Frequently Asked Questions

Last Updated: 9/18/2020

Do you have a question about how the University is responding to the pandemic?

Someone else may have raised the same question: Please take a look through the Frequently Asked Questions – and answers – on this page.

And if we haven't answered your question yet, please reach out:


Are students required to have a COVID-19 test before arriving on campus?

We recommend testing in advance, but it is not required. Testing at home will let you see if a student is pre-symptomatic, indicating that you will need to delay arrival on campus, rather than being surprised by testing once here. We are not collecting the test results, and not having a test before arrival on campus will not affect a student's move-in process in any way.

Will families be allowed to move students into their residences?

We are limiting the total number of people helping on move-in days, but yes, one to two people may accompany each student to their room. Anyone assisting students may be screened for temperature as a safety precaution.


How is RWU going to monitor students’ comings and goings in the dorms?  

We will clearly communicate to students the importance of safe interaction, use of face coverings, etc., but we are not banning movement. We are, however, implementing a "no outside guest" policy for the 2020-21 academic year that prohibits students from bringing guests into the residence halls or other shared facilities on campus.


How do I find out which of my classes are virtual and which are in-person? 

In Roger Central, if the course has "ONLN" as a location code, it is a fully online course.

Will I be given the option to complete all of my courses online and not have to come to campus at all, or is alternating attendance mandatory?

About 20% of our classes this fall were fully online. Every other class has the ability to be recorded this year when faculty are simulcasting. There may be some faculty preferences or circumstances, such as the room the class is taught in, that may prevent simulcasting from happening 100% of the time. The specific scenarios will depend on your exact classes and faculty. 

Campus Resources 

How can I safely refill my water bottle on campus?

Many water stations on campus are sensor based and touch free. Traditional hand-press fountains have been turned off as a health precaution, and will not be in use.

Will the library be opened for students to use during the spring 2021 semester? 

Yes, but with reduced seating capacity throughout.

Testing & COVID-19 Response 

I am fully remote this semester. Do I need to sign up for COVID-19 testing and complete a daily screening?

No, this is not necessary for remote students, faculty, and staff.

Do I need to be tested for COVID-19 if I will just briefly be visiting campus?

It is not necessary to be SARS-CoV-2 tested in advance of infrequent, short-in-nature campus visit where you have no person-to-person interaction. 

How often will members of the community be tested?

All students, faculty and staff who are learning and working on campus regularly and expect to have person-to-person interactions are being tested frequently at the start of the semester. The schedule for the semester and the frequency of testing will be adjusted based on our data and the circumstances around us.

What is the policy/procedure for COVID-19 testing for students who are commuting every day to RWU?

The procedure is the same. You'll test on a regular schedule, picking a set time that works with your schedule. That time will stay with you for the semester.

What is the plan for a residential student who tests positive for COVID-19 during the semester? Would they be housed and kept on campus or sent home, and allowed to return after 14 days? 

You would be immediately notified via phone call of the positive test result and will be directed to isolate and prepped for contact tracing – for us to ask where you've been, etc. so we can notify others accordingly. Depending on whether it is safe and possible for you to quarantine at home, you may do that, or go to Baypoint to quarantine. It is a case-by-case decision. 

We will assess the following:

  • Is the student symptomatic or asymptomatic?
  • Do they have underlying risk conditions or medical history of concern such as respiratory illness?
  • Is the student already on campus or a commuter?

The positive case work flow is as follows: 

  • Call notifying the student of positive status
  • Decision on Baypoint or home isolation
  • Student gathers necessary belongings and limits all interaction with others
  • RWU transports the student to Baypoint (if applicable) 
  • Contact tracing call
  • Student calls their family and primary physician 
  • RWU Health Services will touch base on daily expectations and needs
  • Student will determine whether they will take remote courses or if they are too sick to attend and will notify faculty 
  • RI Department of Health will call and do an off-campus contact tracing interview 
  • Daily check in to assess health
  • Assessments will determine a move to a hospital or return to campus 

Isolation and quarantine will end following these CDC guidelines: 

  1. If you tested positive and never have symptoms, then "For persons who never develop symptoms, isolation and other precautions can be discontinued 10 days after the date of their first positive RT-PCR test for SARS-CoV-2 RNA."
  2. If you had symptoms, then isolation ends when “at least 24 hours” have passed since your last fever with NO use of fever-reducing medications.

If I test positive, what happens to my roommate?

Your roommate would be given proper advice to monitor their symptoms and may be immediately be tested. 

Will I be contacted if I have been in contact with someone on campus who tests positive?

We will speak with members of the campus community who test positive to learn about their contacts and recent activity on campus. If you may have been within six feet of anyone who tests positive for more than fifteen minutes, RWU will contact you about this potential exposure. 

If an off-campus student needs to quarantine, will Baypoint be available to them so as not to expose other roommates? Will they be able to receive guidance for how to proceed with their living situation (should they stay there, come home, etc.)? 

The students will receive guidance from campus. We will walk them through all of their options. There are so many hypothetical situations that may occur: An off-campus student being able to isolate in their off-campus apartment safely; an off-campus student going home to isolate; and times when an off-campus student may have a shared roommate and a living situation, such as an at-risk roommate, where it may be best to have them isolate in Baypoint. All are possible, but the challenge of Baypoint is that an off-campus student does not pay room and board. Moving a student into Baypoint, while possible, is also not something we have designed for free isolation. 

Will students be tested and have their results before departing for Thanksgiving?

If students have a normal testing day on Monday or Tuesday, they'll have the test the week of Thanksgiving. Those testing Wednesday to Friday will have their tests the week before. 

Some families are asking about this in relation to returning to a state where a negative test result may be required. We will be considering soon if we offer times for students that may need such a test that week, which will depend on their hometown states' guidance, the status of COVID-19 across the country, and more.

How often is RWU's Data Hub Updated?

The RWU COVID Testing Data dashboard provides up-to-date results from our Broad Institute testing partnership. The information is updated within a few hours of receiving the most recent day’s testing results (which is shown at the bottom of the dashboard). The timing of when the testing dashboard is updated varies based on two factors – whether we conducted testing the previous day (for the past few weeks we have not conducted testing on Saturdays and Sundays), and the turnaround time for receiving test results ranging between 18 hours to 24 hours. Our lab partner, the Broad Institute, provides diagnostic services to universities and colleges around the region and their total number of completed tests has just passed 1 million.

Report Noncompliance

As we often say, while it took 200 people to bring us all back to campus, it will take all 6,000 of us to keep us all on campus. 

We’re all human. There will be times when each of us might slip up. That’s when it’s on the rest of us to nudge one another back into complying with RWU’s pandemic protocols. To stem the spread of the virus, we encourage all community members to supportively and appropriately intervene whenever possible. 

If an individual or group persists in non-compliant behavior, members of the RWU community are reminded to use the General Incident Reporting form on the Public Safety website.

Community members can report concerns about noncompliance, including the size of gatherings, physical distancing or mask wearing. 

There are only three required fields on the form: date and location of incident and email address. Anyone who prefers to make an anonymous report can enter “” in the email address field.

Campus Access 

I am a high school senior. Is your campus open for tours?

The campus is open. You may schedule a campus walk tour, with social distancing and face coverings, with admissions. We hope you enjoy your visit. 

Are students allowed to take off-campus trips?

We are encouraging students to limit off-campus trips but we are not banning or restricting them. The campus is not locked down.

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