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Welcome Back and Important Updates from the Office of the President

September 2, 2020

Dear RIC Faculty and Staff,

As we begin the 2020-21 academic year, a year that is sure to be unlike any other we have ever experienced, I want to take this opportunity to say welcome back. Some of us will be here on campus and some of us will be teaching, learning and working remotely, but we remain united as one Rhode Island College community.

There are plenty of updates to share as we begin the new semester, so let’s dive right in.

Good News from US News

Last week U.S. News and World Report released its annual college rankings and Rhode Island College placed in the top 20 in the Northeast for regional comprehensives whose graduates have the least debt. This just reinforces our message that Rhode Island College provides the best value for a four-year degree in the Northeast.

Greetings from Faculty and Staff to RIC Students

Earlier this summer we asked faculty and staff to record video messages to our returning and incoming students, offering greetings and well wishes for the start of the new semester. Of course, the responses were overwhelming. I want to thank everyone who took the time to submit a video. We assembled a highlight reel which was shared with students via email and social media. You can view the video here.

First-Year Convocation

Like everything else, our First-Year Convocation will take on a different form this year. This annual rite of passage, which formally welcomes first-year, freshmen students into our academic community, will be held virtually on Wednesday, September 9 starting at 12 p.m. We have a tremendous program lined up, including our faculty keynote from Dr. Jeremy Benson. Dr. Benson is an educator, scholar and activist whose work focuses on the links among race, class, political economy, urban education and inequality in U.S. society. I encourage all of you to join us as this important RIC tradition goes virtual. The link to stream Convocation will be posted here.


I want to remind everyone that every Thursday is #RICSpirit Day. Even though many of us will not be on campus, I encourage everyone to wear their RIC apparel and school colors (burgundy, white and gold) with pride every Thursday. It’s just one more way we can all feel connected even when we can’t be together in person.

Parking Permits

Parking permits may now be requested online by accessing the Parking Page of the college website and completing the Parking Permit Request form. Once complete, a work order will be submitted and the requester’s permit will be mailed to them within several days. Although the procedure has changed, the campus police will continue to provide FREE parking passes to our campus community. In addition, all current faculty, staff and student parking permits will remain in force and DO NOT have to be replaced.

If members of the campus community have any questions about parking procedures, they should contact campus police at (401) 456-8888.

Sign up for RICAlert

We urge all members of the campus community to register for the college's RICAlert text messaging system. This emergency notification system allows the college to send an emergency text message through any mobile device to members of the college community for whom it has a mobile phone number and will only be used in the event of an emergency, including the small chance that classes would need to be delayed or cancelled. Please note: There may be a short delay before your subscription to RICAlert is activated. Additional information about RICAlert may be found on the website.

Health and Safety

There are a lot of important reminders and updates regarding the health and safety practices we need to abide by on campus to minimize the spread of COVID-19. First, I want to urge everyone to continue practicing the simple, crucial mitigation steps: wear your mask at all times on campus, wash and/or sanitize your hands frequently, maintain a safe social distance of at least six feet at all times, and minimize face-to-face meetings by using video, phone and other solutions as much as possible.

What Would Happen…if I see someone who is not wearing a mask or is not social distancing?

  • Let them know that wearing a mask and social distancing are steps we are taking to keep our campus community safe.
  • Let them know that masks, while supplies last, may be obtained from the Office of Public Safety located in the Welcome Center.
  • If they refuse to wear the mask or continue social distancing, tell your supervisor and send an email to The COVID-19 Response Team will follow up with HR and/or Student Success.

Health and Wellness Screenings

With the start of the new school year we begin a new protocol of health and wellness screenings on campus through a combination of the Rave Guardian app and our Anchor Health Ambassadors posted at key entrances to buildings. These are new systems and practices, so I ask you all for your patience as we implement these programs. I am sure there will be kinks to work out and lessons to learn in the early days of the semester, but if we all work together we will keep our campus safe.

As a reminder, please download the Rave Guardian app so that you can conduct your daily health screening. This can be found in the app store of your smartphone. You will also receive daily reminders in your campus email and can fill out your survey that way if you prefer. A green check from the Rave app, indicating that you are cleared to enter, will speed your entry into campus buildings. Please note that successfully completing the survey in the Rave app does not eliminate the need to communicate with your supervisor before coming to campus. You will still need to check in with your supervisor; the simplest way is to text or email them a photo of your green check from Rave.

Anchor Health Ambassadors

We will have Anchor Health Ambassadors (AHA) posted at key entrances throughout campus starting 30 minutes prior to the beginning of class or the opening of the building (e.g. Donovan Dining and the Adams Library). These ambassadors will screen everyone entering the building with a health and wellness check. Again, the easiest, fastest way to ensure timely entry into the building is to show the ambassador your green check from Rave app. (As an additional note, Adams Library, which will not be open to the public this semester, requires your RIC ID as well as a successful health and wellness check to enter.) Please follow the marked entrances and exits when entering and leaving the buildings.

Our incredible College Events and Conference Services team has taken on the new responsibility of managing the AHA program and I applaud them for quickly and effectively making this adjustment to their role on campus. However, we do not currently have full staffing to ensure that there will be an AHA at all buildings at all times. In the absence of an AHA, we ask everyone to self-screen using the Rave app and to not enter the building if they are feeling ill or displaying any symptoms associated with COVID-19, such as fever, nausea, cough or shortness of breath. There will be posters at the entrances reminding you of the protocol.

We are currently seeking additional AHAs. Anyone interested in becoming an Ambassador can apply via Handshake.

Contact Tracing

If we do have any reported cases of COVID-19 on campus, contact tracing will be essential to mitigating any possible spread. If you have not already done so, I strongly encourage you to download the CRUSH COVID RI app from your smartphone’s app store. It is the easiest, most effective way to manage contact tracing.

Asymptomatic Testing

We will open an asymptomatic testing site on campus beginning tomorrow, Thursday, September 3 from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. in the Student Union. Testing will continue weekly, every Tuesday and Friday thereafter, from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Testing is free and will prioritize faculty and staff who have been identified by their supervisors as in need of testing due to the nature of their work. Testing helps keep our community safe. The discomfort experienced during the testing is minimal, but the benefits of a safer campus community last much longer. To schedule a test, please email

Other Resources

For COVID-19 related questions:

General questions related to reopening (non-COVID-19):

General information on reopening and COVID-19 updates:

Thank You!

As always, I want to thank all of you for everything you have done and continue to do to keep our campus community safe and healthy, and to ensure a successful start to another school year. I am inspired by your perseverance, your adaptability, your ability to creatively solve the challenges in this new and unexpected learning environment, and your dedication to delivering on our college’s mission of a high-quality, high-value education for all. Together we will make this another great year at Rhode Island College!

Yours in education,

Frank D. Sánchez

Page last updated: October 22, 2020