Wintersession and Spring 2022 Protocol

At a Glance

  • Vaccination

    RISD requires all students to receive the COVID-19 vaccination to be enrolled for the wintersession and spring 2022 semesters. RISD does not require employee vaccination, but does require disclosure of whether employees have received the vaccine. All undisclosed/unvaccinated employees are required to test weekly to maintain campus access.

    Booster Shots
    RISD does not require booster shots for students or employees, but strongly encourages booster shots for all community members. However, students who received the Johnson & Johnson, Sinopharm or AstraZeneca vaccine may be required to get the booster, pending a determination from RIDOH.

  • 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.

    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.
    - 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 a faculty member or guest speaker is unable to keep this distance, they must continue to wear a mask.

    RISD’s face covering protocols follow the current CDC guidelines for a High Transmission area. If the local transmission rates—or CDC guidelines—change before the start of Wintersession or Spring, RISD will review its face covering requirements.

  • Physical Distancing

    Non-vaccinated individuals are strongly encouraged to continue to physically distance themselves at least 6 feet from others.

  • Gatherings and Events

    Public events (indoor and outdoor) will now be permitted, with no external guest limits. There will continue to be no general capacity limits for academic, co-curricular, and community-wide events, but all participants must wear face coverings while indoors.

    Visitors will continue to be allowed in all RISD buildings, including residence halls, but must wear face coverings when indoors.

    Event speakers may remove face coverings when speaking, provided they can maintain a six-foot distance between them and the audience. Podiums, microphones or other tools used without a face covering must be sanitized between uses.

  • Testing

    Arrival
    RISD will require arrival testing for all returning students during the first two weeks of Wintersession and spring access periods. RISD will not require a “quiet period” (10 day entry quarantine) before the start of the wintersession or spring terms.

    Surveillance
    Surveillance testing for COVID-19 will continue at a maximum rate of 20 percent of the vaccinated student population per week. Voluntary open testing will be available for vaccinated faculty and staff, but vaccinated employees will not be required to participate in surveillance testing.

    Mandatory weekly testing for COVID-19 will continue to be required for 100 percent of the unvaccinated/undisclosed population to maintain access to all campus facilities.

    Diagnostic
    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.

  • Positive Cases

    RISD will continue to track, inform and contact trace all student and employee positive cases, regardless of vaccination status or whether they are symptomatic or not.

    Any individual (vaccinated or unvaccinated) who tests positive for COVID-19 must still isolate for a minimum of ten days from symptom onset or the positive test result (if asymptomatic). RISD may make allowances for symptomatic vaccinated students with a negative antigen test to isolate (masked) in their regular housing while awaiting PCR test results.

    Close contacts must still be tested five to seven days after exposure to someone with confirmed COVID-19, and non-vaccinated close contacts must still quarantine following exposure.

  • Campus Facilities

    Custodial staff will continue regular cleaning and disinfecting of common areas in all buildings including residence halls and dining facilities. Air quality will continue to be a priority with increased outdoor air circulation and filter efficiency.

    Winter Break Building Access
    Studios and workshops are open over winter break daily from 7:00am–2:00am except Dec 24—Jan 3.
    - 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, studios and shops reopen.
    - January 4: Offices and Library reopen.

    *Subject to change.

  • Travel

    - RISD-sponsored domestic travel will continue to be permitted, provided COVID transmission remains in decline or at a low steady rate.
    - RISD-sponsored international travel will be permitted up to CDC COVID level three. RISD employees must check COVID-19 policies, vaccination levels and community spread levels for the intended destination prior to booking travel. RISD travelers should maintain awareness of their destination country's policies and spread levels prior to and during travel.

    Concerned individuals should contact RISD's Risk Management office to review travel plans, risks and concerns.

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.

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.

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 Wintersession, 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.

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.

There are no capacity limits or restrictions on food or beverage at RISD gatherings and events, however RISD will not host indoor events (full or in part) open to the public and asks that only two external participants be present for each event, meeting, crit, or gathering. Outdoor events can be open to the public and non-vaccinated attendees asked to wear a mask if three feet of social distancing can not be maintained.

Event hosts or planners cannot ask for proof of vaccination, but they can ask specific COVID-19 screening questions as a requirement for admittance to events. Participants and attendees are required to wear face coverings at all indoor events or gatherings.

Wintersession and Spring
RISD will resume hosting public events (indoors and outdoors) and remove the two person maximum for external participants.

Event speakers will be permitted to remove face coverings when speaking, provided they can maintain a six-foot distance between them and the audience. Podiums, microphones or other tools used without a face covering must be sanitized between uses.

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 (10+ cases in one week) 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).