COVID-19 FAQS and Resources

RISD Health Services remains actively engaged in monitoring both local and global health trends, in order to share timely and factual information about COVID-19 (coronavirus) with the community.

Frequently Asked Questions

For RISD Students, Staff, Faculty and Alumni

For 2020 Admitted Students


For the latest updates visit COVID-19 Updates.

General Health Information FAQs

What is COVID-19?
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.

What is a coronavirus?
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.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
Symptoms can include fever (greater than 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or 38 degrees Celsius), cough, and difficulty breathing. These symptoms are nearly identical to influenza and so, unless a person has additional risk factors, flu remains the greater risk. Risk factors for COVID-19 include travel from China, Italy, Iran, Japan, or South Korea within the past 14 days, or close contact with a person who has suspected or confirmed COVID-19.

How does COVID-19 spread?
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. This is the same method by which influenza spreads. There is new information that COVID-19 may also be spread by contact with contaminated surfaces.

What can I do to prevent COVID-19?

  • 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 (or in your residence hall) if you are not feeling well.

Are masks necessary?
The CDC does not recommend the use of masks, but some individuals may wear masks to protect other health conditions or for personal comfort.

What steps is RISD taking to ensure proper sanitation on campus?
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.

What measures are in place to reduce the risk of exposure within the RISD community?
All students, faculty and staff are encouraged to stay home if they are feeling unwell. Extra flexibility with the attendance policy has been granted by the Provost to encourage students to follow this directive for the remainder of on campus classes.

What is RISD doing to protect the rights of students from communities that have marginalized in the wake of COVID-19?
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.

How is RISD supporting community members who feel anxious or have family members affected by COVID-19?
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.

What should I do if I feel sick?
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.

Accessing Health Services

Will my RISD-provided health insurance change?
No. The academic year policy expires 8/31/2020. There will be no changes to the college-provided insurance coverage.

What if I need a refill on my medication?
Please call Health Services at 401-454-6625. Health Services can often refill medications electronically. If your medication was provided by RISD’s psychiatric services, your chart will be reviewed and someone will follow up with you to either renew your prescription for 3 months or connect you to a provider in your area.

If I stay on-campus, can I be seen in Health Services?
Yes. Please call (401-454-6625) to schedule an appointment.

How can I access healthcare off campus?
Some health concerns may be handled by phone call or via Zoom video call. Please call Health Services to discuss. For health concerns that require an in-person visit, we can help direct you to the appropriate urgent care facility.

How does confidentiality work with telemedicine visits?
How Zoom works with HIPAA compliance.

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Academic for Students FAQs

Friday, March 13 was the final day that classes meet in-person. Spring break will be held as usual from March 23 to 27. As of Monday, March 30 through the end of the semester, all classes will be taught remotely.

Remote Learning

What if I have not heard from my instructor about how my class will be taught remotely?
Please email or call your instructor using the contact information on your syllabus. If you are unable to reach your instructor, please call or email your instructor’s academic department.

How will remote learning work, if I am in a different time zone than the instructor?
Instructors are balancing synchronous and asynchronous learning, in order to avoid scheduling conflicts. Most are working on creating asynchronous activity online, when possible, to accommodate different time zones. Contact your instructor to learn how the course content will be delivered.

If I am located near my instructor, can I meet with them off campus to discuss and review my work?
No. In order to help contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus and reduce public health risks, we are asking all teaching and learning to be conducted online. Your cooperation in this will protect the health of individuals involved in your courses and keep students, faculty, or staff as safe as possible.

Can groups of students gather off-site to work together?
No. In order to help contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus and reduce public health risks, we are asking all teaching and learning to be conducted remotely. Your cooperation will help protect the health of the community.

Completing Assignments

Am I still responsible for class assignments, exams or materials due as stated on the syllabus?
While some assignments may be revised for remote teaching and learning, students remain responsible for full participation in their classes. Instructors will provide guidance on how to submit assignments, participate in crits, and take exams.

What if I need special equipment and materials to complete my work?
The Provost’s Office has worked with deans and department heads to identify needed materials, equipment, and software to continue semester work.

How should I complete projects that require shop space and equipment?
Instructors have modified expectations to accommodate remote learning, and students will need to adapt in inventive and productive ways. Your instructor will discuss with you how assignments should be completed, including those normally requiring shop access.


How will we conduct group critiques?
Instructors have worked to determine the best platforms for conducting critique online and will share that information with you.

How will one-on-one critiques be conducted?
There are many options, including video conferencing and email. Your instructor will discuss with you how they will shape individualized feedback.


How will studio assignments be graded if we are learning remotely?
Instructors will communicate with you about any revisions to assignments and the details of how they will be graded.

How will the change to remote learning affect how my final grade is calculated?
RISD will adopt a pass/no credit (P/NC) system for final grading in all courses during the remote teaching period, except when an A through F letter grade is required externally.


What if I am feeling ill? Do the same policies apply?
Normal absence policies apply. If you are feeling ill and cannot complete any assignment or participate online, please work with your instructor to come up with a plan for completion.

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Student Services FAQs


What resources on campus will be available for students who are unable to go home?
Though classes will be taught remotely, campus operations will continue. RISD will provide food service, counseling and health services. Some student services may be offered through phone consultation or Zoom meetings, if necessary. As adjustments are made, they will be communicated by email and posted here.


How can I make an appointment with CAPS?
All students regardless of location are able to make an appointment for consultation and support services. Students can call the CAPS office at 401-454-6637 or email at to schedule a remote (telecounseling) consultation during business hours. Our CAPS team is available Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. to assist you. If your email or message is received after 4:30 p.m. you will be contacted the next business day.

