With the foundation of our extraordinarily high community vaccination rate, everyone is doing their part and making the smart choices that allow us to be safely together on campus.
RWU’s Covid-19 guidelines for Fall 2022
August 3, 2022
Dear RWU students,
We are so excited to see you on our Bristol campus in just a few short weeks. We hope you're looking forward to a great year of engaged learning, hands-on research and internships, and vibrant campus life at Roger Williams University. In preparation for our year ahead, this message communicates important information about our Covid-19 protocols to help us all navigate the year ahead safely and successfully together.
As one of the most committed and successful institutions maintaining in-person classes and activities over the past two years, RWU consistently has prioritized student and employee health and safety throughout the pandemic. Our university was the first higher education institution in New England to require vaccinations and all community members were required to participate in weekly testing leading to responsive case management, contact tracing, quarantine and isolation.
Now, as we navigate the endemic stage of Covid-19 while continuing to maintain a high vaccination rate, it is important that we collectively begin to shift from institutional responsibility for prevention to individual responsibility. While all schools, campuses and communities will continue to experience positive Covid cases, it is time to shift from a crisis-response approach to a managed-care approach. To do so requires commitment from every member of our community. Please note that the intended audience for this communication is undergraduate students. University employees and students in the School of Law, University College and Graduate Studies will receive separate communications.
Our Fall 2022 Covid policies have been updated to reflect this managed care approach, subject to further adjustment and notification as necessary. For the latest Covid protocols, visit our website.
Every student not previously granted a medical or religious exemption is required to complete a primary series of Covid-19 vaccination and to provide documentation through the Health Services portal. The first and second boosters are highly recommended upon eligibility, especially considering the continuing evolution of variants and sub-variants and diminishing natural immunity periods between infections. The University reserves the right to require additional boosters as determined necessary with advanced notice. No unvaccinated student may move into university housing, attend classes, participate in University programs, events and or activities, or begin employment without an approved medical or religious exemption from RWU.
As we enter the fall semester, RWU is recommending but not requiring masks in indoor settings, with the following exceptions:
- On all shared university transportation.
- Individual faculty can require masking in their classrooms or labs with advanced notice.
- Inside Health Services and the Counseling Center.
- When required to participate in activities, training, or employment with prior approval from designated university officials.
Mask wearing (high quality N95 or KN95) in indoor settings is considered an effective and recommended practice by the Centers for Disease Control and the American College Health Association and has been proven effective at RWU. The University reserves the right to require mask wearing in any indoor setting when deemed necessary, and we support any individual who chooses to wear a mask to protect themselves or others.
Pre-Arrival and Arrival Testing
The University strongly recommends every student self-administer a rapid test prior to their first day on campus.
Upon arrival to campus before classes start, all undergraduate students will be required to go through our centralized check-in process between August 25th and August 29th which includes a monitored rapid test. Information regarding the sign-up process for check-in, days and hours of operation, and requirements will be distributed by email to students on August 5th so please check your inbox!
Student Testing During Semester
The University will not be operating a surveillance testing center or require weekly testing of students at this time; this protocol is subject to change, however, if determined necessary based on prevailing conditions on campus and in the greater community.
All individuals – regardless of vaccination status - are required to self-test or access eligible on or off-campus testing resources when experiencing symptoms.
Every student will be provided with 2 rapid test kits for their room or apartment during the initial clearance testing period and as part of the Fall 22 Semester Roger’s Compact. Students will be expected to obtain and bring to campus at least 6 additional tests for self-testing on- or off-campus or at home, especially on nights and weekends, if symptoms develop. Free antigen tests for personal use can be obtained from the federal government at http://covidtests.gov. Insurance companies and many health plans are required to cover eight home antigen tests per covered individual per month.
Students will be required to self-report their positive test through an online Etrieve form (link available August 22) or via QR codes posted on all residence hall room doors. Upon submission, students will receive instructions via email with isolation guidance that can be forwarded to faculty members. Students are responsible for contacting and making arrangements with professors to continue their learning.
Notifying Close Contacts
Students are responsible for notifying their own close contacts themselves. All students reporting positive results to E-trieve will receive information via email clarifying who is considered a close contact and a detailed script for notifying those individuals. Close contacts of infected individuals should test themselves on or after day five (day five = five days post-exposure) or if symptoms develop.
Student Health Services will continue to provide symptomatic testing for students, by appointment, Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 pm. Health Services should be used only for symptomatic individuals seeking a COVID test. SHS should not be used in cases of being a close contact and other examples of confirmatory testing. The university needs to prioritize and maintain availability for treatment of students with illness or injuries.
The University is reducing but not eliminating isolation housing. As a guiding policy, students testing positive who live within 200 miles of campus will be required to leave campus and isolate at home for a minimum of 5 days (regardless of vaccination status) and then mask in all indoor settings for a period of 5 days upon return to campus. Under no circumstances should a student who tests positive attend class in-person, use University facilities, or participate in events or activities.
Students living in apartment-style housing (Bayside, Almeida, North Campus Residence Hall or off-campus housing) will have isolation-in-place options, subject to suite and apartment agreements developed at the start of the semester. Residence Life staff will be available to facilitate those discussions for residential students.
As of this communication, students who are close contacts of a positive individual and have an approved vaccine exemption or are not fully up to date on recommended vaccine series (primary series and booster) will be required to quarantine for at least 5 days from last contact with infected individual and upon return wear a well-fitting mask in all indoor settings for 5 days. Those fully up to date with their vaccine series will not be required to quarantine but will need to monitor for symptoms and wear a well-fitting mask for 10 days and test on day 5. Additional updates will be posted to our Covid-19 website.
As part of Roger’s Compact 22-23, all students who live within 200 miles of campus will be required to develop an isolation/quarantine exit plan to leave campus should they test positive or need to quarantine. The plan must include the names of family and friends who they will call for transportation home or to another location.
Questions & Information
In Conclusion: Make Smart Choices
Our community has proven its care and support for one another through the most challenging years of the pandemic. We will continue to act together with the same mindful approach and respect for the health and safety of each other, our families at home and our local communities. Keep making smart choices and following the University guidance and together we will make this a fantastic year.
John King, Vice President for Student Life
Margaret Everett, Provost & Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs
Brian Williams, Chief of Staff