Feb. 29, 2020: COVID-19 Update

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Dear RISD Students, Faculty and Staff,

I write with an update of my message to the RISD community of February 27 regarding the global COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak. Over the past 24 hours, we have seen a change in the Department of State’s warning level for Italy. Accordingly, we have modified our plans regarding those members of the RISD community who have returned from Italy.

We shared with the EHP students and faculty upon their arrival, it has not been possible to arrange on-campus housing for EHP students. The challenges are two-fold: availability of rooms and concerns from existing residents about sharing a dwelling space with a recent arrival from Italy. Consequently, in lieu of on-campus housing, we have arranged for single-occupancy rooms in a local hotel.

At this time there are no required quarantine measures for travelers from Italy according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the US Department of State, the Rhode Island Department of Health. I want to reiterate that we continue to be guided by the recommendations of these organizations. However, we also want to be sensitive to all members of the RISD community, especially in light of the recent upgrade to a higher warning level by the State Department. We are asking those returning from Italy under the current conditions to have no direct physical contact with the campus for a period of fourteen days.

Clearly we are in a rapidly changing environment, and I want you to know that our top priority is the safety and well-being of the entire RISD community. Despite the challenges, I have been inspired and moved by the strong bond of community and the many expressions of compassion that have come to my office from all corners of the college and beyond. Thank you for your deep humanity and remarkable grace, as we deal with this global challenge.


Kent Kleinman

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