For students outside these areas, CAPS providers or the Case Manager can assist students in connecting to a local provider. If needed, please call 401-454-6637 or email at to schedule a referral appointment.

For after-hours support, students can use ProtoCall by calling 401-454-6637. This after-hours telephonic service provides crisis intervention and can aid students in any state.

*Due to licensing laws, CAPS counselors can only provide ongoing telecounseling sessions in Connecticut, Washington D.C., New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia. Only Nikole Barnes, LICSW is licensed in New York and Virginia.

Can students overseas make appointments? If not, how can we access support?
Students living outside the United States can use ProtoCall for crisis support at +1-401-454-6637. If students are seeking ongoing therapy and services, please contact Oncall International at +1-603-952-2655 for support.

What if I need assistance with community resources, navigating questions about insurance and general support?
At CAPS we offer student support from a case manager. It is the role of our case manager to assist you in connecting with community resources, navigating questions about insurance and supporting students when they are transitioning back to RISD from a hospitalization. As our CAPS services have shifted to offer telecounseling, our case manager continues to offer these services to students in ANY state. As case management services are about supporting and connecting you to community resources and providing education about services, they are able to continue offering support while you are physically away from campus.

To connect with our Case Manager, Nisha Sundararaj, please call CAPS during business hours to schedule an appointment at 401-454-6637.

If I stay on-campus or live in Rhode Island, can I come into CAPS for a session?
No. At this time CAPS is only providing remote therapy appointments via phone or video.

What is telecounseling?
CAPS is offering the option of ongoing telecounseling sessions to students located in Connecticut, Washington D.C., New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Virginia. CAPS will continue to update as licensing laws change and expand. Telecounseling means receiving remote, technology-assisted mental health care. This includes a wide array of clinical services provided through various forms of technology. These technologies include but are not limited to, phone, video conferencing, applications and/or computer software or other electronic means.

What do I need before my first telecounseling appointment?
You will receive an email from CAPS with the Telecounseling Consent Form attached. You must inform us that you have read and agreed to the consent form by email or verbally before your session starts. This will ensure your understanding of telecounseling and allow CAPS to comply with ethical therapeutic practices.

What platform is CAPS using for video sessions and how does it work?
CAPS is using Zoom Health, which is HIPPA compliant and offers two-way encryption. Once an appointment is made you will receive an email confirmation for your upcoming session. This email will provide a link to connect you to your therapy session. You will not need to download any software or applications. The link provided will open up an internet browser on your chosen technology (smartphone, desktop, tablet, etc.) and the session will begin.

What do I need to have for the Zoom Health session?
You will need access to the internet and a video-capable technology, such as a smartphone, tablet or desktop computer. Additionally, we ask that you find a private space to talk to your provider. Our providers have confidential spaces to speak with you and we encourage you to find a quiet and private place to hold your session. If you are able to place a “do not disturb” sign outside the door of the room you are in, this may allow for increased privacy.

Instead of a video session is it okay to talk to a provider over the phone?
Yes, we can also provide telecounseling sessions by phone. Please call CAPS at 401-454-6637 during business hours or email at to request an appointment. Your provider will call you at the appointment time from a “blocked” or “private number”. They will make three attempts to reach you for the session. If you do not pick up you may call CAPS to reschedule the appointment.

What risks are there to telecounseling?
Some risks include technology failure and confidentiality. CAPS will do its best to ensure stable and high-quality video sessions and uninterrupted phone sessions. However, in the event the session is disconnected and depending on how much time is left, your CAPS provider will try to reconnect with you. If your provider is unable to reconnect, they will send an email to schedule a follow-up session, if needed. Your CAPS provider can ensure confidentiality within their space; however, we ask that you do your best to have a private space for yourself.

Can I continue working with my CAPS therapist?
As long as you are living in Connecticut, Washington D.C., New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Virginia you can continue working with your provider remotely. Please call CAPS at 401-454-6637 or email to request an appointment during business hours. If a student is having an emergency, CAPS can offer stabilization and assist in connecting you to a local provider if you are seeking ongoing counseling while out-of-state.

If I have RISD insurance and want to see a therapist in my community how do I get a referral?
RISD student insurance no longer requires a referral for off campus treatment.

Health Services

Will my RISD-provided health insurance change?
No. The academic year policy expires on 8/31/2020. United Health Student Resources is accepted in many locations nationwide. Please consult to find an in-network provider. You may also contact Health Services at 401-454-6625 for help with finding a healthcare provider.

What if I need a refill on my medication?
Please call Health Services at 401-454-6625. Health Services can often refill medications electronically. If your medication was provided by RISD’s psychiatric services, your chart will be reviewed and someone will follow up with you to either renew your prescription for 3 months or connect you to a provider in your area.

If I stay on-campus, can I be seen in Health Services?
Yes. Please call 401-454-6625 or email to schedule an appointment.

How can I access healthcare off campus?
Some health concerns may be handled by phone call or via Zoom video call. Please call Health Services to discuss. For health concerns that require an in-person visit, we can help direct you to the appropriate urgent care facility in whatever area you will be staying for the spring semester.

How does confidentiality work with telemedicine visits?
Please see Zoom’s HIPAA compliance guide.

Student Health Insurance

If I have paid for the RISD Student Health Insurance policy, will I remain on the plan even if I am not in Providence?
Students enrolled in the RISD Student Health Insurance policy will remain covered under the United HealthCare coverage until 08/31/2020.

