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News 5-29-20

University of Rhode Island Announces
Plans For Fall Semester

While a final decision about in-person classes has not yet been made, the university is making plans to keep students and staff safe.

By Rachel Nunes, Patch Staff
May 29, 2020 5:05 pm ET

uri sign
The University of Rhode Island is making plans to bring students back to campus in the fall. (Rachel Nunes/Patch)

KINGSTON, RI — The University of Rhode Island announced initial plans for the fall 2020 semester. Although a final decision has not yet been made if classes will be held on campus, the university outlined initial plans to keep students and staff safe.

"Now with the pandemic affecting every aspect of our daily lives, we are examining the critical elements that would be part of a thoughtful, systematic, and phased-in return to our campuses," the university said in a statement, promising to provide continued updates throughout the summer.

URI is "committed to reopening our campuses as much as we can," and is developing protocols to allow in-person classes to happen while preserving public health.

The following measures will be taken:

  • Physical distancing and room capacity limits will be required in most spaces on all University campuses.
  • Classroom capacity limits are being modified and any updates to course schedules will be provided this summer.
  • All URI community members will be required to wear face coverings while on any University campuses.
  • Improvements are underway to provide additional remote learning platforms. Updates regarding technology improvements and software availability will be provided throughout the summer.
  • All courses will need to have a plan to pivot to fully remote learning if the virus re-emerges or worsens in our community and/or on campus.

University buildings will reopen in phases. A coronavirus task force will be developed to create plans for physical distancing, requirement for face coverings and cleaning protocols, as well as obtaining plexiglass dividers, personal protective equipment and other supplies.

Testing guidelines will also be developed to ensure that cases are quickly identified and outbreaks are avoided.

Housing and residential life staff are developing plans to allow students back into resident and dining halls. Capacity limits are likely in these areas as well as other gathering spaces around the campus.

"The goal is to support as many on campus residents as possible while maintaining the health and safety of the students, support staff and URI community," the university said.

At this time, university officials are working to find a way to offer primarily in-person classes, which is ideal to most, the university said. Should that prove impossible, the next step would be a mixed approach, with the continuation of fully remote learning as the last resort.

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