Rhode Island College’s Spring 2022 semester will start off differently than last semester. For the first three weeks, the majority of classes will be held remotely. Exceptions include classes that have to be in-person, but won’t start in-person instruction until this week. All the guidelines for this semester, as they were last semester, are all in coordination with the Rhode Island Department of Health and the CDC.
For the first three weeks when things are majority remote, here is the layout of campus life:
Campus will remain open to the public, with appointments encouraged.
Campus tours will be conducted by appointment.
There will be no events on campus, unless otherwise exempted or approved by Health Services.
Residence Halls and Dining Services will remain open, with grab-and-go options available.
Athletic programs will be curtailed with appropriate mitigation.
The Recreation Center will be closed.
Library services will be remote only.
Before coming back to campus students need an approved medical/religious exemption or are required to be fully vaccinated, including the booster shot. The eligibility for the booster shot is six months after the second dose of Pfizer and Moderna or two months after a Johnson & Johnson dose. At least one shot must have been received before Jan. 18.
The vaccination record must be uploaded to RIC’s MediCat portal. New students for the spring will have no greater than four weeks to be fully vaccinated from the start of spring semester. Those who had a religious or medical exemption in the Fall must renew their exemption for this semester.
Testing guidelines for in-person and hybrid classes for the first three weeks, and the semester, will vary from student to student:
Commuter students who have a hybrid or in-person class during the first three weeks, and who are vaccinated but aren’t yet eligible for booster need to test once a week during the time that the College is operating remotely.
Commuter students who are vaccinated but aren’t eligible for a booster are recommended to test once per week until their booster is received when classes are in person again.
Commuter students who are not vaccinated, and have an approved medical or religious exemption have to test once a week throughout the semester.
Some programs and activities’ testing guidelines will vary, which could supersede the other requirements. Those who are in one of these categories will be notified.
One thing that is clear is that within the 72 hours of the first class in-person, students will need to also upload a negative COVID test result from a test done off-campus.
One area where the guidelines are very different from the Fall semester is the social distancing guidelines. Other colleges didn’t have the same social distancing measures as RIC. These are the new social distancing guidelines:
All individuals must maintain a minimum physical distance of three feet from others while on the RIC campus.
In the fall, classes, meetings or events with a certain percentage of unvaccinated students were required to maintain six feet social distancing. Due to the expected reduction in exemptions this spring, and the low numbers of classroom transmission reported in Rhode Island among institutions without such a requirement, RIC will not begin the semester with the six feet requirement for classrooms. The college will continue to monitor.
Some of the classes that are hybrid and/or in-person for the first three weeks are splitting into two separate classes/sections. For example, in COMM 246, there was only a Friday section. Now the course needs to be split into another section held on Tuesdays; which may cause inconveniences for students who had to swap time slots.
The guidelines are creating a different experience as compared to last semester. However, the cases at RIC remain very low compared to the rest of the state, but the risk of COVID transmission is high. Since the guidelines could be updated as the number of cases and variants change, The Anchor will provide updates as these changes occur.