Mar. 19, 2020: COVID-19 Update

For the latest updates visit COVID-19 Updates.

Dear Members of the RISD Community,

COVID-19 cases across the country continue to rise, with eleven new cases in Rhode Island confirmed today, bringing the total to 44. No one at RISD, thankfully, is included in that number. But this is a critical time to do all we can to help flatten the curve of the virus spread.

As you might have noticed, we have temporarily reconfigured the homepage to make it easier to find the latest information about COVID-19, and to access and provide support.

I’m looking forward to connecting with you tomorrow (March 20) at 1 pm ET for our Town Hall, which will be held virtually at this link. As I mentioned this morning, please send questions by the end of the day today as we will be unable to take live questions. If you are not able to attend live, we will send out a recording of the Town Hall for you to view at your convenience.

Please see operational updates from SVP Dave Proulx below.

Stay safe and well,
Rosanne Somerson

Information & Support Resources
If you are a student in need of assistance of any kind, please contact
For the latest information from RISD on COVID-19 and answers to frequently asked questions, please visit

Hello everyone,

I am amazed by all of your efforts to support the quick transition for our students and employees as we move to a remote learning and working environment. There are students who will remain on our campus as well as in the Providence community and we will need a limited number of employees to work on campus to continue to support them and a few other operations. Please keep up the great work, and we will continue to provide updates and instructions to help you in your roles. This is a true team effort.

For today I have the following information:

  1. I have received several inquiries on our approach to cleaning campus. Our housekeeping (and facilities staff as a whole) have been working incredibly hard to ensure that our campus is safe. Please take a moment to thank them if you can. We have no reported cases of COVID-19 on the RISD campus. This is what we are doing:
    • Across campus, cleaning high touch surfaces (door handles, elevator controls, vending machines, bathrooms, etc) at a minimum rate of twice per day and keeping soap and hand sanitizing dispensers filled.
    • Using an electrostatic fogger specifically designed for applying disinfectant solutions to robustly disinfect two to three buildings per day on a rotating basis. The fogger distributes a cleaning agent that rests on all surfaces to kill virus and bacteria. This leaves a residue on surfaces so please do not be alarmed. The cleaning agent is safe for humans.
    • In our dining facilities, frequently cleaning high touch and surface areas in addition to frequent cleaning of all kitchen and food areas.
    • Deeply cleaning the residential facilities with current focus on 15 West, Charles Landing and Dwight House. In these spaces, common areas are cleaned at least twice per day. We will begin deep cleaning all other residential facilities next week.
    • In our academic facilities, cleaning all high touch and surface areas twice a day and cleaning out trash left behind from the transition. Beginning next week, academic buildings will undergo a deep cleaning.
    • We have ServePro on call for any deep cleaning or emergency needs.
  2. Beginning next week, employees will be able to access Paid Special Leave balances for various circumstances that can be found here. All use of Paid Special Leave must be approved by Human Resources. Human Resources will provide instructions on how to enter Paid Special Leave in Workday.

I know many of you are trying to manage RISD work with home obligations. We recognize that this is a challenge and thank you for continuing to successfully manage your time and responsibilities during this challenging time.

Best regards,
Dave Proulx
Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration

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