Will the RISD Student Health Insurance Policy cover me outside of Providence?
Yes, Students are covered under United Healthcare which is a Nationwide network. Students can find Providers in their area by Searching Providers here.

If I waived coverage earlier in the year, but now need insurance, can I still enroll?
Students who have experienced a Qualifying Event can enroll in the RISD policy if enrollment information is completed within 31 days of the loss of coverage. Students in need of coverage should review the requirements, cost and complete the Qualifying Event Enrollment form (PDF).

Do I still need a referral from Health Services?
No, UnitedHealthcare has waived referrals for out-of-network providers until at least April 30, 2020.

Will the RISD Student Health Insurance Policy cover testing for COVID-19?
Diagnostic testing for COVID-19 will be covered at approved locations in accordance with the CDC.

If I am diagnosed with Coronavirus, will the RISD Student Health Insurance Policy cover my treatment?
Hospitalization and treatment for Coronavirus would be covered like any standard medical treatment.

Disability Support Services

Can I have an intake meeting with DSS?
Yes, please contact RISD Disability Support Services at or 401-709-8465 for more information or to schedule a meeting virtually.

Can I have a time management meeting with DSS?
For students registered with DSS, one-on-one time management sessions will be provided virtually.

Student Employment

Will graduate students receiving assistantships continue to work and be paid?
All graduate students working in an assistantship will continue to receive their monthly paycheck. Please work with your academic department or supervisor to discuss how to best continue your work.

My work can be performed remotely, am I still able to work?
Any student who believes their work can be completed remotely should discuss their situation with their supervisor. Remote work for hourly employees will be permitted at the discretion of the student’s supervisor. If you continue to work remotely you should continue to enter your shifts into Workday as normal.

I can no longer work, are funds available to assist my loss of income?
All students who have recorded hours in Workday for Spring 2020 will continue to receive the pay based on average hours worked during the pay period 2/15/20 – 3/13/20. The process will be automatic and no additional actions are needed by students or supervisors.

RISD Mail and Receiving

When will the mailroom be open during spring break and for the rest of the semester?
Monday, March 15 – Saturday, March 21, 2020
10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Monday, March 23 – until further notice
Monday – Friday: 8 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Closed during weekends.

I am a graduating senior. What will happen to my mail/packages once I leave campus?
If you are a graduating senior AND you will reside in the US, please fill out the Graduating senior forwarding mail request form to have your mail forwarded. We only have the ability to forward letters and packages from USPS. All Amazon, UPS, FedEx…etc. packages will be returned to the sender.

I will be returning next semester. What will happen to my mail/packages once I leave campus?
If you are an underclassman and will be returning next semester AND you will reside in the U.S., please fill out the Active RISD student mail forwarding request form. We only have the ability to forward letters and packages from USPS. All Amazon, UPS, FedEx…etc. packages will be returned to the sender.

What will happen to my packages if I am not staying in the U.S.?
It is very important to change your shipping address to your anticipated address. This will ensure the timely delivery of your letters and packages. Unfortunately, we cannot forward any items to other countries. We will hold items in the mailroom until/unless space becomes an issue. If this is the case, we will inform students of next steps for their packages.

Can I mail letters and packages out of the mailroom during this time?
Yes. You can always mail out letters and packages as long as you have RISDbucks or cash. Boxes can be found in the recycling center outside of the mailroom. We ship USPS, UPS, and FedEx. We will continue to make daily runs to the post office and UPS and FedEx will continue to pick up daily.

I am a faculty/staff member. Will I still receive my mail and packages?
Yes. The mailroom will be functioning business as usual during this time, only with limited hours (see above). Mail runs will still be completed and your packages will still be delivered to your departments. Due to limited hours, please be mindful and understanding of our 72 hour delivery time. If your department will be closing, please inform us at so we know to hold your items. We will also continue to make daily runs to the post office so all packages and items will be shipped out as usual.

Auxiliary Services

Please see RISD Dining FAQs for dining hours.


Saturday, March 14 and Sunday, March 15
10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Monday, March 16 – Friday, March 20
8:30 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Saturday, March 21 – Sunday, March 22
10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Monday, March 23 – Friday, March 27
9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

The remainder of the semester
Saturday and Sunday
12:00 – 5:00 p.m.

Monday – Friday
9:00 – 5:00 p.m.


Saturday, March 14 – Sunday, March 15
12:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Monday, March 16 – Friday, March 20
9:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Saturday, March 21 and Sunday, March 22 and for the remainder of the semester.
12:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Monday, March 23 – Friday, March 27 and for the remainder of the semester.
9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.


Saturday, March 14
10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Monday, March 16 – Saturday, March 21
10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

After March 21 and until further notice.
Monday – Friday
8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Monday – Friday
7:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

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International Students FAQs

How will online classes affect international students’ I-20/DS-2019 and visa status?
The F-1 Visa program normally does not allow students to remain in the United States if they are enrolled in online education. However, in light of COVID-19, the U.S. Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) within the Department of Homeland Security has granted RISD flexibility allowing students with F-1 Visas and J-1 Visas the ability to temporarily switch to an online mode of learning.

Provided international students can continue to make normal progress in a full course of study, as required by federal regulations, students’ legal immigration status are not in jeopardy. J-1 students in the Exchange Visitor program will also be able to temporarily transition to online coursework. Students’ participation in online instruction is permitted under specific circumstances and international students should follow the direction of their faculty members in consultation with the Office of International Student Services. Contact OISS at with specific questions regarding your visa status.

