part of our re-opening.  We will continuously re-evaluate our processes and policies as new information is validated, and make recommended adjustments.  While we believe that the measures we are taking will keep our campus safe in accordance with current health and science recommendations, we are engaged in contingency planning to prepare for various scenarios.

There are encouraging signs in recent weeks as the rate of new cases of COVID-19 continues to decline in Rhode Island and the state has begun to move from Phase II to Phase III of economic and lifestyle reopening. Still, COVID-19’s impact and future course remains unknown and many of you have expressed a combination of hope and worry about our future plans, especially as the virus escalates in other parts of the country. Our current quarantine and testing protocols take these factors into account and are intended to mitigate outbreaks or spread. In addition, RISD continues to be guided by three goals: public health and safety, academic integrity and financial viability. We will make future decisions in alignment with these goals and be informed by the latest data and science.

Sincerely,

Rosanne Somerson

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