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The University of Rhode Island issued a statement Wednesday afternoon canceling all face to face classes from March 16th-20th and beginning Monday, March 23, 2020, through at least Friday, April 3, 2020, all undergraduate and graduate classes will be delivered remotely. They are also advising students living in undergraduate residence halls to delay their return to campus through April 3rd.

Here’s the statement:

The University of Rhode Island’s cornerstone values seek to create and maintain an environment conducive to personal health and wellness. With the continued spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus) we have an imperative to take actions that slow the spread of this virus and protect those most vulnerable in our communities.

This is a difficult and extraordinary situation, and we recognize that people throughout our community are concerned for their personal health and that of their families and friends.

The health and well-being of the URI community is our top priority while ensuring the continuity of education and research, therefore, the University of Rhode Island is taking the actions listed below. We do not undertake any of these changes without careful consideration of the hardships and inconvenience that they may impose. Thank you for your patience and your understanding, as we navigate this challenging situation.

We understand that students, families, faculty and staff will have questions. Starting at 10 a.m. tomorrow (Thursday, March 12), the University will operate an information hotline, and those who have questions may dial 401-874-3082. The hotline will be staffed from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

All administrative and faculty offices remain open as usual.

Classroom Instruction

  • Beginning Monday, March 16, through Friday, March 20, 2020 all face-to-face undergraduate and graduate classes on all campuses are canceled.
  • Beginning Monday, March 23, 2020, through at least Friday, April 3, 2020, all undergraduate and graduate classes will be delivered remotely. All face-to-face instruction is suspended. This includes any class meetings.
  • Online classes will continue as scheduled.
  • Individual faculty are expected to be in contact with their students regarding their plans for remote instruction prior to Monday, March 23, 2020.

Labs, Practicums, Seminars, Studios, Capstones, Music, Theatre and Productions

  • Faculty will be developing plans for these specific learning opportunities in the coming days and will provide further guidance to students on how this important academic work will be continued.

Internships and Clinicals

  • All students should follow the guidance of the employers that they are working with regarding reporting to their internship or clinical.

Faculty and Teaching Assistant Resources

  • While classes are canceled, faculty and teaching assistants will be given the opportunity to transition their classes remotely starting immediately and during the week of March 16th while classes are cancelled.
  • Resources and guidance are available to assist in this temporary transition to remote teaching

Graduate and Faculty Research

  • Graduate and faculty research should continue as usual both on and off campus while following the guidance on social distancing and large gatherings.
  • Graduate researchers should consult with their faculty and faculty have the discretion to make decisions on the continuation of the research they oversee.
  • Thesis and dissertation defenses should be limited to the student and committee in attendance. Contact the Graduate School for any special arrangements.

Campus Activities

  • Beginning Friday, March 13, 2020, all events with 100 or more in-person participants are canceled or postponed through April 3, 2020, including those organized by outside community partners hosted on a URI campus. Organizers should consider offering their events via Webex or other alternative methods if possible.
  • Beginning Wednesday, March 11, currently scheduled interscholastic sporting events and other non-intercollegiate athletic events will compete as scheduled. However, fans will be prohibited from attending and only players, coaches and essential staff of the teams will be authorized to attend the events.
  • Groups with events scheduled after April 3, 2020 are urged to begin considering alternative plans in case future events will need to be canceled or postponed.
  • No new non-essential, in-person events should be scheduled until further notice.

Admitted and Prospective Students

  • Admitted and prospective students, please look for an update from the Office of Undergraduate Admission on changes and enhancements to spring visit and yield events.

Intercollegiate Athletics

  • Athletic directors and teams are instructed to follow the guidance of their respective athletic conferences.
  • Beginning Wednesday, March 11, currently scheduled intercollegiate events will compete as scheduled, however, fans will be prohibited from attending and only players, coaches and essential staff of the teams will be authorized to attend the events.

