University continues to monitor COVID-19 data, trends

Vaccinated community members should feel comfortable wearing face coverings for added protection.

The University of Rhode Island continues to monitor data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Rhode Island Department of Health regarding the increase in COVID-19 cases in Rhode Island and the nation.

While the University has not issued new guidance on indoor use of face coverings, it encourages faculty, staff, students and visitors to take the necessary steps to make themselves feel comfortable and safe. One of those steps, even for those fully vaccinated, is to wear a face covering indoors, especially in large groups and because community members may not be aware of others’ vaccination status. University policy requires all members of the community who are not fully vaccinated to wear face coverings indoors.

Recommendations and requirements around mask wearing may change in the coming month before classes begin. At this time (August 5th), while masks are not required indoors for those vaccinated, faculty may require all students in their class to wear a mask regardless of vaccination status.  This class-specific requirement should be communicated in the course syllabus and through email/Brightspace to all enrolled students in advance of the first class meeting. Students who do not comply may be reported through the Student Conduct process (see General Conduct Report).

Community members can go to the University’s COVID-19 website for additional details.

The University is NOT changing its policy on face coverings/masks at this time, but we cannot state strongly enough that widespread vaccination among students, faculty and staff is the best way to ensure that the University community is able to enjoy a dynamic and comprehensive in-person experience in the fall. Vaccination is especially important in preventing the spread of the COVID-19 Delta variant, which the Department of Health says is more aggressive than other strains.

The University requires all students to provide proof of vaccination or an approved exemption by Aug. 16. Although URI is two weeks out from that deadline, we are pleased that more than half of all students have submitted the appropriate documentation. We thank our students for taking this important step. Remember, all students must provide either proof of full vaccination or submit a formal request for a religious or medical exemption.

See URI Health Services for full details on how students can provide proof of vaccination and how students, faculty and staff can participate in vaccination clinics at URI.

Thank you to those community members who have been vaccinated for your commitment to a healthy and safe URI community. We will provide updates as conditions change and as we see new guidance from the CDC and the Rhode Island Department of Health.

We want to remind community members that three ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19 are: Get vaccinated; wear a face covering indoors even if you are vaccinated; and do not come to campus if you are ill or exhibiting any of the symptoms of COVID-19.

If we work together, we can have an exciting and enjoyable fall semester.