May 27, 2020: COVID-19 Update

For the latest updates visit COVID-19 Updates.


Dear Members of the RISD Community,

Yesterday I announced that under the leadership of Provost Kleinman and SVP Proulx we have launched eight implementation task forces to begin the enormous task of planning needed to determine if a de-densified campus model is a truly viable option for the coming year. Our definitive decision will be announced broadly by June 15. This planning is the highest priority of the Institution at the moment. If you are contacted by a task force for information, data or input, please expedite your response so that we can continue to move forward quickly to meet our timeline.

We will also continue to monitor the case numbers of the virus locally and regionally as we plan for the fall. I have been heartened by the data coming from the State that indicates the declining presence of COVID-19 in Rhode Island since the stay-at-home order was lifted on May 8. This week Governor Raimondo announced that she hopes to move forward with the second phase of reopening the state’s economy. Hair salons and barber shops, indoor dining, gyms and fitness studios, and the rest of the state’s parks and beaches could reopen by Monday, and houses of worship will likely be able to hold services on Saturday, albeit all with new health protocols in place.

I have also been heartened by the ongoing active responses of our entire community throughout this time, but particularly our students. I was so amazed at the caliber of work I witnessed in final reviews—work that demonstrated the extraordinary talents of our students to achieve their projects in new and inventive ways at the highest levels of achievement. Additionally, RISD’s student publication v.1 quickly and beautifully adapted to our current context by creating its Pandemic Publishing SOS Edition. See volume-1.org to find compelling views into students’ experiences working, learning and living in the face of the pandemic. And Merrick Adams PR 20, Kate Pincus-Whitney PT 20, and Jarrett Key PT 20 organized “Masked-Out,” a face mask-making drive for the RISD community. Available, starting today in the lobby of 20 Washington Place, anyone can pick up a kit with all the necessary materials to make 11 face masks. Ten of the masks will be donated via Lifespan to healthcare providers in Rhode Island and neighboring communities in need and the eleventh mask is for personal use. See below for more details.

Lastly, I am deeply grateful to the Board of Trustees for launching the RISD Together Challenge. They are matching—dollar-for-dollar—up to $750,000 in unrestricted gifts to the RISD Fund until June 30. Since the Challenge was launched just a few weeks ago, more than 350 donors have responded with additional gifts totaling more than $230,000 to unlock the match.

Institutional Engagement is encouraging alumni, parents and friends, including museum patrons, faculty, staff, and students to join the Challenge. I am heartened that many people, including many of you, are responding with generosity in support of our students. The notable outreach by so many speaks to how deeply our extended communities care about our students and our institution.

Sincerely,
Rosanne Somerson
President

Information & Support Resources

If you are a student in need of any kind of assistance, please contact studaff@risd.edu. 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 abrookes@risd.edu.

For the latest information from RISD on COVID-19 and answers to frequently asked questions, please visit risd.edu/covid.

Masked Out RISD

@maskedoutrisd

RISD community members may pick up a mask-making kit in the lobby of 20 Washington Place. The kit includes fabric, pins, needles, thread and elastic bands already cut. After looking at many different patterns, the group recommends using the NYTIMES Mask Instructions. Simply cut out two rectangles and pleat the fabric and sew. BE CAREFUL OF THE PINS IN THE BAG!

If you already have masks made, simply drop them off in plastic bags in the bin labeled DROP OFF. We will be picking up the first round of masks on June 1st and a second round of masks on June 15.

Please remember, you must request permission from your direct supervisor to come onto campus. Anyone who exhibits symptoms or is in contact with someone who has symptoms or has been diagnosed with COVID-19 is not allowed on campus. Anyone 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.

Reminder: Community Cupboard Summer Food Drive

Please join our summer food drive May 25–June 5 in support of the Community Cupboard at RISD! Our RISD community food pantry is a valuable asset to the RISD community. To kick off the summer season faculty and staff are welcome to bring unopened non-perishable food items to the collection bins located in the main lobby of 20 Washington Place across from the elevators. Most needed items include nutritious meal options such as canned soups and vegetables, peanut butter, canned fish, and rice and grains. Please check items for expiration date prior to donating. If you have any questions please reach out to Ginnie Dunleavy at vdunleav@risd.edu and thank you for working with us to support RISD community members in need!

Please remember, you must request permission from your direct supervisor to come onto campus. 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.

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