Keeping our community healthy and safe through Thanksgiving

This message is sent on behalf of the Office of the Provost and URI’s Division of Student Affairs.

Given the rising number of COVID-19 cases in Rhode Island and across the country and to support the health and safety of our students, staff, and faculty, and their families, the University has decided to move classes online starting Monday, Nov. 23. Most regularly scheduled classes on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday next week will now be delivered virtually. General exceptions to virtual delivery include clinical, internship, and practicum courses that will continue in their current mode of delivery, as well as experiential and project-based classes that rely on specialized equipment and/or facilities at the University. Specific exceptions include:

  • Undergraduate Nursing Program: clinicals, labs, and simulation continue next week and pivot after Nov. 25
  • Graduate Nursing Program: clinicals, labs, and simulation continue in person through duration of semester
  • Physical Therapy: final practical exams for first- and second-year students will continue next week per your instructor
  • Music: music studio (including recitals), rehearsal, lab and practicum courses will continue next week per your instructor

Any student unsure about the plans for a specific class next week should contact their instructor for further guidance.

We understand that this change on short notice may pose some challenges to students, staff, and faculty, but we believe it is the most prudent option to safeguard our community and reduce the potential for transmission over the weekend and next week. Our goal is to maximize the likelihood that our students return home safely and that faculty and staff have a healthy and well-deserved Thanksgiving holiday. For those faculty needing assistance in shifting their courses online three days earlier than anticipated, you may contact either the ITS Virtual Help Desk or the ATL Remote Teaching and Learning Resource.

Given the increasing spread of the virus across the state, it is important that we do our part to minimize the further spread of the virus.

We thank all of our students, faculty and staff who have been working so hard to help protect our Rhody community against the spread of COVID-19. Without your cooperation, we could not have made it to this point in the semester.

With one week until Thanksgiving break, it is more important than ever to continue following health guidelines, including wearing face coverings with those outside of our immediate household, physical distancing, keeping to small and stable group sizes, and maintaining good hand hygiene.

We all look forward to traveling to our respective homes, and spending time with family and friends during the holidays. Of course, this may also mean saying goodbye to our University family for a time. In the past, it was completely acceptable to host a farewell party or “Friendsgiving” prior to leaving for an extended period of time. That is not the case this year.

COVID-19 remains an extremely contagious virus with potentially devastating health consequences. The best way to keep yourself and your loved ones safe is to continue to limit your potential exposure. The recent Rhode Island executive order reduced the allowable size of social gatherings to 10 people or fewer. This means that each one of us should continue to restrict the total number of people with whom we interact to the smallest number of individuals possible – fewer than 10 in all.

We also want to remind students that the policies and sanctions contained in the URI Student Handbook apply to on- and off-campus students. This semester, students who have violated our handbook have been suspended from the University. They will not be returning next semester because they had a party. Many more have been placed on probation. Additionally, state and local authorities are prepared to fine violators of the executive order both on and off campus – this includes issuing fines to any host of a party or gathering of $500 for each person attending above the 10-person limit.

We are extremely grateful to our entire community for the work that it has done to keep us together this long. We ask that in the final week of our in-person semester that you stay focused and continue to do all that you can to keep our community and our families safe by limiting the spread of this virus.

We also ask that students understand the importance of remaining at home during break. When we set the schedule for this fall, we established an expectation that students would leave for Thanksgiving or Winter Break and not return until the start of second semester. We ask for your help in this regard. Many students will want to travel back and forth between campus or their rental housing and elsewhere, and we need your commitment to stay put in your home communities until late January. Although it is easy to think “I’m only one person, I have been safe, and me going back to campus will have little impact,” the truth is that one person multiplied by several thousand does have an impact on the larger community.

For everyone’s safety, we hope you will recognize why it is important not to return to campus. As multiple sources are emphasizing, any travel is risky right now. Staying in one spot will help our collective efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19.

We wish you all a happy and safe holiday season and look forward to the new year and resuming in-person classes.