What should I do to prepare to travel home?
International students who have decided to travel home, or to another location, should refer to the OISS website travel page for information on the proper documents you will need for your return to the United States. Before you leave, make sure you have a valid travel signature. Contact RISD OISS at with additional questions or concerns.

Please help OISS prepare you for your next steps by completing this Google form.

What if I cannot return to my permanent residence?
We will consider exceptions to allow students to remain on campus. However, to remain, you must receive official permission by filling out the Residence Life extension form. Students will receive direct communications about this process in a follow-up email.
All requests will be reviewed on a case by case basis as soon as possible.

Exceptions may include:

  • International students who have concerns that they would not be allowed to return to RISD due to visa issues.
  • International students who will have difficulty returning to their home country if it has been affected by COVID-19 travel restrictions.
  • Students who are unable to return to their permanent residence for personal reasons.

We understand being asked to leave campus may pose a financial hardship. Students will receive follow-up communication on this matter.

Please note, students who are permitted to stay on campus will be required to relocate to another residence hall on campus.

If I’m graduating in the Class of 2020 can I still apply for Post-Completion OPT (Optional Practical Training)?
Yes, if you remain in the United States and are enrolled in a full course of study online, you are still eligible to apply for OPT. OISS is available to assist you with this process. Please note, you cannot apply for OPT from outside of the United States.

If I’m interested in participating in an internship in the United States over the summer can I still apply for CPT (Curricular Practical Training)?
Yes. If you remain enrolled in a full course of study online, you are still eligible to apply for CPT. To be eligible you must have maintained your F-1 student status in the United States continuously for a full academic year. OISS is available to assist you with this process. First-year international students are not eligible to apply for CPT until the summer after their sophomore year.


If a student leaves the U.S., or is currently outside the U.S., and wants to return, will they be able to do so?
Yes. It is very important that you have all the required immigration documents when trying to reenter the U.S. If you have any questions, please contact OISS.

What if I go to my home country, on-campus classes resume, and then I can’t get back to the U.S.?
As you will be maintaining your student visa status while taking your full-time (12 credits) on-line classes, you should be able to reenter the U.S. unless you are seeking to enter from a Level 3 country. This situation is constantly changing so this information may change with very little advance notice.

Instead of traveling back to my home country, may I go elsewhere in the U.S.?
Yes, as long as you maintain your student visa status while taking your full-time (12 credits) on-line classes, you can go somewhere else in the U.S. You must provide the address where you are residing using the OISS Google Form.

I am required to leave campus. If I depart the US and my visa has expired how do I obtain a new visa to return to campus for the fall? Should I anticipate any problem?
You should contact OISS to discuss your situation.


Can I apply for OPT outside the U.S.?
You must be physically present in the U.S. at the time you apply for OPT. You can leave the U.S. while the application is pending. You must provide a mailing address in the U.S. where USCIS (US Citizenship & Immigration Services) can send any correspondence related to your application. It is essential that this address be valid for 3-5 months and the person receiving the mail must be at that address to receive the mail and forward it to you.

I used my friend’s address to have USCIS mail my EAD and now they are leaving campus/their apartment. What should I do?
You cannot use an international address. You should locate another recipient within the U.S. Then you must update your mailing address with USCIS.

I applied for OPT already. Will I have a problem if I re-enter the U.S. before graduation?
You should not have a problem reentering the U.S. before graduation since your Form I-20 will still be valid. Remember you must have all the required documents when reentering the U.S. If you want to re-enter the U.S. after graduation, you must have received your OPT approval from USCIS. There is a possibility that a student who has graduated may not be allowed to re-enter the U.S. if the OPT application is still pending at USCIS.

Can I still apply for CPT from outside the U.S.?

Will USCIS processing times for OPT be affected by Coronavirus closings?
At this time we have no way of knowing what might be affected as this situation is constantly evolving.

Visa compliance

Will online courses affect my visa status?
We have received government guidance that they intend to be flexible with temporary adaptations to classes. Provided international students continue to make normal progress in a full course of study as required by federal regulations, students’ legal immigration status should not be affected.

SSA / Taxes

Can I file my U.S. taxes outside the country?
Yes, you can use Sprintax, print and sign the forms, and mail them. OISS emailed you the updated discount codes on March 11, 2020.

Is the Office of International Student Services closing?
A. We plan on continuing our operations and are able to do many things remotely, if necessary. We will remain open and will be working from campus unless we are mandated not to – at which point we would still be available remotely.

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Students in RISD Housing FAQs

What do I need to do to pack up my room?
Students need to pack up everything they want to keep and remove their take-home belongings when they leave. Boxes to be picked up by Jones Moving and Storage may remain in your room to be picked up. Items to be donated to RISD FLIPS may be left on the bed or in a bag labeled for FLIPS. Trash should be picked up and put into trash bags for facilities to pick up after you depart. The instructions sent to all students can be found at

How will damage bills be processed?
Students remain responsible for damages caused during their stay. After move out Residence Life staff will document any new damages, photograph them, and then assess repair/replacement costs. Those charges will be communicated in April along with your housing reimbursement credit. Students who live in a shared space and who are taking responsibility for specific damages (to avoid their roommates sharing the cost) should email

When will I hear if my request to stay on campus has been accepted or denied?
Decisions are being made on a rolling basis and some students have begun receiving notice that their request has been accepted or denied. If your request was denied, information regarding appealing that decision will be included in the deny message. Students who have received an acceptance email should look for additional instructions regarding their housing assignment for the coming weeks.

