COVID-19 updates for start of fall semester

As we begin our fall semester, we want to remind the community of the University’s expectations related to protecting our community from COVID-19. Please review the following guidelines, information and instructions carefully.

Vaccination policy

The University strongly recommends that all students, faculty, and staff be vaccinated and obtain all recommended boosters to protect themselves from COVID-19. The vaccine has been proven to be safe and extremely effective in averting serious illness or death. URI will be hosting a COVID vaccination booster clinic on-campus Sept. 21 and is hoping to be able to offer the newly approved bivalent vaccine if it is available in the state. The vaccine offers protection against the original strain of SARS-CoV-2 and the omicron strain. We will send an updated communication in the coming weeks.

All students are asked to upload any new COVID-19 vaccinations that were not received in Rhode Island to the patient portal. See instructions.


Students who test positive for COVID-19 will need to return home to isolate themselves if it is safe for them to do so without using public transportation. Students unable to return home will be required to isolate themselves in their rooms for a minimum of five days and will be able to resume normal activities on day six (while wearing a mask) if symptoms have improved or resolved.

Masking on campus

The University no longer requires community members to wear masks indoors, except in those spaces where direct academic instruction and research are taking place unless a faculty member waives the requirement. Masks are also required at URI Health Services in clinical settings. Please remember to bring a mask to your classes/labs. This policy will remain in effect until further notice while we assess transmission rates on our campus as we come back together.

We continue to encourage people to be respectful of others and to understand we have individuals in our community who are immunocompromised, at high risk for severe disease, have children or others in their homes who cannot be vaccinated, or are uncomfortable with the change in mask requirements. Please be respectful of personal choice and also stay home from work or class if you are sick.

The University reserves the right to reinstate masking restrictions based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Rhode Island Department of Health guidance and conditions on campus and in the community.

Testing on campus

Consistent with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, URI Health Services has shifted from conducting routine surveillance testing to concentrating on providing same-day testing for students who have symptoms of COVID-19 and/or those who have been exposed to a case and identified as a close contact. Tests can be obtained at Health Services during normal clinic hours.

Faculty and staff who are symptomatic and/or exposed can contact their primary care provider, visit an urgent care center, or find testing sites in the community. Staff and faculty members who test positive for the COVID-19 virus should notify their supervisors. Faculty and staff should also notify their primary care providers, particularly if they are immunocompromised or at risk for severe disease, to determine whether they are candidates for antiviral medication.

We wish everyone a successful start to the fall semester!