Frequently Asked Questions

Last Updated: 1/14/2022

Do you have a question about the University's spring semester Covid protocols?

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

And if we haven't answered your question yet, please reach out:
Email covid19@rwu.edu

Returning to Campus for Spring Semester 

Do I need to move into campus even though the first week of spring semester (Jan. 24 to Jan. 28) will be virtual classes? 

Yes, residential students and off-campus students should move in as scheduled. This will allow RWU to test our returning students several times before beginning in-person instruction and resuming normal student activities on campus. We are proceeding in this manner so we can have our community members get back into a testing protocol and be separated from those who are not regularly testing to reduce the potential for transmission and community spread and give us the confidence to begin in-person interactions. 

What protocols will be in effect for the first few weeks of the 2022 spring semester? 

In addition to virtual classes during the first week and frequent testing, RWU is implementing a “quiet time” on campus to help us to get started off on the right foot, while there is a higher level of Covid cases across the country. We also request that off-campus students and employees do the same in their homes. While this should not be considered a lock-down period, all university members are urged to limit your interactions, increase masking and not gather in larger common areas or public spaces, and to protect yourself and each other from potential exposure to the fullest extent possible. Additionally, no outside guests will be allowed on campus during this time.   

Boosters 

Why do I need to get a booster? 

RWU is requiring our on-campus university community to be remain current and up-to-date with their vaccination for Covid-19 in order to continue providing the highest level of protection for our members, your families, and our surrounding communities. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently updated its definition of being up-to-date (fully) vaccinated to require a third dose (booster dose) for those who received the two-dose Pfizer and Moderna series and a second dose (booster dose) for those who received the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine. The omicron variant is highly transmissible, but it has been proven that getting a booster increases your level of protection from contracting omicron from 30 percent to 75 percent or greater. 

When am I eligible to get a booster? 

You become eligible for a booster two months after receiving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and five months after getting the second dose of Pfizer or Moderna. If you have recently tested positive for COVID-19, this may affect your ability to schedule your booster dose. Contact your doctor or ask a pharmacist for a recommendation on when you will be eligible.   

What is the university’s deadline for getting my booster shot? 

Employees must submit proof of booster vaccination by Feb. 1. Students must submit proof of booster vaccination by March 1. If you have not yet gotten your booster and are eligible, please do so immediately. Do not wait until the deadline.  

How do I submit proof of vaccination? 

Students: Submit your booster information via Health Services Student Portal, using these instructions.  

Employees: Email a copy or photo of your vaccination card to human_resources@rwu.edu. 

I tested positive for Covid-19 over winter break, and my doctor said I shouldn’t receive the booster for 90 days. What should I do? 

Individual circumstances should always be discussed with your doctor or primary care professional. The current guidance from the CDC says that the safest approach is to get the booster as soon as you are eligible after receiving your first dose(s) of the vaccine and once your isolation period is over. However, if your doctor’s advice is for you to wait, please ask for a letter from your medical professional and have it sent to health services (students) or human resources (facully and staff) so we can track your vaccine requirement by the new recommended date rather than from your booster eligibility date.   

If I don’t have my own means of transportation, how can I get to an off-campus booster clinic? 

We will be providing transportation to the Bristol booster clinic on Tuesday and Thursday during the first week of classes.

Testing 

Why am I required to get a negative test before coming to campus if you’re testing at check-in anyway? 

Pre-arrival testing is critical because any student who lives within driving distance of campus and tests positive during arrival clearance testing will be sent home to isolate (exceptions will be made for international students or students who traveled to campus by plane or train). A negative test result must be presented during the required student check-in process. It is so important for RWU to start the semester on the best position possible and identify and keep any positive cases at home. Your cooperation in this is appreciated. 

RWU will accept a PCR test conducted within 72 hours or a supervised rapid antigen test conducted within 48 hours of your first day returning to the Bristol and Providence campuses. Please bring a printed result. Alternatively, an at-home rapid test taken on the day of departure is acceptable, provided students take a photo of the negative test result and using a pen, write their name, date of birth, and date the test was taken on the test card; you must have that photo viewable on a mobile device when you arrive at campus for check-in. 

What is the clearance testing procedure for students? 

Residential students will be returning to campus during the check-in clearance period between Friday, January 21 and Monday, January 24. They must bring a pre-arrival negative test result with them. All students will receive a clearance test upon arrival, and then will be asked to stay on campus for a “quiet time” across the university (see question above for more on quiet time). The university will test all students an additional time during the week of January 24.   

