The more you know, the stronger we are.

General Health Answers

Here’s basic information to keep yourself informed and healthy during this pandemic. And if you need further assistance, you can always get help from one of our offices.

COVID-19 (also now referred to as SARS-CoV-2) is a new human respiratory coronavirus first identified in December 2019 as a cluster of pneumonia cases in Wuhan, China. Since its discovery, COVID-19 has spread worldwide, causing illnesses ranging from mild to severe. Because this is a new virus, information continues to evolve rapidly.

Coronaviruses are a group of viruses found worldwide in both humans and other animal species. Most human coronaviruses cause mild to moderate respiratory symptoms, like the common cold, and resolve with no treatment. In rare cases, a coronavirus from an animal species can evolve to cause more severe disease in humans. COVID-19 belongs to the family of coronaviruses causing severe disease, along with SARS and MERS.

Symptoms can include fever (greater than 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or 38 degrees Celsius), cough, and difficulty breathing.

COVID-19 is spread from person to person by “droplets”, or respiratory particles sent into the air with a cough or sneeze from an infected person. COVID-19 can also be spread by contact with contaminated surfaces.

  • Wash your hands frequently! Soap and water is best, however alcohol-based hand sanitizer is a great second option.
  • Do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, and wash your hands immediately afterward.
  • Regularly clean all high touch surfaces in your work or living area with routine household disinfectants, such as Clorox or Lysol.
  • PLEASE stay at home (unless getting food, medicine, or going to work).
  • If you feel ill, you should NOT leave your home for any reason (except seeking medical care).
  • When leaving your home for essential purposes, please practice social distancing, maintaining 6 feet of distance between yourself and other people.
  • In the state of Rhode Island, gatherings of more than 5 people are prohibited. Similar restrictions may be in effect in other locations, but the message remains the same. Please limit the number of people you interact with.
  • And finally, the CDC has now recommended the use of cloth face coverings for ALL individuals when leaving their home. (Medical grade masks should still be reserved for medical settings.)

RISD has increased cleaning and disinfection practices throughout campus, focusing on high-touch and high-traffic areas. Alcohol-based hand sanitizer stations, as well as soap and paper towel dispensers, are regularly maintained. Disinfectant fogging machines are also being employed in key locations across campus on off hours. RISD retains the services of deep cleaning specialists in case of additional disinfection needs.

RISD is committed to ensuring a community of mutual care and respect. It is important to remember that COVID-19 is not associated with specific nationalities or ethnic backgrounds. Discriminatory behavior will not be tolerated under any circumstances. If you are aware of a community member experiencing discrimination, please contact the office of Student Affairs at 401-454-6600.

Students experiencing anxiety or emotional distress are encouraged to reach out to Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) at 401-454-6637 (after hours telecounseling is also available). Employees are encouraged to utilize AllOne Health, our employee assistance plan by calling 800-451-1834.

On-campus students experiencing fever, cough or other respiratory symptoms are encouraged to CALL Health Services at 401-454-6625. A nurse will speak with you about your symptoms and make recommendations regarding next steps for evaluation. Off-campus students may still call Health Services, but will be advised to seek care at a local urgent care facility. Faculty and staff should contact their personal health care providers.

Ask the CDC

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

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