Employee Accommodations

RISD is engaging in an institution-wide educational effort to inform its community about its COVID-19 mitigation efforts, and will continue to evaluate input from employees regarding their concerns related to on-campus assignments. RISD Employees experiencing discomfort with returning to campus for their duties should engage in dialogue with their supervisor or Human Resources about their specific concerns.


RISD maintains an existing fair and equitable ADA process by which faculty and staff may request reasonable accommodations to perform the essential functions of their job. Under this policy, any RISD faculty or staff who is at elevated risk as identified by CDC Guidelines of severe illness from COVID-19 (or who shares a household with someone at high risk) may now initiate a request for a job-related accommodation due to the potential threat of exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace.

While RISD reserves the right to make the determination regarding accommodations, the employee may otherwise consider alternative leave options available to faculty and staff.

Employees at Elevated Risk

Faculty and staff who are at high risk due to their own medical condition or disability who believe they need an accommodation to perform the essential functions of their job should contact Human Resources at humres@risd.edu. Accommodation requests will follow the College’s standard policy and procedure.

Household Members at Elevated Risk

  • Faculty or staff who do not have a disability, but who share a household with someone with increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), may request temporary accommodation through their supervisor or Department Head or by contacting Human Resources.
  • RISD’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including this temporary policy, is subject to change based on evolving guidelines from sources such as the CDC, and orders from federal, state, and local government, and may be amended or updated. 

Faculty Discomfort with In-Person Teaching

Faculty who do not fall into either of the categories listed above, but who feel serious discomfort in teaching in-person classes may contact the Associate Provost for SEI and the Dean of Faculty at Fall20Teaching@risd.edu to discuss the details of their teaching responsibilities and the possibility of alternate arrangements. 

Childcare or Elder-care Disruptions

This policy is not intended for work accommodations related to child or elder-care; however, RISD encourages managers to, wherever practicable, honor an employee’s request for flexibility to meet unexpected family needs brought about by the pandemic conditions. Additionally, the employee may apply for Special Paid Leave or consult with Human Resources to explore the availability of leaves of absence for such purposes.