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RIC Plans and Preparations for Fall 2021

March 5, 2021

Dear RIC Faculty and Staff,

Nearly one year ago to the day, I sent out the first of several communications about COVID-19, explaining our plans to maintain our focus on the health and well-being of our college community while we monitored the course of the pandemic. Through it all, the campus community has rallied together. You have been resilient, innovative and you have been bold. There are countless examples of extraordinary work that faculty and staff have done over the past year to ensure our students could continue their educational journey. It was, and continues to be, a heavy lift and I thank you!

Now, there is hope on the horizon as millions are being vaccinated across our state and nation.

For a college, nothing is more natural than the hustle and bustle of an active campus community filled with classes, activities, students, faculty, staff and visitors. With a clear focus on maintaining health and safety, we are actively preparing for a full return to on-campus teaching, learning and working at Rhode Island College this fall. In order to accomplish this, we will need the help of each division, department and office – it will require all of us to come together once again as we prepare for this long-overdue in-person RIC experience. 

However, we will not abandon many of the things we have learned through the course of the pandemic. We recognize that we have the ability to provide a more accessible education for all our students and look forward to offering more flexible options such as hybrid and online offerings. Some members of our community may continue to teach and work remotely. We will leverage technology to engage our students and colleagues in person and in the virtual space. We will do our best to ensure that each member of our community can participate in campus activities in a healthy and safe manner.

Here are just a few of the preliminary details that are emerging as we plan over the course of the next several months:


  • Spring 2021 Commencement activities will combine both in-person and virtual elements.
  • Summer classes will be offered in a predominately remote environment.
  • Fall classes will be in-person, with some classes offered online, in either synchronous, asynchronous or hybrid format.
  • Academic advising will be offered in person with options for virtual appointments and consultation.
  • Experiential learning, such as clinicals and other placements will be in person, with virtual/hybrid options.
  • Adams Library will continue to be open as it has throughout the course of the pandemic.

Student Experience

  • The college will offer on-campus housing for students.
  • The recreation center will be open to students and members of the campus community.
  • Dining services will be offered in the Donovan Dining Center with options for outside dining and grab-and-go.
  • Student services will be offered both on campus and virtually to provide greater service. This includes those services offered at RIC through the Office of Academic Support Services, Career Services, Financial Aid, Learning for Life, Center for Scholar Development, Records, Tutoring, Military Resource Center, Disability Services and more.
  • Student athletes will be allowed to practice, play and compete.
  • Campus activities will be offered in person, bringing together a unique and diverse set of social, educational and cultural events for students at Rhode Island College with some virtual options and enhancements.
  • Student health and counseling services will be available on-campus and virtually to accommodate the needs of our students.

The college will follow Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) guidance as we continue with all of our planning and we will continue to prioritize the health and safety of community while expanding our access and flexibility.

I know that announcing our decision for the fall will raise many more questions, which will be answered over the coming months. This initial communication gives a broad overview of our plan, but is not meant to encompass every detail. We will continue to keep you informed of our plans as we move forward.

In the meantime, if you should have any questions, please email

I look forward to seeing you all, in person, this coming fall.

Yours in education,

Frank D. Sánchez

Page last updated: March 09, 2021