Mar. 6, 2020: COVID-19 Update

For the latest updates visit COVID-19 Updates.

To all RISD community members:

Thank you to all who attended our town hall meetings on Wednesday, both in-person and online. For those who were unable to attend, you can watch a recording of the meeting on Livestream. I want to echo President Somerson’s opening remarks in saying that it has been wonderful to see the outpouring of care and concern in our community over the past week. Please continue to support each other and offer empathy and compassion as we navigate this uncertain time together.

RISD Health Services continues to actively monitor the global outbreak of COVID-19 (also now referred to as SARS-CoV-2), relaying the latest information to both senior leadership and the community at large. Please visit frequently for updates and information. FAQs are now available for students, faculty and staff, as well as a direct connection to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website and archives of all prior communications. Links to printable materials from the CDC are also available on our site for those who may wish to post public health reminders in their work or living area.

Yesterday, Senior Vice President Dave Proulx announced that all RISD-sponsored international travel has been suspended for the remainder of the Spring semester. We also want to emphasize that personal international travel for spring break is strongly discouraged for all community members. Please know that any person returning from an area with travel restrictions will be advised to complete 14 days of “social distancing,” restricting them from visiting our campus. At the time of this letter, these locations include China, Italy, Iran, Japan and South Korea. Keep in mind that the proliferation of this virus has been rapid and unpredictable, and so travel restrictions may be imposed on new global locations at any time.

Public health and wellness is truly a community-wide effort. Please continue to follow the following health recommendations:

  • Wash your hands frequently! Soap and water is best, however alcohol-based hand sanitizer is a great second option.
  • Do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, and wash your hands immediately afterward.
  • Regularly clean all high touch surfaces in your work or living area with routine household disinfectants, such as Clorox or Lysol.
  • PLEASE stay at home (or in your residence hall) if you are not feeling well.

Many students have expressed concerns about RISD’s academic absence policy. Provost Kent Kleinman has granted extra flexibility with the attendance policy in the best interest of our community’s health and wellbeing. Students, as well as faculty and staff, are encouraged to stay home if they feel ill. As always, we should remain in close communication with each other in these circumstances to maintain our highest level of academic and professional integrity.

People who are feeling unwell are encouraged to CALL your healthcare provider prior to seeking care. For students, Health Services may be reached at 401-454-6625. Our hours are currently 8 am-5 pm Monday-Friday, with extended hours until 8 pm on Monday and Wednesday evenings. Faculty and staff should contact their personal healthcare provider.

Students experiencing anxiety or emotional distress are encouraged to reach out to Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) at 401-454-6637 (after hours telecounseling is also available). Employees are encouraged to utilize AllOne Health, our employee assistance plan, by calling 800-451-1834.

We will continue to provide regular community updates, both by email and on our website. Please do not hesitate to reach out if you have questions or need additional support.


Kristin Gianelis, NP
Director, Health Services

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