Mar. 20, 2020: COVID-19 Update

For the latest updates visit COVID-19 Updates.

Dear Members of the RISD Community,

Today’s Town Hall is now posted at this link. I hope that we were able to address most of your questions. If not, please follow up directly with any of today’s speakers or check the FAQ section on the COVID-19 site which is updated daily.

We have all been operating at a frantic pace these past few weeks to make necessary transitions as the virus advances. Many of our students have now safely returned home, and plans are in place to support those who will be staying in Providence. Faculty are deeply focused on preparing to begin remote learning on March 30, and staff are working hard to support our students, assist our faculty and keep our campus operational.

The latest count of diagnosed COVID-19 cases in Rhode Island is 54 today. Gratefully, none of those is from the RISD community. But in the face of this new reality we have begun the journey of defining a new normal for this semester. I appreciate all of you who are contributing your tireless cooperative efforts. I hope you will be able to take some time this weekend to rest and recharge.

Please read on for updates from SVP Dave Proulx and Career Center Director Kevin Jankowski.

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

Things are settling a bit on campus while faculty and staff continue to work diligently to support our upcoming remote learning environment as of March 30. Thank you for all of the great work and support you are providing. A few pieces of information to share with you today:

  1. I have received several questions regarding mail safety. We still have letters and packages to open and want to ensure your safety. First, know that the CDC, the World Health Organization, and the Surgeon General have indicated that there is currently no evidence that COVID-19 is being spread through the mail. That being said, we still recommend regular hand washing, or use of hand sanitizer throughout the day, including while you are processing the mail. For any departments that would like hand sanitizer or nitrile gloves for their areas, you can put in a work order request to Facilities, and they will accommodate whenever possible.
  2. Updates for time entry beginning next week have been posted here. We continue to be in a “designated employee” mode, with work and location being determined by managers in conversations with employees. For the current (this) week, please enter time as normally scheduled regardless of work responsibilities and completion. We will continue to provide updates if and as circumstances change.

I hope you can find time this weekend to take a few moments of well-deserved rest. It has been a busy few weeks, with much work being accomplished in a fast-paced, constantly changing environment. We still have much to do and want everyone to stay healthy and refreshed, so we are ready for the weeks ahead. As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at

Dave Proulx
Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration

Over the past week, the Career Center has been focused on preparing to support students remotely this semester. All of our scheduled advising appointments are currently happening virtually via Zoom. We’re developing a plan for future advising appointments that includes increasing the number of appointments and establishing a virtual drop-in process.

We are also transforming our remaining spring career programs into webinars and developing an offering of core career modules that can benefit students across all disciplines. We’ll be launching these once classes resume and faculty will be able to use these resources to supplement their online teaching.

Another area of our focus is summer opportunities. Given the impact of COVID-19 on the art and design world, we are working with the Provost and the Deans Council to encourage flexibility for off site and online internship experiences. This flexibility will be communicated to students as well as employers with hopes of reducing the loss of internships and possibly encouraging new internships to be made available. The same approach is being applied to the Maharam Fellowship and Undergraduate Internship Scholarships to maintain continuity of these important awards. In addition, we remain focused on providing the same level of support for our Fulbright workshops and applications during the next cycle of this prestigious fellowship.

While the spring semester is changing in so many ways, the support and guidance students can expect from the Career Center will not. We look forward to connecting with you soon and encourage you to reach out anytime through the RISD Careers site or

Kevin Jankowski
Director, Career Center

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