On Campus Housing

  • URI is committed to maintaining our daily operations and completing the semester. Therefore the residence halls will remain open and operational. Students living in undergraduate residence halls should delay their return to campus through April 3. The University understands that remaining at home may not be possible or prudent for everyone.
  • We request all resident students who anticipate needing housing to complete a “Statement of Intent” about their plans between now and April 3. This will ensure continued access to their room and allow us to plan for services for those living on-campus. The Statement of Intent form will be available via MyHousing (e-campus) under “Applications/Forms.” If you do return, access to university functions such as dining, recreation, health services will be available but limited.
  • As the residence halls will continue to be available, whether students choose to use them or not, no refunds will be issued.
  • Graduate student housing will continue to operate as normal with similar anticipated limited access to services listed above.

On Campus Dining

  • Dining will provide daily service to our residents, with hours and locations to be posted on our website and through the Student Affairs app. 

Student Employees and Work Study

  • Many students participate in essential work functions for the University or rely on work study programs. Students should contact their supervisor to discuss their plans regarding their return to campus.

Travel

  • Effective Monday, March 9, all University-sponsored international travel was suspended until May 1, 2020, subject to changes based on evolving circumstances. Exceptions for authorized international travel can be approved by the vice presidents and provost of the University. For more information about international travel and these exceptions review this URI international travel notice.
  • If you traveled on university business or for personal reasons over the Spring Break period to China, Iran, Italy, Japan, South Korea, or if you had contact with an individual with a confirmed case of COVID-19, please do not return to URI, and follow CDC travelers’ guidance while making sure you continue to self-quarantine for 14 days.  If you have traveled domestically, please monitor your health and if you become ill with a fever (T>100.4) or respiratory symptoms (cough, and/or shortness of breath), please call before presenting to your health care provider for evaluation.  
  • In addition, if you have invited international guests to visit campus during the next several months, please contact Vice Provost for Global Initiatives Gifty Ako-Adounvo (email: gako-adounvo@uri.edu phone: 401.874.2018) to discuss. Visitors from heavily affected areas may be prohibited from coming to campus. 
  • If you are considering domestic travel, please carefully monitor updates in the areas to which you are planning to travel. Doing so may help you avoid travel disruptions because of unexpected local health conditions.

Working Remotely

  • The University will temporarily follow the State of Rhode Island’s Teleworking Policy. Where telework is a viable work option and approval is granted in accordance with the Teleworking Policy, an employee may temporarily work from home. 
  • Employees out of work due to a mandatory quarantine period as a result of traveling on work-related business are eligible for paid administrative leave. 
  • Non-work-related exposure resulting in mandatory quarantine will be covered by available leave options including:
    • Sick leave
    • Family Sick Leave
    • Annual leave (vacation)
    • Compensatory leave
    • Leave without pay
    • Medical leave without pay  
  • If a case of COVID-19 is reported in the URI community, additional guidance will be provided regarding the procedures for people who contract COVID-19 or are exposed to the virus.

General Health Guidance

Please take steps to protect your health and the health of your coworkers by following guidance on prevention and care. If you feel unwell, please stay home.

According to the CDC, older people and people of all ages with severe underlying health conditions — like heart disease, lung disease and diabetes, for example — seem to be at higher risk of developing serious COVID-19 illness. These higher risk populations should follow CDC’s guidance to prevent illness including but not limited to avoiding close contact with people while in public and avoiding crowds as much as possible. 

These are the steps we can take to reduce risks and stay safe:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and warm water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand gel;
  • Sneeze and cough into your elbow or cover your mouth and nose with a tissue;
  • If you are sick, stay home from work, school. Avoid close contact with people who are sick;
  • Do not share utensils, water bottles, or other personal items. Many germs that cause viral illness are spread through saliva;
  • Wipe down common items like phones, keyboards, doorknobs, and railings with a disinfectant;
  • Do not travel if you are sick.  If you have a recurring fever, cough, or shortness of breath, contact your primary care doctor.

Students who are ill should call URI Health Services (401.874.2246) and not walk-in for services at this time to speak with a triage nurse per the recommendation of the Rhode Island Department of Health.  

Facilities and Cleaning

  • URI facilities and cleaning staff continue their efforts to clean common areas on campus with disinfectants, as they do each year during flu season. 
  • Additional training is being offered this week for staff to reinforce these practices and the training will be recorded on video for continued use. 

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