Wintersession 2022 Protocol

At a Glance

Update 1/4/22

RISD will pivot to a remote start of classes from January 6–13, with classes resuming in-person on Friday, January 14. We anticipate that this extended arrival window will provide for a safe and manageable re-entry to campus for our students. 

Students who have not already arrived on campus should consider delaying their arrival—if able—until in-person courses resume. Students whose travel arrangements do not allow for flexibility are still welcome to arrive as scheduled and test within 72 hours of arrival.

  • Academics

    Wintersession courses will take place in the modality as posted and shops and studios are open during WS. If students have questions about the modality they should reach out to their departments or faculty.

    To support academic flexibility, faculty have been asked to extend extra flexibility and consideration for students who may have travel disruptions or need to isolate during Wintersession. In addition, RISD is instituting a college-wide change in Wintersession grading from the usual letter grade system to a Pass/No credit system and will not administer course evaluations for WS to recognize the unpredictable conditions under which faculty are teaching.

  • Dedensified Campus

    Pivot to Remote Work
    Staff who are able work remotely should plan to do so effective January 4, 2022. Please consult with your manager or supervisor about remote work arrangements. Questions should be directed to RISD Human Resources at humres@risd.edu.

    RISD Dining Changes
    RISD will pivot to limited seating in dining halls effective January 4 and to grab-and-go as soon as the dining team is able. 

    Extended Hours for Shared Spaces
    RISD will extend hours in studios and shared spaces to encourage dedensification, especially at peak times.

    Public Spaces
    RISD Museum, Fleet Library and RISD stores will continue to follow fall protocol, allowing access for external visitors while enforcing RISD's face covering requirement.

    Winter Break Building Access
    Studios are open over winter break daily from 7:00am–2:00am.
    - December 15: Residence Halls close at noon. Dining last day of service (through lunch).
    - December 13–15 and 21–23: Grocery boxes, noodle machines and vending machines available.
    - December 24: Campus Closed (including offices and library).
    - January 2: Dining staff returns.
    - January 3: Residence Halls, Dining and shops reopen.
    - January 4: Offices and Library reopen.

    *Subject to change.

  • Increased Testing

    Required pre-arrival
    All students must participate in pre-travel testing (PCR or Rapid Test) within 72 hours of traveling back to campus. RISD will not collect this information, but if positive, students must isolate themselves at home and send an email to covidupdates@risd.edu to alert us so we can help contact your faculty to coordinate a remote start.

    Required arrival
    All on-campus students, faculty and staff must complete arrival testing within 72 hours of arriving on campus. 

    Testing after arrival (surveillance)
    RISD will conduct 1,500 surveillance tests per week during Wintersession. On-campus students, faculty and staff will be placed into weekly or biweekly testing schedules and are required to participate. Unvaccinated/undisclosed students and employees will continue to be tested weekly and will be subject to corrective action for non-compliance.

    Diagnostic testing
    Diagnostic testing for COVID-19 will continue to be provided to students who have symptoms suggestive of COVID-19 in Health Services. Employees must seek diagnostic testing at state testing centers or through their primary care physician.

  • Increased Isolation Planning

    Protocols
    In line with recent guidance from the CDC and RIDOH, the following isolation protocols are in place for RISD students and employees:

    • Any symptomatic individual (vaccinated, boostered or unvaccinated) who tests positive for COVID-19 must isolate until fever free for 24 hours without medication, symptoms have improved and it has been at least FIVE days from when symptoms first began. After completing isolation, those individuals should wear a mask around others for FIVE more days.
    • Any asymptomatic individual who tests positive but, have not had, and do not have symptoms must isolate for FIVE days from the date of their positive test, and must wear a mask around others for FIVE additional days thereafter.

    Housing
    Based on data and guidance by RIDOH, the CDC and Keeling & Associates, RISD is preparing for an unusually high caseload of 25 or more positive students within a week, five times our peak weekly caseload this fall. 

