May 20, 2020: COVID-19 Update

For the latest updates visit COVID-19 Updates.

Dear Members of the RISD Community,

As Rhode Island and neighboring states relax restrictions, I want to remind you that the RISD campus remains closed except for designated employees and the small number of students who remain on campus. If you have a specific need to come back to campus, you must request permission from your direct supervisor. Employees who exhibit symptoms or are in contact with someone who has symptoms or has been diagnosed with COVID-19 are not allowed on campus. Employees coming to campus must observe safety protocols including wearing a mask or face covering except when alone in private offices or rooms and maintaining six-foot social distancing.

Today Rhode Island released the first version of a free mobile app with a privacy-first focus called CRUSH COVID RI. This app provides easy access to a location diary that helps users identify the people and places with whom they are in contact. It also has a symptom checking survey; allows you to find COVID-19 testing sites and schedule a test; and has information about how to get help, such as food delivery, or where health care workers fearful of infecting their families can stay for free. You can enable or disable the GPS tracking feature any time you want. The data will remain on your phone but will be automatically deleted in 20 days. If you contract COVID-19, health officials will ask you to share the “location diary” data, though this is optional. The app is intended to make the contact tracing process automatic, private and easy. It is “opt-in” only and if you do not use the app we remind you that you should be keeping daily contact logs of everyone that you come in contact with each day, as well as the locations and times of public places that you go to.

If we are to keep each other safe, it is essential that we are able to track the contacts of people who show symptoms or test positive so that the RI Department of Health can quickly inform individuals that they might have been exposed to the virus and then recommend the isolation or treatment follow-up as appropriate. Contact tracing is a major component toward reducing the spread of the virus locally. These are times when we really have to think about the impact we have on one another’s health and safety. We are working hard to keep our campus and community as safe as possible and your diligence in contact logging is an important piece of that success.

Finally, we are in the middle of the last week of crits, exams and projects this semester. I have been very impressed with the critiques I have observed so far. In the face of immense challenge, our students and faculty found unique ways to continue their creative making and learning, showcasing remarkable dedication and ingenuity. There were setbacks and frustrations in moving to remote learning, but also some great triumphs that resulted. I know for students this week can always be very stressful. Student Affairs has programmed some relaxing activities to help you get through the week, which can be found at

As we reach the closing days of the academic year, everyone deserves acknowledgment of having successfully made it to the end of the most challenging semester in RISD’s history. Let us take a moment to thank everyone for all that it took to navigate and implement, and in particular, to congratulate our students for completing the spring semester under very demanding circumstances armed with new strengths and achievements.


Information & Support Resources

If you are a student in need of any kind of assistance, please contact For staff and faculty, our 24/7 confidential employee assistance program (EAP) is available to you, your dependents and members of your household through our partner, AllOne Health (1-800-451-1834).

The Center for Student Involvement is organizing many virtual gatherings each week. Find out what is planned and subscribe to Word Out to stay up-to-date on events and resources.

Everyone on campus must wear a face covering when in all RISD facilities, except when you are alone in private offices or rooms. If you do not have one, please contact Public Safety Deputy Chief Anna Brookes at

For the latest information from RISD on COVID-19 and answers to frequently asked questions, please visit

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