We hope you are doing well and congratulate you for your hard work and dedication, which has allowed you to successfully get to the final week of classes for the fall 2020 semester. It has been a difficult and challenging time for everyone. This semester was not the university experience we are normally accustomed to. We know it was hard, however, we are thankful that we came together successfully as a community, and we will finish Rhody strong.
We understand that you may have questions regarding the start of the spring semester, given the rising number of COVID-19 cases nationwide, and the news that Rhode Island reported more cases per capita than any other state last week. As we know, a vaccine for COVID-19 is on its way, so we are hopeful and looking to the future, to the spring semester and well beyond.
Next week we will announce details about the spring semester along with dates for move-in and return to in-person classes. We do know that plans will include testing all of our students when they return to their on-campus living spaces and their rental homes in nearby communities. We also expect that all students will need to quarantine for a period of time when they return for the semester.
While things continue to evolve as they have since the very beginning of the pandemic almost a year ago, a few things will not change. The need for every member of our campus community to take responsibility for their own and community members’ health and safety will remain as critical as it has been all year. That means we will all need to:
- Restrict close encounters to the people with whom you live
- Stay physically distant, at least 6 feet apart
- Wear face coverings, which research has shown protect the wearer and those you encounter
- Complete the daily health attestation if you are coming to campus for any reason
- Stay home if you are ill, even mildly ill
- Wash hands frequently with soap and water or hand sanitizer and regularly sanitize common surfaces
Like our preparations for the fall semester, we have been involved in ongoing and multiple sessions with teams across the University, and all our plans are developed in close consultation with the Rhode Island Department of Health. Every facet of the University — from Emergency Management and Student Affairs to Facilities, Academic Affairs, and Athletics — is implementing best procedures and practices to make sure our community members remain healthy and able to accomplish their goals.
You can go to uri.edu/emergency/covid/ for the latest university-specific guidance/requirements related to face coverings, events and isolation/quarantine. These documents are being updated regularly as new guidance is received from the health department and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
We know that this holiday season has to be different. We will all miss many of our traditions and being with friends and family, but we wish you much peace and joy this season. Let us all set our sights on an amazing 2021 and make new Rhody memories together!