Status of Reopening Plan: Message to Faculty and Staff
July 25, 2020
Dear RIC Faculty and Staff,
Over the last several weeks, I have received many phone calls and messages from students, parents, members of the faculty, staff and community who are eager to know the college’s plans for the upcoming year.
Today, I am announcing that Rhode Island College will be teaching, learning and working in a predominately remote environment as we start the academic year. We are deeply committed to maintaining our high quality, high value education while keeping our students, faculty and staff healthy and safe this coming academic year.
In addition, we will offer a modified housing and dining program, while providing limited opportunities for student-athletes to practice and compete in the fall season in accordance with NCAA health and safety protocols.
These decisions were not reached lightly. After review of guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Rhode Island Department of Health as well as consultation with experts in epidemiology, a team of dedicated faculty, staff, students and administrators considered all aspects of the college’s operations in order to develop our fall plan. We have heard from many students wanting an in-person academic experience and feeling more comfortable and productive in a face to face environment. We also know that a robust college experience includes the extracurricular experiences and social interactions that strengthen character, build resilience and foster relationships and connections to the college that last through life.
At the same time, there were several public health and other considerations that informed this decision, including, but not limited to, the following:
- Ninety-five percent of our students, faculty and staff commute every day, often from the most vulnerable communities that have been hardest hit by the pandemic coupled with unknown factors that hinder effective mitigation within a commuter campus setting.
- A comprehensive and campus-wide testing, quarantine and isolation program would be fiscally challenging to implement and challenging to ensure adequate health and safety measures were maintained.
- Resurgence of infection rates across the country also contributed to the decision to proceed cautiously with the plans to open in the fall.
Finally, our decision was made with the understanding that access to and delivery of high-quality academic programs and robust student experience is not possible unless our campus community is healthy and well. Simply put, our top priority is maintaining the health and safety of members of our campus community in the fulfillment of our mission.
Today, we present key elements of our plan. Yet, we are mindful that despite the many hours that have gone into developing our plan, things are sure to change. We will remain agile and flexible in our thinking in order to preserve the health and safety of our community.
Please visit our website to learn more about what things will be like at Rhode Island College this fall.
Together We Are Anchor Strong.
In announcing our decisions for the fall, we know that the community we serve will ask many detailed questions. This initial communication gives a broad overview of our plan, but is not meant to encompass every detail. More complete details of our plan are available on our website.
Please feel free to email us over the weekend and in the coming days at
email@example.com so that we can address your questions and concerns.
In addition, we are finalizing a series of fall 2020 webinars, designed for students and families, as well as faculty and staff, which include, but are not limited to the following topics:
- Fall Reopening 101: A Guide for the Campus Community
- COVID-19 and the Classroom: Supporting Faculty
- The Student Experience: What You Can Expect
- Anchor Strong: Understanding Our Health and Safety Standards
- Things You Need To Know About Testing and Supportive Quarantine and Isolation
- Supporting Students in the Virtual Environment
- Working On Campus or in the Remote Environment
- Staying Connected in the Midst of COVID19: Communications, Events and Activities
- ONE THING: Health, Wellness and Aloneness in the Midst of COVID-19
- Building Community in the Midst of Social Distancing
More information will be forthcoming next week and we encourage you to register for those as your schedule permits.
Finally, I would be remiss if I did not take a moment to express my deep appreciation and gratitude to members of the campus planning team for their tireless effort and commitment in developing these plans. Their work is a testament of the college’s pledge to promote a healthy and safe environment while delivering the highest quality experience for our campus community.
Yours in education,
Frank D. Sánchez