Is there an option to remain on campus?
Room and board will be provided only to students who have no option but to remain on campus, including those from countries with travel restrictions, those whose legal residence is RISD and those with other extenuating circumstances. Visit the Housing Portal to complete the Move-out and Housing Extension Form

If I meet one of the exceptions to remain on campus for now, by what date will I have to leave campus later in the spring?
Residence Life will work with students remaining on campus on a case-by-case basis.

Are there additional restrictions for those who remain on campus?
Yes. No non-RISD visitors or overnight guests of any affiliation will be permitted in campus housing. Family members assisting with move-out will be permitted during move out and must be accompanied by the student at all times.

If I remain on campus, where will I stay and eat?
Residence Life will reach out to those students staying on campus with further details. We will have food options on campus.

When do I need to move off campus?
All students must move out of their on-campus housing by noon on Sunday, March 22. Students will not be permitted to return this semester.

What should I do about my belongings?
We encourage everyone to bring their belongings home or to store them. Residence Life is working with Jones to provide storing options. Boxes will be sold on campus on March 16 and 17. Jones will begin early pick up starting on March 18. To request pick up, go to While every effort should be made to bring all of your belongings home or store with Jones, Residence Life can assist if needed.

If I have already left campus how should I handle moving out of my room?
Please try to find a friend who can assist with packing up your room. If you are unable to manage your move, please contact Residence Life. All keys should be mailed back to Residence Life at 2 College Street, Providence, RI 02903.

What services will still be available on campus for students who remain?
Limited housing, dining and health and wellness services will be available to those students remaining on campus. See our Student Services FAQs for more information.

Will my room and board be refunded and how will reimbursements be received by students?
Room and board will be prorated and either returned to you by check or credited to your account.

Will RISD pay for expenses related to traveling home?
Given that students would be traveling home at the end of the term, the college will not cover these expenses.

What if I need financial support to travel home?
All undergraduate students who receive need-based financial aid and graduate students who have a financial aid application on file will receive $150 to defray travel and moving costs. This funding will be sent via direct deposit or a mailed check to your home address.

If you have not already departed campus and need immediate access to funds in order to facilitate travel, please contact

If you are not a financial aid recipient and are experiencing financial hardship (including food insecurity) due to this sudden change, we will have a case-by-case process by which you may be considered for financial assistance. Please email and we will contact you as we refine that process.

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RISD Dining and Retail FAQs


Will I receive a credit from dining for the rest of the semester if I am leaving campus?
For students leaving campus RISD will apply a prorated credit on their meal plan.

Will I receive a refund if I live off campus and have a meal plan?
Students living off campus will need to request to keep their meal plan by March 21, if they want to cancel, students will receive a prorated credit on their meal plan. (RISD Off Campus Students To Keep Current Meal Plan Activated Petition Form)

What if I am leaving campus but leaving after the March 17th end date?
Students should contact the Dining Accounts Manager, Isabel Ferreira ( she will work with students on a case by case basis for these arrangements.

I am staying on campus what happens to my meal plan?
Students will receive an e-mail communication with meal plan instructions.

What dining venues are open throughout the remaining semester?

The Met will be closing after lunch on Wednesday, March 18.
Watermark Café will be closed after service on Tuesday, March 17.
Jolly Roger Café hours on Wednesday, March 18th from 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

As of Thursday, March 19 the Portfolio and Jolly Roger will only be available to students on a meal plan. All meals will be take-out per current mandate from the State of Rhode Island. Jolly Roger orders will only be accepted through the GET application ( from 11 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Daily hours after Wednesday, March 18

  • Breakfast: 7 – 9:30 a.m.
  • Lunch: 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
  • Dinner: 5 – 7:30 p.m.

There will be no service between meal periods.
Vending machines will be introduced in the lobby for extended offerings.

What is dining doing to ensure a safe dining environment?
For the continued health and safety of the RISD community, Dining Services personnel are closely following all Centers for Disease Control hygiene guidelines for heightened cleaning and sanitizing. Per the mandate from the State of Rhode Island all service will be take out, the dining seating area is closed.


For store hours, see the Auxiliary Services section.

Will the RISD Stores remain open while the school is closed? If yes, what will the store hours be?
Effective on Wednesday, March 18th, The store will only be open to the RISD community from M-F 10:00 AM-5:00 PM.

Will the general public be allowed to shop in the store?
No, you will need a RISD id to gain access, we are limiting the number of customers that can shop at any one point and time. Customers check the website for online ordering or contact the store directly for special order shipment.

Can I buy art supplies (non-kit) and have those items shipped to my home address?
Yes, we will do our best to fulfill your art supply requests, dependent on product availability and shippability. Please email your desired order to Someone will follow up.

Can I use funds remaining on my RISD Store account to make purchases online?
To use your RISD Store charge account online, you will have to call or email the store directly and make a special request. Only the RISD Store Gift cards, VC/MC and Discover cards are accepted on the store website.

What forms of payment will be accepted at the RISD Store and at the 3D Store location?
Our retail stores will continue to accept VC/MC, Discover, Apple Pay, RISDBucks, and RISD Store Charges and cash as forms of payment.

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Library FAQs

Will the Center for Arts & Language remain open?
The Center will be closed for on-site tutoring starting March 16, but peer and staff tutoring will continue via Zoom throughout the spring semester. See for details.

