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​Status of Reopening Plan: Message to RIC Students

July 25, 2020

Dear RIC Students,

We are excited to welcome over 1,400 new anchors to our RIC community and are thrilled to welcome back our returning students.

Over the last several weeks, I have received many phone calls and messages from students and  families who are eager to know the college’s plans for the upcoming year. I want you to know that as we contemplated our plans for the fall, we were driven by our commitment to provide a safe environment and high-quality academic and campus experience for each of our students.

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.

Classes will resume Monday, August 31 according to the published academic calendar. 

While most classes will be offered online, in either synchronous or asynchronous format, select studio and laboratory classes and classes for first-year students may be offered in-person. Classes may be offered in a hybrid format in certain cases. On Wednesday, August 5, students will be able to log into their MyRIC account to view their updated course schedules.

For those limited number of classes taking place in-person, students and faculty can expect visual/verbal screening prior to entering the academic building for classroom instruction.  Face coverings will be required while in the classroom, unless there is an underlying health condition or ADA accommodation in place. 

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.

Even in the remote environment, one thing will remain the same and that is our commitment to you. Whether you are starting, continuing or finishing your degree, we will deliver high-quality academic instruction and actively engage you in the campus community through innovative programming and unique opportunities to network with your classmates and friends. We will continue to provide student health and counseling services to help our students preserve their physical and mental well-being during this extraordinary time.  

Together We Are Anchor Strong.

In announcing our decisions for the fall, we know that other critical questions are immediately coming to mind. 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 reach out to members of our team with your questions related to:

Please also feel free to email us over the weekend and in the coming days at 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, which include, but are not limited to the following topics: 

  • Fall Reopening 101: A Guide for the Campus Community 
  • The Student Experience: What You Can Expect 
  • Supporting Students in the Virtual Environment
  • ONE THING: Health, Wellness and Aloneness in the Midst of COVID-19

More information will be forthcoming next week and we encourage you to register for those as your schedule permits. 

We look forward to you seeing you in the fall.

Yours in education,

Frank D. Sánchez

Page last updated: July 28, 2020