R.I. to require all state employees to wear face coverings inside state facilities
Effective immediately, the University of Rhode Island is updating its health guidelines to include universal indoor masking for all faculty, staff, students, and visitors on campus, regardless of vaccination status. This measure is consistent with an announcement today by the State of Rhode Island that everyone entering a state facility, both visitors and employees, regardless of vaccination status, will be required to wear a face covering, unless they have a documented medical reason for an exemption. This step also follows recent U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations to reduce COVID-19 transmission on campus and help keep our community healthy and safe.
Face coverings will be required in indoor spaces where people gather, including classrooms, laboratories, dining and residential facilities. Like the state, the University allows for medical exemptions to its face-coverings guidance. The University has taken this important step as it prepares to welcome 17,000 students and nearly 3,000 employees to the community during the next month. Regarding student-athletes, they will follow the same universal masking protocols, with the exception of training and competition, as defined by the “NCAA’s Resocialization for Collegiate Sports Guidelines” for vaccinated student-athletes.
The University will continue to follow the data closely and monitor developments with the COVID-19 Delta variant, which is the prominent strain in Rhode Island and across the country. Full details on the University’s requirements for face coverings can be found here.
We hope that by taking this step, our students and the URI community can return to a “near normal” fall semester and participate in a full range of on-campus activities.
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 and now wearing face coverings indoors at URI are especially important in preventing the spread of the COVID-19 Delta variant, which the Rhode Island Department of Health says is more aggressive than other strains because it spreads more easily and quickly and may cause more serious illness.
The University requires all students to provide proof of vaccination or have an approved exemption by Aug. 16. As we approach the deadline, URI has already received proof of full vaccination from more than 11,000 students, with an approximately 94% vaccination rate for our new and returning students.
See full details on how students can provide proof of vaccination and how they can participate in vaccination clinics at URI.
Thank you to those community members who have been vaccinated and for abiding by the new universal masking policy. If we all work together, we can have an exciting and enjoyable fall semester.