Are Campus Exhibition galleries still open?
Campus galleries are closed until further notice. Campus Exhibitions staff will reach out to students who had work in the most recent shows to coordinate storage or return of their work. For questions, please contact

Can I still access specimens and get project help from the Nature Lab?
The Nature Lab is closed for visitors until further notice. All animals and plants are being properly cared for either on or off-site during this closure. From March 30 until the end of the semester, specimens will be digitally photographed and/or scanned by request from RISD students and RISD Faculty only according to Nature Lab staff availability. Please send requests and questions to

Is the Nature Lab Block Island Experience still happening?
A decision about the Block Island Experience will be made by April 1 and communicated directly via email to applicants.

Fleet Library

How do I find information about Fleet Library during the campus closure?
For the most up to date information about services that are available during the closure of campus facilities please check the Fleet Library website:

What materials do I still have access to from off-campus?
Fleet Library has a huge range of online resources (including ebooks, databases, and streaming video) that you can access from anywhere in the world. If you have any questions or challenges in accessing these materials, please contact

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Continuing Education FAQs

For CE Students

Will CE still have classes?
All spring CE courses, including those that have already met, as well as those that have not yet met, are canceled for the remainder of the spring semester, except for Final Studio courses, which will move to remote instruction.

Will any CE classes be delivered remotely?
Only Final Studio courses will move to remote instruction, beginning Monday, March 30, continuing through the end of the spring semester. Your Final Studio instructor will be in contact with you to discuss this change; no classes are permitted to meet in-person. To accommodate the Final Studios schedule change, RISD CE will forgo its spring break planned for April 13-17.

If you do not hear from your instructor before March 30, please call 401.454.6200 or email RISD Continuing Education at

Will the CE Graduation Ceremony still take place?
We are working on a decision about the CE Graduation Ceremony and will contact you once we have more information to report about this important event.

What is the final day that RISD Adult Extension classes will meet?
All spring CE courses, including those that have already met, as well as those that have not yet met, are canceled for the remainder of the spring semester, except for Final Studio courses, which will move to a remote instruction format. This includes all classes at the Providence Campus, Westerly Education Center, and Tillinghast Place.

What is the final day that RISD Young Artist classes will meet?
All RISD Young Artist classes are cancelled, effective immediately. This includes all classes at the Providence Campus, Westerly Education Center, and Tillinghast Place.

Will CE be issuing vouchers or refunds?

For all students who are currently registered for a spring 2020 course that has already met but was canceled, we will issue each student a voucher redeemable for one course registration up to a comparable length (contact hours), within 12 months, or through our spring 2021 term. This will allow our students the flexibility to take either the same course or a comparable one in the future. We are working on rescheduling required courses and more information will be made available as soon as possible.

If you are a student who is registered for a class that has not yet started this semester, you will be receiving an email about a refund. If you are a certificate student and are taking this course to complete a requirement in your program of study, we will contact you about your options regarding how to stay on track.

As a remitted tuition student registered for a spring 2020 course that has already met, we will be issuing a refund of any lab fees paid during the course registration process.

For CE Faculty

Can I teach my course remotely?
The only classes that will be moved to a remote format are Final Studios.

If your spring CE course(s) has already met, but has been suspended, we have made the difficult decision to officially cancel the remainder of the spring semester. Please DO NOT move your classes to a remote format.

If your spring CE course(s) has not yet met, it has been canceled. As a result, the contract for your course has been canceled, and students have been notified. We want to thank you again for your patience during this time. We look forward to having you in class again very soon.

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Student Refunds

How will I receive my prorated housing and meal plan adjustment once I leave campus?
Credit adjustments due to prorated room and board charges will be applied directly to your student account by March 30th. Room will be pro-rated based upon move out date. Board will be pro-rated at 50%, regardless of meals and dining points used. Credits can be viewed on

If I have a credit balance on my student account, how can I request that those funds be refunded to me?
Any student account with a credit balance will be eligible for a refund. We strongly recommend that students who have access to a US bank account complete and/or verify their direct deposit information on WebAdvisor – (not Workday). Information on refund requests and methods will be sent to all students once credits have been applied. We anticipate refunds to be processed within 3 weeks of the request.

Why do I have to request my refund?
To ensure students are receiving their refund at accessible and valid addresses, bank accounts, etc., RISD Student Financial Services will gather information from you via the Refund Request Form. We understand that due to sudden departures, some students may not be staying at their permanent address or will not have time to update their address with the Registrar’s office. Additionally, some students may not have access to the bank account in which they have set up direct deposit. For these reasons, we are asking that students submit a Refund Request Form to ensure we have all necessary information for a successful transfer of funds.

If I do not request a refund, what will happen to the credit I am receiving for my prorated housing and meal plan?
All credit balances will remain on student accounts unless requested for refund. We will apply any credit balance toward future semester tuition and/or fees.

Will I be refunded for Tuition and mandatory fees?
RISD is committed to providing an environment where all students can complete their coursework for the spring semester and meet graduation requirements. Tuition is not refundable.

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Staff FAQs

COVID-19: Resources for Employees

I’m going to be working remotely. What should I do to prepare?

Staff who have begun to work remotely or are planning to as a result of COVID-19 should speak with their manager to determine the tasks/deliverables that should be completed if working remotely; what their remote work schedule will be (half-day, full-day, flexible hours, etc.) and which (if any) applications and systems they will need to access to accomplish necessary work. Following that, employees should visit the ITS website under the header of Working Remotely for information and resources to support remote work and then create a COVID-19 Temporary Remote Work Request (see job aid below) to record their remote work arrangement and communicate any remaining technology needs to Information Technology Services (ITS).