    • RISD currently has 21 rooms designated for isolation on campus and 50 rooms at a nearby hotel for a total to 71 isolation rooms. RISD will give priority to on-campus students for isolation housing.
    • Employees are required to isolate at home and may request Paid Special Leave for up to 10 business days to care for themselves, and then use regular sick time.
    • RISD is urging flexibility—in the workplace and in coursework—in the weeks ahead to help faculty, staff and students to manage issues related to COVID. 

  • Vaccination and Boosters

    RISD now includes booster vaccination in requirements for community vaccination and disclosure.

    Student Vaccination
    RISD requires all students to receive the COVID-19 vaccination to be enrolled for the wintersession and spring 2022 semesters. All students are required to receive a COVID-19 booster shot no later than February 1, 2022 (approximately two weeks before the start of spring semester) or within fourteen (14) days of becoming eligible to receive the booster shot.

    Anyone who has already received an approved exemption from a COVID-19 vaccination will continue to be exempt from this requirement. Students seeking an exemption from the vaccine or booster, must fill out a request form on the student patient portal.

    Student Patient Portal

    Employee Disclosure
    RISD does not require employee vaccination, but does require disclosure of whether employees have received the vaccine. All employees are required to disclose whether they have received a COVID-19 booster shot no later than February 1, 2022 (approximately two weeks before the start of spring semester) or within thirty (30) days of becoming eligible to receive the booster shot. All undisclosed/unvaccinated employees are required to test weekly to maintain campus access.

    Employee Upload

  • Gatherings and Visitors

    - For Wintersession, indoor events and gatherings at RISD are prohibited.
    - External visitors to RISD administrative and academic buildings must be escorted by their host and wear face coverings at all times.
    - No external visitors are allowed in residence halls during Wintersession.

  • Travel

    - RISD-sponsored domestic travel is discouraged.
    - RISD-sponsored international travel is only permitted if it has been approved by the CFO or Provost in advance.

  • Face Coverings

    RISD will continue to require that face coverings be worn indoors, except while eating, but they can be removed in outdoor settings. Non-vaccinated individuals should continue to wear face coverings outdoors if they cannot practice physical distancing.

    NEW! Mask Policy Updated 1/19/22
    Starting Monday, January 24, 2022, RISD policy will accept only the following four medical grade face coverings:
    - Disposable masks (surgical or medical procedure masks)
    - KN95 masks
    - KF94 mask
    - N95 masks

    Allowances
    - Students may remove face coverings when in their residence hall rooms, even in the presence of their roommates.
    - Employees may remove face coverings when working alone in their offices.

    RISD’s face covering protocols follow the current CDC guidelines for a High Transmission area. Due to Omicron variant concerns, RISD will continue to require speakers and lecturers to wear face coverings. If the local transmission rates—or CDC guidelines—change before the start of Spring, RISD will review its face covering requirements.

Frequently Asked Questions

For latest updates about Wintesession and Spring 2022 Protocol, view recent Recordings of RISD Community Town Hall Meetings.

RISD’s population is highly vaccinated, with a community vaccination rate of over 85 percent. Vaccination is required for all students (medical and religious exemptions notwithstanding); and all employees are required to disclose their vaccination status. Vaccines are the single most effective tool in limiting the transmission of COVID-19 and mitigating serious illness, and RISD strongly encourages all employees to get inoculated.

RISD will continue to require face coverings indoors and will conduct asymptomatic community surveillance testing to monitor for any breakthrough variants or clustered outbreaks. Those community members who are not vaccinated will be required to participate in weekly testing protocol to monitor their health safety. In Wintersession and spring, surveillance testing will continue at up to 20 percent of the student population every week, but will be optional for vaccinated employees.

Students and employees are encouraged to continue monitoring their own health — both in relation to COVID-19 and other contagious illnesses — to help keep our communities healthy. If a student or employee is feeling symptomatic, they will be directed to consult with Student Health Services (students) or notify their supervisor and consult their healthcare provider (employees).

