Alexis Rapoza & Raymond Baccari
News Editor & Anchor Staff Writer
PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Rhode Island College plans to be reopened for in-person learning and teaching in the Fall 2021 semester. On March 11, RIC announced on their social media and through a campus-wide email, that official Fall 2021 plans would be released soon. However, the college did state that the majority of Fall classes are expected to be in-person, with online and hybrid options available for some classes.
While the plans for reopening may seem like they are inevitable, they are subject to change. Student Community Government President, David Blais, said,“One thing I do want people to keep in mind is that this plan is subject to change. I love the optimism, enthusiasm and celebration of this plan. However, things could change within a matter of a day with the nature of the pandemic. I’m the biggest cheerleader there is for in person classes. I want it to happen. But I think one thing people need to keep in mind is the changing nature of the situation.”
The reopening plans depend on whether COVID-19 cases continue to decline and vaccination rates continue to go up. Details for the college’s reopening are still being finalized.
Assistant Director College Communications and Marketing, John Taraborelli, told The Anchor, “We are planning for all classes that would normally be conducted in-person to be in-person.” These plans are subject to change based on guidance from the Rhode Island Department of Health. Taraborelli continued, “We are also working to expand options for online classes in synchronous, asynchronous and hybrid formats to better accommodate students whose needs are not best served by traditional in-person class schedules, such as adult learners who work during the day.”
“We know the value an active campus community filled with classes, activities, students, faculty, staff and visitors brings to the student experience, and we will do our best to ensure that each member of our community can participate safely.” Interim Vice President for Student Success, Ducha Hang, said.
Preliminary plans for the fall semester include: on-campus housing offerings, on-campus and off-campus student success services and in-person campus activities.
When asked if students will be required to get vaccinated before returning to campus, Taraborelli said, “We expect to receive guidance from the RIDOH on this issue.” He continued, “It is our hope that everyone who is able to get vaccinated does so. That is one of the most effective ways to ensure the health and safety of our campus community.”
Details for the upcoming Spring 2021 commencement are still being finalized. Taraborelli said, “Our intention is for commencement to combine both in-person and virtual elements.” Students should expect more information later this semester.
All classes offered over the summer will be virtual. “We are cautiously optimistic that by the fall semester, a combination of vaccinations and other COVID-19 mitigation measures will have brought the pandemic under control to the point that we can safely resume in-person instruction.” Taraborelli continued, “However, at this point we cannot assure that enough progress will be made on that front in time for the start of summer sessions.”
To read more about RIC’s reopening plans click here.