Spring semester: Here are the current COVID-19 plans for local colleges, universities

School Updates

(WPRI) — With the emergence of the omicron variant and COVID-19 cases spiking locally and around the country, colleges and universities are reevaluating their plans for the upcoming semester.

Below is a comprehensive list of higher education plans for spring 2022 in Southeastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island, including mask and vaccination requirements, testing options and how classes will begin at each institution, as announced so far. This list will be updated.

Bridgewater State University

  • Masks: Yes (through at least March 4, 2022)
  • Fully Vaccinated: Yes; students and staff
  • Boosters: Yes; students and staff
  • Offering testing: Yes, optional for fully vaccinated
  • Not vaccinated: Weekly testing
  • Classes: Jan. 19; per a university spokesperson, “Bridgewater State University is planning to start the spring semester (January 19) with its published course schedule that includes in-person classes, online classes and hybrid courses (both in-person and online).”

Brown University

  • Masks: Yes; KN95 masks we will be distributed starting Mon. Jan. 14, and all members of the community should wear KN95 masks (or KF94 masks) or disposable/surgical masks while on-campus.
  • Vaccinated: Yes; students and staff
  • Boosters: Yes; students and staff no later than Jan. 26, or within 30 days of becoming eligible
  • Offering testing: Ending optional PCR testing for vaccinated community members on Friday, Jan. 14, will require undergrads to take two rapid antigen tests every week, 24 hours apart, “until health conditions reflect it is no longer necessary.” Asymptomatic testing remains optional for fully vaccinated graduate and medical students and faculty and staff. 
  • Not vaccinated: Testing required twice a week (every four days)
  • Classes: The university reopened as scheduled on Jan. 4. Classes for students in the Warren Alpert Medical School and the Gateways to Medicine program started on Jan. 3. Undergraduate and graduate classes will resume in-person on Jan. 26.

Bryant University

  • Masks: Yes, “required in many indoor areas, except when seated in a dining facility and enjoying a meal, when students are in their private residence area, or when an employee is alone in a room with floor to ceiling walls and a closed door in accordance with Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) Vaccination and Testing Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS).”
  • Vaccinated: Yes; students and staff
  • Boosters: Yes when eligible; students and staff, by Jan. 24 or within 10 days once eligible
  • Offering testing: Yes, optional for fully vaccinated; Bryant Health Services will continue to provide rapid Cepheid tests for students with symptoms.
  • Not vaccinated: Weekly testing
  • Classes: Jan. 27; planning for in-person return

CCRI

  • Masks: Yes, except at a workstation/private office that is enclosed or when eating/drinking
  • Vaccinated: Yes; students and staff
  • Boosters: Yes when eligible; students and staff
  • Offering testing: Yes, optional for fully vaccinated
  • Not vaccinated: Must show proof of negative rapid COVID test within 24 hours of coming to campus
  • Classes: Jan. 18; remote through Feb. 14

Johnson & Wales University

  • Masks: Yes
  • Vaccinated: Yes
  • Boosters: Yes, when eligible
  • Offering testing: Yes, optional for fully vaccinated
  • Not vaccinated: Sentinel testing
  • Classes: Classes will begin on Jan. 10, but transition back to in-person learning on Tuesday, Jan.18 (following the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday on Jan. 17)

New England Institute of Technology

  • Masks: Yes; may be removed only when eating or drinking and then must be put back on once finished.  All residential students must wear masks everywhere in the residence hall except when in their rooms with no guests. Only vaccinated employees may remove their masks when they are alone in their offices.
  • Vaccinated: Required for students; strongly recommended for staff, but required for A.) faculty and staff who visit clinical sites; and B.) employees in the Shipbuilding/Advanced Manufacturing Institute (SAMI) program who are considered covered employees under the Federal Contractor Vaccine Mandate.
  • Boosters: Required for students by Feb. 18 or within 30 days of becoming eligible; strongly recommended for staff, but required for A.) faculty and staff who visit clinical sites; and B.) employees in the Shipbuilding/Advanced Manufacturing Institute (SAMI) program who are considered covered employees under the Federal Contractor Vaccine Mandate.
  • Offering testing: Yes, optional for fully vaccinated
  • Not vaccinated: Ongoing surveillance testing every two weeks
  • Classes: Winter session begins Jan. 10; Spring semester begins March 28

Providence College

  • Masks: Yes, and masks are now required at Dunkin’ Donuts Center events, including Friar basketball games
  • Vaccinated: Yes; students and staff
  • Boosters: Yes; students and staff by Feb. 1, or when eligible
  • Offering testing: Yes, optional for fully vaccinated
  • Not vaccinated: As of fall 2021 guidance, full-time vaccine-exempt students are required to be tested twice weekly for COVID-19 at the on-campus facility. The requirement for part-time vaccine-exempt students is one weekly test.
  • Classes: Jan. 18; per a university spokesperson, “As of this moment, we are fully planning to be in person.”

