Mar. 23, 2020: COVID-19 Update

For the latest updates visit COVID-19 Updates.

Dear Members of the RISD Community,

COVID-19 cases continue to climb worldwide, with 106 total documented cases in Rhode Island today, four of whom are hospitalized for the virus. Thankfully, there are still no known RISD community members in that count. At this juncture, we find ourselves spending spring break much differently than we ever could have imagined. As we all adapt to new temporary challenges and realities, this in an important week of resetting and preparing for re-engaging in classes next week in new ways.

Students, most of you are now unexpectedly scattered across the globe far from friends and campus. I hope that those of you who traveled long distances are settling in. And for those students who are nearby, and those remaining on campus, we know that you are adjusting to different circumstances as well. Faculty and staff, you are busily planning for the start of remote instruction and working to create new systems and approaches that work in our new decentralized reality. In the midst of this challenging work, you are juggling a variety of personal responsibilities. Some of you who have school-aged children are now schooling at home for the first time, and you are navigating the start of their remote learning along with your RISD commitments. This is a difficult time on so many fronts.

Therefore, I particularly appreciate all of you who are working hard to make the rest of the semester a success under these circumstances, and doing so in ways that I know we will ultimately be proud of. These are the moments when we really understand who we are and how every decision, every action impacts different individuals on campus and beyond. We are doing the best we can to balance complex, and even competing needs, with our commitment to everyone’s health and wellness, to completing a semester of substantive RISD learning, and to contributing to our civic duty to help to keep the duration of the impact of this virus as short and contained as possible.

Please read on for an update from Jack Silva, our Vice President of Campus Services, on plans for deep cleaning academic buildings this week. Also, students and faculty, please check your inboxes for a communication Provost Kleinman sent to each of you today.

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

From Jack Silva, Vice President of Campus Services

As SVP Proulx mentioned last week, RISD has hired ServPro to disinfect all academic buildings. This is being done out of an abundance of caution as RISD has no known cases of COVID-19. We are prioritizing academic buildings for this specialized deep cleaning knowing that these spaces may be used by faculty and academic staff during remote learning.

ServPro’s process will involve applying a disinfectant solution with electrostatic backpack sprayers to all surfaces. The disinfectant is one that is commonly used in hospitals and nursing homes and is safe for human contact. The product will not harm any work or materials that it touches. There is no danger if someone enters or occupies the building during this process. We may ask people to leave a space for a short period while ServPro performs the work and they will be free to occupy those spaces again once the material dries, which takes 10 to15 minutes. Once a building is disinfected we will be monitoring the number of people entering each building and focus our efforts to wipe down and disinfect high touch areas on an ongoing basis.

We expect to complete all academic buildings this week and the schedule for this process can be found here. If you have any questions or concerns please contact Fred Flori at 454-6482 or

Jack Silva
Vice President of Campus Services

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