Off-campus students and commuters are required to comply with the same pre-arrival negative test, a clearance test during the check in process and additional test during the first week of regular testing. This is all about identifying positive individuals, informing them, and isolating them to reduce transmission and community spread. The first week of classes being virtual supports that effort but it is important to have the residential students back on campus living and interacting with individuals who are going through the above testing protocol.  

Undergraduate students received an email to select a time slot for their check-in and clearance testing.  

What if I tested positive over winter break?  

University members who tested positive for Covid-19 during winter break are asked to submit that information to RWU. Students should submit the test results to health@rwu.edu.  Employees should submit test results to human_resources@rwu.edu. Please include whether you have been experiencing symptoms or have had no symptoms. We will let you know when to re-enter the university testing program. 

What should I do if I tested positive through a home test over break but no longer have the test result? 

Email health@rwu.edu with your name, student ID and the date the test was collected. 

Will you be doing contact tracing for anyone who tests positive?  

Yes, we always conduct contact tracing and share our positive test results with the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH). RIDOH might also contact. 

Masking 

Are masks required this semester?  

Yes, masks are required to be worn indoors and are also recommended outdoors for non-vaccinated students, faculty, and staff who cannot be 3 feet away from others. 

Is the University providing masks for students, faculty, and staff?  

Yes, students, faculty, and staff will each receive three KN95 masks at the beginning of the semester. Students will receive masks during their check-in process for spring semester.   

Are students required to use KN95/KF94 masks or is it just recommended? 

We are strongly encouraging the use of KN95 or KF94 masks or doubling other types of masks. This will be especially important until we start to see a significant decline in omicron cases. Faculty will especially appreciate the use of these better masks in class. 

Will there be a way to monitor mask usage in classes? 

We have a masking incident reporting form where students and parents can anonymously leave messages if there is a concern of non-compliance with the mask mandate. That’s something we’re very interested in because we really do care about preventing classroom transmission, and we’ve been very dedicated to this. Most of our faculty members are extremely committed to full masking in the classrooms. Our classrooms continue to be some of our safest spaces due to the disciplined compliance with masking in that setting and other factors.  

Learning 

Can I take this semester fully online? 

Each student’s request for fully online spring semester will be considered individually. If you make the request, it will be reviewed by CSAS. Please know there will be limitations with how much the university can offer fully online. Labs for example may not be possible. 

Will students with additional needs be able to access support from the Student Accessibility Services office during the remote learning period? 

Yes, they can schedule online appointments and consultations. Tutoring and accessibility services will be available as usual. 

During the first week of virtual classes, what facilities will be open? 

Most facilities will be open including the library and bookstore. Dining halls will be open for takeout. The fitness center will most likely not open until we have that full week of pooled PCR testing and a true sense of our campus positivity.  
The shuttle service will be running beginning the weekend of January 22-23. We will ask students to be careful about their masking on shuttles.  

We plan to continue winter athletics. 

Common rooms in dorms will be open for students to use, but they are asked to wear masks, especially during the first few weeks of being back on campus. 

Our goal is to open all activities as soon as it is safe to do so, and we expect to do that within the first couple weeks of the semester.    

During the week of virtual learning, will students be allowed to attend their work-study jobs in person? 

Yes, students should be in touch with their supervisors. Many jobs will be active that week. 

Activities/Events/Athletics 

Are fans allowed to attend sports games? 

Currently there are restrictions on fans in the stands. This changes weekly and can change based on the sport. Coaches will update families as the season progresses. If you have specific questions, email kjacobs@rwu.edu

What are the plans for Commencement this year?  

We are looking at it carefully, and we don’t have an answer yet. President Miaoulis and the RWU community very much value the ceremony and traditions. We want to make graduation everything it can and should be. Stay tuned for more information throughout the semester.  

Will students have the opportunity to study abroad during the fall semester? 

While Covid-19 continues to impact some scheduled programming, there are several spring programs beginning as scheduled, and we look forward to our summer programming moving forward as well. Study abroad opportunities for this coming fall look very promising with expanded opportunities available. Applications for the Fall 2022 semester study abroad programs are now open, and the deadline is March 1.  

As the Spiegel Center prepares global programming for the upcoming academic year, we will continue to communicate updates as needed. Email rwuabroad.rwu.edu for more information.