Is the end of RIC’s mask mandate coming?
Updated: Mar 11, 2022
RIC’s mask mandate remains in place until at least March 21.
“Our spring break scheduled from March 7 – March 11, means that many students, faculty, and staff will travel to states where the COVID-19 transmission rate is significantly higher than in Rhode Island,” said President Sánchez in an email sent to the RIC community. “Therefore, I have accepted the recommendation of the RIC COVID-19 Steering Committee to keep the mask mandate in place at RIC until at least Monday, March 21, 2022.”
Even though the statewide mask mandate Governor Dan McKee lifted expired on March 4 – each college is able to decide on their own masking policies.
Some colleges in Rhode Island moved quicker to make masking optional, like CCRI and Providence College. RIC is closely related to CCRI from the student perspective as both colleges are the most affordable in the state. CCRI’s masking policy states “Effective March 13, masking will be optional for all employees and students. We strongly encourage individuals who are not yet vaccinated or have an approved medical/religious exemption to continue to wear a high-quality (KN95 or N95) mask. And, we strongly support and respect all individuals who choose to continue to wear a mask to protect themselves and others,”.
Other colleges are making the mask mandate optional, for the most part, such as the University of Rhode Island and Roger Williams University.
“Beginning Friday, March 4, at 5 p.m., the University of Rhode Island will, based on CDC/RIDOH guidance, adjust our policies and no longer require community members to wear masks indoors on campus except for those spaces where direct academic instruction and research are taking place,” URI’s masking policy states. The policy adds, “While wearing masks in most indoor areas is optional, please keep in mind there remains a benefit to masking and there are people in our community who will continue to wear them. Please respect their decisions.”
Sánchez awaits the college’s COVID-19 Steering Committee to create the criteria that will determine if RIC’s mask mandate can safely end. He added, “I am hopeful that COVID-19 cases will continue to decline and come March 21 we can remove the mask mandate at Rhode Island College.”
It is highly speculated by the students that March 21 will be the light at the tunnel for the dark days of mask wearing.