Latest updates

As we continue to monitor and respond to the challenges of COVID-19, we’re committed to keeping the entire RISD community up to date—students, faculty, staff and our neighbors alike. Stay informed by reviewing the latest updates to this site.
Governor Raimondo announced new restrictions for Rhode Island colleges and universities and we have confirmed with the Governor’s office what this means for RISD.
  • RISD can continue to keep academic shops and studios, and the associated instructional activities, functioning as currently through the end of the fall semester.
  • Residence halls will remain open as planned through the end of the fall semester.
  • The Executive Order has not yet been posted. As soon as it is, further details about the the impact of the State’s restrictions on RISD will be communicated.

NOVEMBER 19, 2020


New limit on social gatherings: RI Executive Order limits the size of indoor and outdoor gatherings to 10 people

NOVEMBER 10, 2020


Avoid travel for Thanksgiving: Students will need to quarantine if traveling out of state for Thanksgiving

NOVEMBER 10, 2020


The Met open for indoor dining: The Met is now offering a limited number of tables for indoor dining

NOVEMBER 3, 2020


Elections Monitoring Group: This new group has been formed to assess increased risks to public safety due to the election

NOVEMBER 3, 2020


New CDC definition: The CDC has updated their definition of a close contact

OCTOBER 27, 2020


New testing location: Surveillance testing has moved to 224 Benefit Street

OCTOBER 20, 2020


Outdoor classrooms: All tents will be removed November 9

OCTOBER 20, 2020


Positive case FAQ’s: New FAQ’s added about RISD’s response to positive cases

OCTOBER 13, 2020


Thanksgiving Break: Travel is discouraged over the shortened break

OCTOBER 13, 2020


Updated Student Health Services hours: Health Services is offering evening hours and weekend hours

OCTOBER 13, 2020


Positive case protocol: Learn about RISD’s positive case protocol if someone is found positive during surveillance testing

OCTOBER 6, 2020


Wintersession: Start making plans for Wintersession

OCTOBER 6, 2020


Surveillance testing: Approximately 1275 tests will be conducted each week

SEPTEMBER 22, 2020


Monitoring groups: Three new monitoring groups created to support the institution

SEPTEMBER 22, 2020


MyRISD app: New features added to the MyRISD app

SEPTEMBER 22, 2020


Surveillance testing: RISD will now test 50% of the on-campus population each week

SEPTEMBER 15, 2020


Outdoor eating areas: Various outdoor eating areas have been created on campus

SEPTEMBER 15, 2020


Testing updates: Baseline arrival testing has revealed three positive cases to date out of 2,689 tests

SEPTEMBER 15, 2020


Testing Dashboard: New testing dashboard now available to display daily testing data

SEPTEMBER 8, 2020


Student Arrival Quarantine: Quarantine will end for on campus students September 12-16

SEPTEMBER 8, 2020


QLess app now live: The QLess app will be used to schedule appointments at key service points

SEPTEMBER 8, 2020


Move-in underway: September 2 is the final day of move-in, with optional academic and co-curricular programming beginning September 3

SEPTEMBER 1, 2020


Testing updates: Baseline arrival testing has revealed zero positive cases to date out of 1,484 tests

SEPTEMBER 1, 2020


Academic buildings open September 17: Students can begin to access academic buildings on September 17

SEPTEMBER 1, 2020


Employee recognition: Take a moment to help recognize a colleague who has gone above and beyond during this crisis

SEPTEMBER 1, 2020


New Health Services Staff: Several staffing changes have been made to support Health Services during the COVID-19 pandemic

SEPTEMBER 1, 2020


Move-in weekend: Resident students begin move-in and baseline COVID-19 testing on Saturday, August 29, followed by two-week quarantine

AUGUST 25, 2020


Contingency planning: Response plans are in place in the event of high COVID-19 case counts on campus

AUGUST 25, 2020


Employee testing: Walk-up and drive-in testing now available to all RISD employees at 18 Congdon Street

AUGUST 25, 2020


Staff public health training: All staff must complete online public health training by Saturday, August 29

AUGUST 25, 2020


Academic resources reopening: Fleet Library, RISD Museum, Nature Lab and other spaces will reopen for students, faculty and staff

AUGUST 25, 2020


Arrival testing: Testing in progress through August 28 for on-campus staff, begins August 29 for resident students

AUGUST 18, 20200


Isolation/quarantine housing: The 3rd and 4th floors of 15 West will exclusively house quarantining and isolating students this fall

AUGUST 18, 2020


Self screening: All community members coming on campus must self-screen using the MyRISD assessment and reporting tool

AUGUST 18, 2020


Reduced campus access Several RISD facilities now open only to students, faculty and staff

AUGUST 18, 2020


Air filtration report: External assessment and recommendations for all campus buildings available for view

AUGUST 18, 2020


Facilities updates: Work continues to prepare campus buildings for the fall

AUGUST 18, 2020


Virtual public health training: Mandatory training now accessible for all students, faculty and staff

AUGUST 18, 2020


Arrival testing: Updated schedule for arrival testing for students, faculty and staff

AUGUST 11, 2020


Self screening: The daily self assessment tool is now available on MyRISD

AUGUST 11, 2020


Contact tracing: All RISD community members should participate in contact tracing

AUGUST 11, 2020


Employee support: New employee health coordinator will support employees with COVID-related issues

AUGUST 11, 2020


COVID-19 signage: Installation of signage in progress through mid-August

AUGUST 04, 2020


Virtual public health training: Mandatory training begins mid-August for all students, faculty and staff

AUGUST 04, 2020


New gathering restrictions: The State of Rhode Island has lowered the limit on in-person gatherings to 15 people maximum

AUGUST 04, 2020


Facilities updates: Work underway to prepare campus buildings for the fall

AUGUST 04, 2020


COVID-19 testing: Understand RISD’s testing protocols for all students, faculty and staff on campus this fall.

