Community College of Rhode Island (CCRI) President Meghan Hughes sent the following message to the college community this afternoon announcing the schools plans for Spring 2021, which will continue primarily remote with limited in-person, on-campus classes.

To our CCRI community,

While we continue with a fall semester like no other, I remain inspired by the resiliency and determination of our students, faculty, and staff. Despite being apart during this time of crisis, our community has found new ways to come together.  The resolve that has kept us strong these past six months will be called upon until we can eradicate, or at least control, the virus.

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, our top priority has been the health and safety of our college community. With that priority as our guide, the college has come to the decision that we must continue with primarily remote teaching and learning for Spring 2021.

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I know this is not the news many of you were hoping to hear, but this decision is the only responsible one for our college. The safety of our students, faculty, staff and community remains our foremost priority, and while we look forward to the day when we can come together in person again, we will not risk the health and wellness of our community to do so.

There are two practical reasons for making a decision now, rather than later this term. First, although the fall semester has just begun, academic plans must soon be finalized for the spring. Starting in a few weeks, we will publish course offerings for the spring semester, and students will make their course selections.

The second reason is the gravity of the virus itself. COVID-19 continues to spread, and public health experts predict a significant uptick in positive cases during the winter months. There is no vaccine, and there is unlikely to be one widely available anytime soon. Coinciding with the flu season, this will undoubtedly be a daunting challenge for all of us. 

We have no reason to believe that if we come together for in-person learning we would be exempt from the same community spread that other colleges and universities are seeing this semester.  We cannot risk the health and safety of our students, faculty, staff, or the larger community.

Since we first moved to remote teaching back in March, CCRI’s faculty have worked to develop new and engaging online offerings, taking the lessons from those early months and applying them to continuously improve the teaching model. Making this decision now enables our faculty and academic administrators to focus even more intensely on preparing for a strong spring term.

To our faculty and staff, I deeply appreciate the dedication you have shown to our students while continuing to adapt to new ways of teaching and working. You are what makes CCRI an incredible place to work and learn. 

We will continue to do everything we can to welcome students back as soon as possible to a campus experience that is both safe and meaningful. We look forward to that day. Until then, we will work together with all of you to sustain this remarkable community in the face of the unprecedented challenges we are confronting together.

Sincerely,

Meghan Hughes