University sends out new wave of updates in response to COVID-19

Isabella Gentile and Megan Willgoos, Editor-in-Chief and Managing Editor

The Emergency Response Team provided updates to the RWU community via email this evening regarding certain next steps and procedures for students, faculty and staff. 

As of March 11, there are no reported RWU students, faculty or staff with COVID-19 on either of the RWU campuses. Precautionary measures are being taken to protect the health and well-being of the RWU community. 

FOR STUDENTS:

Starting March 23, the university is transitioning to remote class instruction — this applies to the Bristol and Providence campuses and the School of Law, with the exception of Center for Workplace and Professional Development (CWPD) courses at the University College.

Before classes resume on this date, students should receive communications from their professors in regards to specific courses and any changes that will be made to instructional format or course requirements. The Emergency Response Team will provide guidance on performance-based and lab-based courses, practicum, CPC projects and internships over the next few days.

Students can come to campus to retrieve essential items from their dorm rooms and the mailroom on Sunday, March 15 and Monday, March 16 from 12-5 p.m. EST. Anyone who needs to collect their items must submit an Extended Spring Break Item Retrieval notification form so staff can be prepared to provide room access. The email specifically says students should not come to campus if they have any symptoms, and instead designate someone else to collect their items.

Any student who has extenuating circumstances and is requesting to remain on campus over extended spring break must fill out an Extended Spring Break Housing Exception Request form on Hawk Link. These forms will be reviewed by Student Life and decisions will be communicated back through students’ RWU email accounts. Access will not be granted until requests are formally approved.

Student Accessibility Services (SAS) staff will be contacting students with registered accommodations to review those during this transition period. These students can contact SAS Director Laura Choiniere at [email protected].

International students currently not on campus should contact Cassidy Hammond, Assistant Director of International Student and Scholar Initiatives, at (401) 254-3400 or [email protected] for questions related to housing and visa status.

Course advisement for Fall 2020 is still set to begin on March 16, with more information about the advising and registration process being sent to students and advisors soon.

Spring athletes are also expected to receive further information in the coming days.

Only Lower Commons will be open next week. Changes in the hours of operation can be found online.

The team said the most common question they are receiving right now regards refunds or credits for room and board fees. They expect to have more information by the end of next week on the topic of reimbursement and will communicate this information to students and parents once a decision is made.

Students who have questions regarding this situation can contact the Office of Student Life at (401) 254-3042 or [email protected]. Any students with health questions can call Health Services at (401) 254-3156.

FOR FACULTY/STAFF:

The university is remaining open, therefore faculty and staff are expected to work. 

Faculty and staff have been told not to come to work if they are experiencing any symptoms of illness. Options to work from home are available if a staff member has been given medical advice to self-quarantine. 

An information session will be held on Friday, March 13 from 12-1 p.m. in CAS 157 for any questions staff may have. Division vice presidents have been told to hold smaller staff meetings to answer particular questions within their teams. 

Training sessions for faculty on converting to digital courses will be held next week with dates to be decided. Faculty can come onto campus into their offices and classrooms to hold virtual classes. 

Sue Bosco can be contacted at (401) 254-3096 or [email protected] to answer faculty questions. Law school faculty can contact Jared Goldstein at (401) 254-4594 or [email protected] with any questions. 

TRAVEL AND EVENTS:

As of March 11, university and student organization travel is prohibited through the end of the semester, with exceptions for travel connected to advancement, recruitment and athletics.

University events with attendees of 50 or more are canceled now through March 29. By March 27, the school will provide updates for events scheduled in April and May. These would include events such as the spring concert and commencement ball.