JULY 28, 2020


Masks: Everyone on campus is required to wear a face covering, which will be provided by RISD upon arrival.

JULY 28, 2020


De-densification: New exterior spaces and updated bathrooms will promote social distancing and bolster safety.

JULY 28, 2020


Quarantine update: RI regulations now require quarantine or proof of negative test for travelers arriving from high-risk areas in US.

JULY 17, 2020


Remote instruction requests: Students who can’t return to campus this fall may submit a formal request for remote instruction.

JULY 17, 2020


Canvas LMS training: Training sessions for faculty will begin this summer.

JULY 17, 2020


New student housing: RISD will offer students housing options at The Edge College Hill this year.

JULY 16, 2020


Course lookup tool: Preview which courses in the Fall will be in-person, online-only or hybrid.

JULY 10, 2020

July 10, 2020: COVID Update

Dear Members of the RISD Community,

This week I was pleased to read about Rhode Island’s progress in battling the prevalence and impact of COVID-19 under the leadership of Governor Raimondo. As noted in the article, “Rhode Island is leading the nation in testing, with nearly a quarter of its population tested so far, and its rate of positive tests has dropped from over 18 percent to under 2 percent.” As we continue to see surges in southern and western parts of the country and new information about the role of airborne droplets in transmission of COVID-19, I am encouraged by the data that shows Rhode Island’s drop in cases and deaths.

New Information Regarding Airborne Transmission

Please know that we continue to consult our team of experts daily and have particularly inquired about any new health and safety protocol that we should follow given this new information about airborne transmission. Their guidance continues to place heavy emphasis on mask wearing and physical distancing, as well as close inspection of our ventilation systems. RISD will not only be giving all faculty, staff and students who will be on campus free cloth masks, but we have also hired external consultants, consisting of an industrial hygienist and HVAC engineer, to review all heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems on campus and provide recommendations to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. As ever, we will continue to monitor and be guided by the evolving scientific facts and will keep the community informed of new developments.

Changes to Student and Exchange Visitor Program

I know many of you have also reached out this week in support of our international students in light of the recent ICE changes to the student and exchange visitor program requiring students who will be taking all of their courses online to leave the country. In my email yesterday to the Student Alliance and student body I outlined the ways that we are working to protect our international population, but I want to reiterate that information here as well.

Since the announcement on Monday, we have actively worked to both advocate for and communicate with RISD’s international community. As you know our courses will utilize varied teaching modalities, with the majority of courses being offered in the hybrid model. We are consulting with immigration attorneys, NAFSA (Association of International Educators) and colleagues from other institutions. OISS has been working directly with new and continuing students, as well as faculty and staff, to determine the most appropriate actions in coordination with SEVP guidelines and in conjunction with the Admissions Department. Shortly, OISS will provide more detailed information on what the next steps are for each of the different scenarios – working closely with the institution and the departments and with each individual student – and we believe RISD will be able to navigate this new policy successfully on behalf of our students even if it remains in place.

We expect that over the coming days and weeks we will continue our efforts to address ICE’s poorly defined and unfair position. As part of that effort, we are working with Rhode Island institutions, uniting together to create common language about how we publicly oppose this new direction from ICE; have have sought assistance from our Rhode Island federal representatives; and have joined efforts by the American Council on Education (ACE) to seek revisions by ICE or Congressional intervention immediately. In addition, RISD, along with a number of other colleges and universities, has signed on to an “amicus brief” supporting the lawsuit that Harvard and MIT filed to block implementation of this new policy. (We are also part of the AICAD group’s (Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design) organizational sign-on to the amicus brief as a collective.) A hearing on the request for injunctive relief in that lawsuit is scheduled for July 15th, and we will inform you as we know the outcomes. Even though we believe that RISD can successfully navigate these obstacles without consequence to our students even without an injunction, we believe, as a matter of principle, that we must stand up in support of international student communities.

As we live through a time marked by so many challenges, it is often hard to bear the resulting anxiety and weight of so much change and uncertainty. Please know that we are here to offer support, and I remind you that we have added additional paths that are outlined below.

Sincerely,
Rosanne Somerson

RISD Campus Preparations

Recordings of Community Town Hall Meetings

Campus Update: Faculty

October 21, 5 pm


All-staff Meeting*

September 16, 1 pm


Move-in & Quarantine Webinar

August 20, 7 pm


Faculty and Staff Q&A Session*

July 23, 4 pm


Incoming Undergraduate and Transfer Students

June 20, 11 am


Current Undergraduate and Graduate Students

June 18, 8 pm


Incoming Graduate Student Town Hall

June 18, 6 pm


Faculty Meeting*

June 17, 4:30 pm


All-staff Meeting*

June 17, 1:30 pm


All-staff Meeting*

May 6, 12 pm


All-staff Meeting*

April 15, 12 pm


Community Town Hall

March 20, 1 pm


Community Town Hall

March 4, 11 am


Community Town Hall

March 4, 6:30 pm



*To access, please use your RISD email credentials.

Ask the CDC

Learn about the coronavirus response and resources offered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).