Mar. 14, 2020: COVID-19 Update

For the latest updates visit COVID-19 Updates.

Dear Members of the RISD Community,

The health and wellbeing of our students, faculty, and staff are our number one priority. We learned today that Rhode Island now has twenty current confirmed cases of COVID-19, up from five cases just a few days ago, as well as hundreds of people in self-quarantine. Both the State of Rhode Island and the U.S. Federal Government have declared states of emergency, and Governor Gina Raimondo has closed all public K-12 schools in the state for the coming week. We have also just learned that one of those new positive cases is a member of the Brown community. Although in the initial contact screening there is no connection between that individual and RISD’s population, we feel the seriousness of this public health crisis has risen to the point where we are forced to act more swiftly. Contributing to our decision is the fact that we have growing concern as new travel bans have been referenced by Washington, and we want to ensure that all students who are traveling home are not impeded by any newly implemented travel protocols.

We are therefore canceling on-campus classes immediately and closing academic facilities effective Tuesday, March 17 at 5 pm. We encourage students to leave residence halls as soon as possible, and we are expediting move-out procedures. Those who need particular accommodations or help should reach out to Residence Life at so that we can assist you.

As this is a fast-changing situation we are postponing Monday’s virtual Town Halls to focus on assisting our students. As we implement changes we will continue to update you with further information on and will reschedule a virtual Town Hall as soon as we can.

Remote instruction will still commence on Monday, March 30 as previously announced. Provost Kleinman will be in touch with Deans, Faculty, Department Heads, Graduate Program Directors and academic support staff to determine next academic steps. Students will receive further information from Student Affairs, and staff from Finance and Administration. Additional information about which staff and faculty need to report to work on Monday will be forthcoming on Sunday.

In the meantime, I urge you to follow health protocols communicated previously, utilizing social distancing practices, frequent and proper hand-washing, and self-isolation if sick. We recognize how stressful this is, and we are working hard to be as proactive, clear, and supportive as possible.

With best wishes,

Rosanne Somerson

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