Rhode Island College

  • Masks: Yes
  • Vaccinated: Yes; students and staff
  • Boosters: Yes; students and staff, by Jan. 18 or when eligible
  • Offering testing: Asymptomatic, required if hybrid or in-person during first three weeks remote
  • Not vaccinated: Students tested twice weekly, staff once weekly
  • Classes: Jan. 18; remote until Feb. 7, will consult with RIDOH about returning to in-person

Rhode Island School of Design

  • Masks: RISD will continue to require that face coverings be worn indoors, except while eating, but they can be removed in outdoor settings. Unvaccinated individuals should continue to wear face coverings outdoors if they cannot practice physical distancing. Students may remove face coverings when in their residence hall rooms, even in the presence of their roommates. Employees may remove face coverings when working alone in their offices.
  • Vaccinated: RISD requires all students to receive the COVID-19 vaccination to be enrolled for the winter session and spring semester. RISD does not require employee vaccination, but does require disclosure of whether employees have received the vaccine.
  • Boosters: All students are required to receive a COVID-19 booster shot no later than Feb. 1 or within 14 days of becoming eligible. Staff not required to receive a booster shot, but required to disclose vaccine status by Feb. 1.
  • Offering testing: Yes; RISD will conduct 1,500 surveillance tests per week during the winter session. On-campus students, faculty and staff will be placed into weekly or biweekly testing schedules and are required to participate.
  • Not vaccinated: Tested weekly and will be subject to corrective action for non-compliance
  • Classes: Jan. 6; RISD will pivot to a remote start of classes from Jan. 6–13, with classes resuming in-person on Jan. 14

Roger Williams University

  • Masks: Yes
  • Vaccinated: Yes; students and staff
  • Boosters: Yes; students and staff by Feb. 1 or when eligible
  • Offering testing: Yes, once per week if fully vaccinated
  • Not vaccinated: Tested twice per week
  • Classes: Jan. 10 at RWU Law begin remotely for the first two weeks; Jan. 24 all other classes begin, planning for fully in-person

Salve Regina University

  • Masks: Yes
  • Vaccinated: Yes; students and staff
  • Boosters: Yes; students and staff by March 1; contact human resources if not eligible by that date
  • Offering testing: Yes, optional for fully vaccinated
  • Not vaccinated: Regular surveillance testing required
  • Classes: Delayed by one week to Jan. 17; per a university spokesperson, all classes will be in-person

UMass Dartmouth

  • Masks: Yes
  • Vaccinated: Yes; students and staff
  • Boosters: Yes; students and staff once eligible
  • Offering testing: Only individuals required to be tested can participate in the on-campus testing program and will receive instructions from Health Services on how to complete their testing requirement
  • Not vaccinated: Weekly testing
  • Classes: Jan. 18, planning for in-person

University of Rhode Island

  • Masks: Yes
  • Vaccinated: Yes; students and staff
  • Boosters: Yes; students and staff by Jan. 24. Those who are not yet eligible to receive the booster will have 30 days after eligibility to upload proof.
  • Offering testing: Yes, optional for fully vaccinated
  • Not vaccinated: Tested twice weekly
  • Classes: Jan. 24; per a university spokesperson, “The University continues to monitor and follow updated guidelines from the R.I. Department of Health and the CDC, but at this time the University will start classes as scheduled for the Spring Semester on January 24.”

Wheaton College

  • Masks: Yes, but masks are not required to be worn in private residence hall rooms when the residents of the room are the only ones present, or while actively bathing or eating. Masks are also not required to be worn in private offices when someone is alone in that office.
  • Vaccinated: Yes; students and staff
  • Boosters: Effective Feb. 1, all vaccinated students, staff, faculty, and volunteers will be required to receive a booster shot within 30 days of becoming eligible
  • Offering testing: Yes; optional for fully vaccinated
  • Not vaccinated: Continued surveillance testing
  • Classes: Jan. 3; The university is under yellow level, or moderate concern, meaning there are hybrid academics and restricted in-person and co-curricular activities

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