We hope you enjoyed some well-deserved rest over spring break and want to wish you a great rest of the semester. As we monitor COVID-19 conditions in our community, we remind everyone that masks are still required in all classrooms, learning and laboratory settings where active instruction is taking place, Health Services, and while riding on public transportation. We will continue to monitor testing data at URI and at the state level this week as many members of our community have returned following break and travel. Next week we will reassess the University’s COVID-19 guidance after further review of cases. Optional masking continues to be recommended for individuals who are immunocompromised or at high risk for disease, as well as for anyone who has a personal preference.
The University plans to move asymptomatic testing from the Memorial Union Atrium to Health Services beginning Monday, April 4. All testing will be done at the Health Services trailer in the parking lot across from the Potter Building. Symptomatic and asymptomatic testing will continue to be available weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. with symptomatic testing also available on Saturdays and Sundays from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Recently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reclassified community risk based on metrics such as hospital beds being used, hospital admissions, and the total number of new COVID-19 cases in an area. Currently the entire state of Rhode Island is classified as LOW community level. More information on this new COVID risk classification is available here.
The University is therefore shifting from conducting routine surveillance testing to concentrating on providing same-day testing for individuals who have symptoms of COVID-19 and/or those who have been identified as a known exposure.
Staff and faculty members who test positive for the COVID-19 virus and are immunocompromised or at risk for severe disease should consult with their primary care provider about whether they are a candidate for antiviral medication. Nationwide COVID-19 Test-to-Treat Programs are being rolled out in most states and Rhode Island currently has a good supply of therapeutics to treat COVID-19, with 62 locations across Rhode Island where individuals can access testing and treatment. Students should call URI Health Services for a telehealth appointment if they test positive and are immunocompromised or at risk for severe disease to discuss therapeutics.
We cannot state strongly enough that widespread vaccination among students, faculty and staff continues to be the best way to limit transmission of the COVID-19 virus and reduce the chance of death or serious illness related to a COVID-19 infection. COVID-19 vaccines and booster shots are safe and widely available. For more information on nearby and upcoming vaccine clinics, please visit the Health Services website.
The health and safety of our community remain our main focus and with six short weeks left in the semester before we transition to final exams, we ask all members of the community to continue to practice good respiratory and hand hygiene and if you have COVID-19 symptoms stay home from work or school and obtain a test the same day.
Enjoy the warmer weather and let’s finish the semester strong.