URI, CCRI, Brown University modify indoor mask mandates

Updated at 5:05 p.m.

THE UNIVERSITY OF RHODE ISLAND starting March 4 will make masks optional for most indoor settings on campus. / COURTESY UNIVERSITY OF RHODE ISLAND
THE UNIVERSITY OF RHODE ISLAND starting March 4 will make masks optional for most indoor settings on campus. / COURTESY UNIVERSITY OF RHODE ISLAND

SOUTH KINGSTOWN – Students and faculty at the University of Rhode Island will be able to take their masks off in most indoor settings on campus starting at the end of this week, while Brown University and the Community College of Rhode Island have made some modifications to their respective indoor mask policies.

URI announced Wednesday that as of March 4, it will no longer require its campus community members to wear masks indoors in most settings. CCRI, on the other hand, will drop its indoor mask requirement and make masks optional starting March 13, CCRI Vice President of Administration and External Affairs Alix Odgen announced late Wednesday. Providence College, Roger Williams University and Bryant University are other Ocean State-based colleges that have recently adjusted their mask policies.

While masks are optional in most buildings on the URI campus, there are exceptions. The university said masks are still required in classrooms, conference rooms, auditoriums, studios and laboratories “where teaching and/or research is actively taking place.”

The Ryan Center, located on the URI campus and the state’s second-largest indoor arena, is also making mask wearing optional for attendees going forward, URI spokesperson Dave Lavallee confirmed Wednesday to Providence Business News. There is one caveat. Attendees must provide either vaccination proof or a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours for entry to the Ryan Center, Lavallee said. While URI men’s and women’s basketball has concluded for the regular season, the 8,000-seat Ryan Center has six events – including two URI “Welcome Days” – scheduled from March 12 through April 23.

- Advertisement -

URI noted that even though the state lifted its mandate earlier in February, the university “reserves the right” to reinstate masking restrictions based on federal and state health guidance.

CCRI said those who received exemptions from being vaccinated will still be required to show a negative test within 72 hours each time they come to campus.

Brown on March 1 announced it has made some changes to its indoor mask-wearing policy. The university said lecturers, stage performers and those participating in indoor athletic and recreational activities may choose to remove their masks indoors if they are up to date with their vaccinations. Masks are still required in other indoor settings at Brown, the school said, including in classrooms.

Rhode Island College is keeping its mask mandate in place for the time being. RIC President Frank D. Sánchez in a recent message to the campus community said the Providence-based college will keep its mandate until at least March 21 and asked the college’s COVID-19 Steering Committee to develop criteria whether or not the college can safely end the mandate at that point.

(UPDATES throughout, including adding information from CCRI.)

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.

No posts to display