View the Temporary Remote Work Request Job Aid (PDF).

If I can’t work remotely, can I still be paid?

RISD is committed to minimizing the potential financial consequences the coronavirus may have for our dedicated and talented workforce. Individuals who continue working, whether onsite or remotely, will be paid as usual. Please see Staff Pay Continuity & Time Reporting Instructions.

For individuals who are unable to work because their regular job duties are not conducive to remote work arrangements, or for whom there are no alternate assignments or work available, RISD will continue base compensation for the employee’s primary position through May 31. Since the effects of the virus cannot be fully foreseen, this and other policies will be revisited on a periodic basis.

For individuals who are not able to work as a result of being directly impacted by a COVID-19 event, RISD has implemented a new category of paid leave specific to this event called “Paid Special Leave,” which provides for up to 10 days of paid leave beyond normal vacation and sick time, if needed.

Additionally, for individuals who are unable to work for other reasons, RISD’s regular HR policies provide many kinds of paid time off — for illness, disability, and dependent care.

Once students are no longer on campus, shouldn’t all employees work from home?

While we are temporarily operating under alternative arrangements, we are not closing. A number of students remain on or near campus during remote instruction, and RISD must continue to provide care and support for them, which will require some employees to remain on campus. In addition, some other employees will need to be on campus at least some of the time to support remote instruction and other key operations. For the safety of those employees, RISD is implementing measures that will be most effective at this time, including promoting good hygiene practices and implementing extra surface cleaning, social distancing, and (when possible) staggered schedules.

How do I know if I am a designated on-campus employee?

Managers are communicating directly with their staff members to let them know their status. Key areas include student affairs, enrollment management, auxiliary services, facilities, public safety, ITS, and other offices directly involved in assisting our on-campus and local students, as well as certain academic support staff. If you are not yet sure of your status, please contact your manager, or the Provost’s office for academic areas.

I have recently traveled domestically and/or outside of the United States. Are there restrictions for returning to work?

If you return to Rhode Island from international travel, the Governor’s directive requires you to self-quarantine until 14 days after your return. In addition, if you fly into T.F. Green Airport from any location – including domestic – you are required to self-quarantine for 14 days. In either case, you may not come to campus during that time. Please speak with your manager about whether and how you will be able to work remotely during that time.

If my employee is displaying flu-like symptoms while at work, may I address the issue with the employee and send them home?

Yes. The CDC states that employees who become ill with symptoms of influenza-like illness at work during a pandemic should leave the workplace, and the Governor has ordered that we require such employees to leave the workplace. The World Health Organization declared a global pandemic on March 11, 2020. Managers should contact HR in the event that employees are sent home for any reason, including remote work or displaying respiratory illness symptoms.

What do I do if I must provide child care during the current public/private school closing?

Employees who must provide child care due to a school closure may request alternate (flex time) or remote work arrangements, as applicable and available. If you are unable to work on an alternative schedule or remotely, you may request Paid Special Leave for up to 10 consecutive business days, and then use normal time-away policies.

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Faculty FAQs

Should we talk to our students before remote teaching begins on March 30?
All faculty should have a plan for remote teaching by Monday, March 23 and communicate their plan to students before Monday, March 30. All communication with students should be conducted remotely. Students will undoubtedly have a lot of questions about course methods and expectations, which you should address together.

What will be open on campus during the remote period and will I have access?

  • Faculty access to shops, studios, and offices remains unchanged.
  • Staff access to shops, studios, and offices remains unchanged.
  • Student access to academic facilities was deactivated at 5:00 PM on Tuesday, March 17.
  • All meetings should be conducted remotely.

Can faculty arrange off-site in-person meetings with students?
No. In order to help contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus and reduce public health risks, we are asking all teaching and learning to be conducted remotely. Your cooperation will help protect the health of the community.

If faculty have their own studios, can in-person classes be held?
No. In order to help contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus and reduce public health and institutional risks, we are asking all teaching and learning to be conducted remotely. Your cooperation will help protect the health of the community.

Can I obtain books and materials from the Library?
Fleet Library is closed to all visitors. Please visit the Library FAQ for detailed information.

Are loaner laptops available for students who do not have access to a laptop or computer off-campus?
Yes. The Provost’s Office has been working with departments directly to identify students in need and will provide laptops to them. If a student reports not having Internet access or a laptop/computer off-campus, please inform your dean.

How can faculty share ideas about remote teaching and learning? Are there resources online?
A Quick Response Team for Remote Teaching Strategies will provide coaching for remote teaching; email Faculty should contact RISD ITS for technical assistance, including issues related to VPN, platform licensing, or compliance.

How do I address the potential of my students being in different time zones while teaching remotely?
Faculty should adopt asynchronous activity online, when possible, to accommodate students in different time zones.

How will grading work for remote teaching?
In recognition of the changed circumstances necessitated by this suspension of regular operations, RISD will adopt a pass/no credit (P/NC) system for final grading, except when an A-F letter grade is required externally. We encourage faculty to use RISD’s system of grade narratives to augment passing grades with more detailed information about student performance.

Will there be more updates about the suspension during the semester?
Yes. The Office of the Provost will continue to keep faculty and students aware of any critical issues or changes during the rest of the semester.

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Alumni FAQS

Will all students be leaving campus?
For students residing on campus who are not able to return to their permanent residences, the college has established a process by which they may request accommodations.

How will this impact RISD employees?
The college is not closed. We remain open and focused on our central mission of teaching, learning, and creative and scholarly work. When possible, staff and faculty will be working remotely, but staff who support our students on a daily basis will report to campus.

