Vaccination, COVID-19 updates

These have been extraordinary times as the world deals with the global COVID-19 pandemic, but we are optimistic that vaccines will be more widely available in the coming months for all members of the URI community. The University has been working closely with the State of Rhode Island on vaccine plans as well as other aspects of the COVID-19 response that include testing, contact tracing, and quarantine/isolation.

We all desire a return to normalcy and the best way to reach that goal is through vaccination. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention strongly recommends that all adults be vaccinated as they become eligible. Currently, vaccine priorities and availability are determined by each state. In Rhode Island they are determined by the Rhode Island Department of Health along with the Governor’s Vaccine Advisory Committee.

The University continues to advocate for all members of our community to have access to COVID-19 vaccines. Our current understanding is that the State of Rhode Island will offer vaccination to all college students regardless of residency status, but some students may be able to receive the vaccine sooner in their home state. URI encourages all members of the University community to continue to check their home state’s government website frequently to learn about eligibility and how to schedule an appointment. While vaccine availability may vary by your local area, all currently approved vaccines are effective, safe and have received federal emergency use authorization. As Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases says, the best vaccine is the one available to you.

For your convenience, click here to view the State of Rhode Island’s vaccine information. Currently, Rhode Island eligibility includes individuals 60 years of age or older, and people who are 16 to 64 years old with specific underlying health conditions along with previously prioritized groups (public safety, health care workers, etc.). You may also click here for URI-specific information about COVID-19 vaccination.

At the request of the State of Rhode Island, we are reminding all URI community members that campus housing is not a congregate care setting and, accordingly, campus residents are asked not to register for vaccination on this basis. Any such vaccine appointments will not be honored and making such appointments delays vaccine access for those individuals who are currently eligible.

Until we have the majority of our community members vaccinated, all members of the URI community must continue to adhere to the health and safety guidelines including:

  • Washing your hands often and for at least 20 seconds, or using and alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • Wearing a face covering/face mask at all times in public
  • Avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
  • Practicing physical distancing by staying at least 6 feet away from others
  • Limiting close contact to those with whom you live
  • Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces daily
  • Staying home if you’re not feeling well
  • Completing the daily self-assessment before coming to campus
  • Participating in the surveillance testing program

URI’s requirements for these and other measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 can be found here.

As spring approaches and vaccination programs are being ramped up here in Rhode Island and around the country, there is reason for optimism. But our community must stay vigilant and continue to follow health and safety guidance. Our thanks to the entire URI community for its efforts to help keep each other safe. #rhodytogether