Local colleges change course for end-of-semester learning

SALVE REGINA UNIVERSITY, pictured, is one of multiple local colleges that will switch from offering in-person classes to online after Thanksgiving break. / COURTESY SALVE REGINA UNIVERSITY
SALVE REGINA UNIVERSITY, pictured, is one of multiple local colleges that will switch from offering in-person classes to online instruction following the Thanksgiving break. / COURTESY SALVE REGINA UNIVERSITY

PROVIDENCE – The University of Rhode Island, Salve Regina University, Rhode Island School of Design and New England Institute of Technology will be moving most, if not all, scheduled in-person learning online for the end of the semester in response to the increasing number of COVID-19 cases across Rhode Island and nationally.

The decisions by these colleges also comes in response to Gov. Gina M. Raimondo’s announcement Thursday of a two-week “pause,” where she said in-person classes at colleges should not take place between Nov. 30 and Dec. 13.

Salve, which planned to deliver in-person classes but restrict travel for students, announced Friday that all classes will be taught online for the rest of the semester starting Nov. 30. Residence halls will stay open and students who have chosen to stay on campus can still do so, Salve said. But students can notify Salve by Nov. 23 at 9 a.m. if they wish to change their plans and go home for the Thanksgiving break.

However, even with the switch to online classes, the university’s travel rule still applies, Salve said. Students cannot return to campus or the city of Newport if they choose to leave after Thanksgiving break, and students cannot leave Salve or Newport through the holiday break if they choose to stay.

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“We know that these new restrictions are disappointing and frustrating,” Salve said in an email Friday to the campus community. “We will continue to navigate this fluid situation as best we can to ensure the health and safety of our campus community, and deeply appreciate your understanding and cooperation during this challenging time.”

RISD and New England Tech will have most classes move online, according to Danial P. Egan, president of the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Rhode Island. RISD said on its website that the arts school has permission to keep shops and studios open as planned through the end of the fall semester.

URI said it will move its in-person classes online starting Nov. 23, about a week ahead of schedule, through the end of the semester on Dec. 14. Exceptions, such as clinical, internship and practicum courses, as well as experimental and project-based classes needing special equipment, will continue to be delivered in-person, URI said.

James Bessette is the PBN special projects editor, and also covers the nonprofit and education sectors. You may reach him at Bessette@PBN.com. You may also follow him on Twitter at @James_Bessette.

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