RISD maintains a thorough cleaning protocol for campus facilities. Bathrooms are sanitized daily, and high-touch areas are cleaned frequently. Additionally, hand sanitizer stations will remain available throughout campus facilities to encourage frequent handwashing and air filtration will continue to be prioritized.

The CDC recommends using KN95, KN94 and N95 masks for approximately one week, or no more than five times/days in general. Surgical/medical procedure masks should only be used once. Do not wash and reuse medical-grade masks. Medical-grade masks should be replaced if they get wet or dirty. 

Correct and consistent mask use is a critical step everyone can take to reduce their risk of getting and spreading COVID-19. In order to be effective, masks must always be worn over the nose and mouth. To get a good fit, make sure to bend the nose wire over your nose to conform to your face.

While medical grade masks are now widely available, please be aware that many brands do not meet CDC or FDA approval. An excellent resource for information about types and sources of masks is the Project N95 nonprofit organization.

Yes. Following CDC guidance for face coverings in areas of high transmission, face coverings will be required inside of RISD buildings. RISD will continue to monitor transmission levels and public health guidance and may lift the face covering mandate as conditions improve.

Students may remove face coverings when in their residence hall rooms, even in the presence of their roommates. Employees may remove face coverings when working alone in their offices. 

Starting in Spring 2022, a vaccinated faculty member or guest speaker may remove their face covering during classes, studios or events when able to keep six feet of social distance from students or audience members. If the faculty member or guest speaker is unable to keep this distance, they must continue to wear a mask.

No. RISD will remove the physical distancing requirement for employees and students. As such, RISD will remove capacity limits in residential halls, classrooms or shared spaces on campus, including bathrooms, kitchens, offices, and conference rooms. In addition, faculty and staff will be permitted to return to in-person, on-campus work with increased ability to work in a hybrid or remote manner depending on the requirements of the position.

No. RISD will not require a “quiet period” (10 day entry quarantine) before the start of the fall term. However, all students will be required to test upon arrival.

There are no restrictions on the use of bathrooms. Individuals should wear face coverings when in shared bathrooms. In addition, toilet lids installed during AY 2020–21 will remain in place and community members are encouraged to close the toilet lid before flushing. Bathrooms are sanitized daily, and high-touch areas are cleaned frequently. Additionally, hand sanitizer stations will remain available throughout campus facilities to encourage frequent handwashing.

Shared items will be made available for community use as transmission and infection from surfaces and food is rare. However, following CDC guidance, transmission prevention strategies such as frequent handwashing and respiratory etiquette should be observed by all RISD community members.

  • For Wintersession, indoor events and gatherings at RISD are prohibited.
  • External visitors to RISD administrative and academic buildings must be escorted by their host and wear face coverings at all times.
  • No external visitors are allowed in residence halls during Wintersession.

RISD will continue to prioritize high levels of air filtration and will maintain an increased frequency of regular maintenance, continue to set exterior air setting to the maximum permitted by the system design, adopt MERV 13 HVAC filters as the RISD standard in all fixed mechanical systems, and continue making stand-alone HEPA ventilation units available until ASHRAE or CDC guidelines recommend otherwise. 

All community members are expected to uphold RISD’s public health protocol in the interest of community safety and well-being. Both the Student Code of Conduct and RISD employee policies outline expectations for compliance with public health guidelines. Those who deliberately violate policies face corrective action.

RISD will monitor the infection levels in Rhode Island and the surrounding area. As part of this oversight we will pay attention to hospitalization levels, what is happening on neighboring campuses and the availability of resources.

In case of an outbreak on campus RISD may need to tighten restrictions on a temporary basis to assess an imminent threat to public health, which may include:

  • Increasing surveillance testing
  • Limiting gatherings and student activities
  • Moving to remote learning for a specific length of time 

In case of a significant degradation of the public health context on campus, RISD might be compelled to pivot temporarily to the “Vaccine Failure” scenario, outlined in the AY 2021–22 Planning Report.

If you seek a modification to RISD’s COVID-19-related processes or equipment because of a medical condition or a religious belief, please contact Student Affairs (students) or Human Resources (employees).