What about the RISD Museum?
In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, the RISD Museum has closed until further notice.

Can alumni still visit campus?
Because of our concerns around COVID-19, and in order to ensure that our essential work can continue, access to college facilities such as studios and classrooms are restricted to essential faculty and staff.

Will the RISD Alumni Association be holding regional events as usual?
All regional gatherings of more than 25 people have been canceled. Alumni clubs and groups may, at their discretion, continue with smaller events if they deem local conditions suitable.

How does RISD make decisions like this? What’s the process?
The COVID-19 outbreak represents an unprecedented health crisis and is creating challenges for every aspect of our society. The administration, in consultation with medical experts, faculty, peer institutions and trustees, made this decision in order to protect those on our campus who are most at risk from COVID-19. We are committed to ensuring the continuity of learning and teaching so that all students can complete the semester for academic credit.

The Celebration of Scholarships is a wonderful occasion when I get to meet the students who are connected to my scholarship fund—will that take place as usual?
Because students will not be on campus for the rest of the semester we will not be able to hold the Celebration of Scholarships this year.

How does this affect admissions?
All in-person admissions tours, information sessions, and accepted student programming are suspended until further notice. The college enjoyed a record number of applicants for the Class of 2024, and all students will receive their decisions on March 17, but the usual on campus programs for admitted students will be replaced by virtual and other programs.

How can I keep updated with what is happening?
RISD has been investing in building new communications tools for alumni, foremost of which is We urge you to check the site for news about the situation on campus, with our students, and news from members of our alumni community.

How can I help?
RISD and its students are grateful for your support. We welcome you to:

  • Be a resource for fellow alumni and students by becoming a mentor on the RISD Network.
  • Give to RISD in any amount to support current students and the programs on which they rely. This is especially important as the financial implications of COVID-19 are unclear and may have an adverse impact on our campus. The Student Emergency Fund, which supports students during times of difficulty, is focused for the time being on aiding students who need financial assistance as they transition off campus.
  • Become a volunteer leader in a regional club or affinity group.
  • Offer internships to RISD students and post job opportunities for recent grads.
  • Participate in an alumni leadership committee or task force.
  • Offer to host a summer welcome event for students and families new to RISD, and welcome recent graduates in your area.

It must be a tough time for students soon to graduate, finishing the semester and looking for employment. Can I help?
At this time of year, many students are searching for jobs—and students in other class years are searching for internships. Any listings or leads you know of are tremendously helpful to us. Please post jobs and internships on the RISD Career Center boards.

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2020 Admitted Undergraduate Students

Will RISD host an admitted student day?
The Admissions office is suspending OPEN RISD, our annual admitted students event. In the meantime, you can sign up for our online info sessions and stay tuned for virtual admitted student day content coming your way soon.

Where can I find the list of virtual offerings for admitted students?

Will RISD grant deposit extensions to admitted students who are impacted by the COVID-19 virus?
RISD is committed to working with students and families impacted by the COVID-19 virus. At this time the deposit deadline is still May 1. If you require a deposit extension please email and we will review your request.

My school is closed and I am unable to request final transcripts—what should I do?
All admitted students will need to submit final transcripts with proof of graduation before they can matriculate in the fall. We will be as flexible as possible with students who are having difficulty acquiring this documentation.

I am unsure if I will be able to complete my health forms needed to enroll—what should I do?
Please contact health services at

If I need to defer my enrollment for a year, how would I do that?
Admitted students who wish to defer their enrollment for one year should submit their request to Please include in your request your desired start term and what you anticipate doing during your gap year.

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2020 Admitted Graduate Students

Will RISD grant deposit extensions to admitted students who are impacted by the coronavirus?
We will review deposit extension requests on an individual basis, please email The deadline for graduate applicants to make their deposit is April 15.

My school is closed and I am unable to request final transcripts—what should I do?
Email us at when you expect to receive your transcripts and we will work with you.

What is RISD’s policy on deferring for a year?
Admitted students are eligible to request a one-year deferral from your Graduate Program Director(GPD). Your GPD will determine if the department has the capacity to grant your request. This is determined on a case-by-case basis. *Please note, any financial aid or scholarships are not guaranteed for the following year.

I am unsure if I will be able to complete my health forms needed to enroll—what should I do?
Please contact health services at

Will summer programs be impacted due to COVID-19?
In response to COVID-19, all summer programs are transitioning to remote learning, and each program specific curriculum for the summer is being adapted for online delivery. To learn more about these changes, please visit the summer program website. If you require further guidance with respect to your specific program, please reach out to your designated Graduate Program Director.

I am an international student and would like to get a jump start on my visa, when will I-20’s become available?
Information to apply for an I-20 will become available in your portal within the next couple of weeks. You will receive an email from Admissions when these materials are ready. Once you have completed the necessary forms, Admissions will start working on creating your I-20’s and mail it out to you. This process usually takes two weeks from when all your required documents are submitted.

Who can I speak to about financial aid?
In addition to reviewing the resources online, please speak directly with your Graduate Program Director.

Where can I get updated information?
The RISD Graduate Welcome site will continue to be the best resource for up-to-date information and important upcoming dates and deadlines.

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Community Town Hall Recordings

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CDC Handouts/Posters and Videos

Stop the spread of germs (PDF)
Share facts about COVID-19 (PDF)
What you need to know about handwashing (Video)

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COVID-19 Microsite

A collection of information and resources provided by the CDC.

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