COVID-19 testing, academic calendar, and new dining options
COVID-19 testing, academic calendar, and new dining options
Friday, Jan. 22, 2021
The Bryant community is eagerly anticipating a productive and rewarding spring semester, with the IDEA program starting Jan. 26 and remote classes beginning Feb. 1. Following one week of remote instruction, students return for move-in Feb. 6-8 and classes in the hy-flex hybrid format begin Tuesday, Feb. 9.
In planning for the spring 2021 semester, Bryant continues to be guided by our dedication to a transformative residential learning experience and best practices for public health that will help us mitigate the spread of COVID-19. The multi-faceted approach that allowed Bryant to be one of the few colleges and universities in the country to complete fall classes on campus has been refined based on feedback from our community.
As students prepare for return to campus Feb. 6-8, we ask that they adhere to guidelines from the CDC and public health experts, including limiting contacts beyond their household, masking, social distancing, frequent hand washing and avoiding unnecessary travel. Travel can increase your chance of getting and spreading the virus. Postponing travel and staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.
If you weren’t able to attend President Gittell’s Jan. 19 Zoom panel for parents and families, you can watch the video here.
Spring Academic Calendar
Bryant’s spring 2021 academic calendar features classes held Monday-Friday, Feb. 1 - Friday, May 7 for day classes and Monday, May 10 for evening classes. There are no Saturday classes this semester. Due to health risks associated with travel, there is not a full spring break week. To allow time for respite and reflection, as requested by our students, there are special break days with no classes. These include: February 24, a time for Reflections on Our Democracy; March 23, a day for Reflections on the Pandemic at one year; and April 22, an opportunity for Reflections on Earth Day.
Testing, and What if I had COVID-19?
Among many significant strategic investments that prioritized our students and the health and safety of our community this academic year, for spring Bryant will continue the weekly surveillance testing in partnership with the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT that allowed us to keep our campus open and healthy this fall. For the 2020-21 year, testing expenses include approx. $7 million for PCR surveillance tests as well as the purchase of Cepheid equipment for rapid tests on campus for those with COVID-19 symptoms. Our layered approach to public health includes full population testing every week (with more frequent testing for groups at higher risk), prompt and thorough contact tracing to break chains of transmission, special programs to make use of our beautiful campus as the days get brighter and longer, and frequent communication on health awareness.
When students departed campus before fall final exams, Bryant provided an extra COVID-19 screening test in order to ensure that they returned to their families and loved ones healthy. Our goal is to begin the spring semester safely as well. Further details on testing will be communicated by Student Affairs next week.
If you have tested positive for COVID-19 during the time between fall and spring semesters, it is very important that you notify the contact tracing program by sending a copy of your lab slip (PDF or photo are acceptable) verifying your positive test result to contacttracing@bryant.edu. You may also send the lab slip to the Contact Tracing Program Manager by fax at 401-319-3817.
We are all in this together, and proud of the strong spirit that made Bryant one of the few schools in the country to complete fall semester classes on campus. Thank you for your cooperation as we plan for your safe return for the spring semester.
What to Expect at Move-In
To help us begin the spring semester with the health and safety of our community foremost, resident arrivals will be by appointment only on Saturday, Feb. 6, Sunday, Feb. 7, and Monday, Feb. 8, 8 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. Appointments are carefully scheduled to allow for a safe and efficient move-in, and students should follow the instructions included in the move-in email received the week of Jan. 11 to schedule their appointment for arrival.
Residents will be able to reserve a two-hour time period to arrive to campus, receive a COVID-19 screening test, and move into their residence hall. For safety, students are limited to two helpers over the age of 18 to assist with their move-in. All assistants must wear a mask at all times, follow social distancing guidelines, and leave campus by the end of the two hour move-in period.
Students with meal plans for the spring semester will be provided with meals for the period of restricted movement at check-in. Townhouse residents who do not have a meal plan are encouraged to bring grocery items with them and will be required to provide their own meals while restricting their movement around campus until receiving a negative COVID-19 test result.
Residents must restrict their movement to their room until they receive a negative COVID-19 test result. Surveillance test results will be emailed to students and typically take approx. 24 hours from the time they are tested. During the time they are awaiting their initial test results, students will not be permitted to leave their room unless there is an emergency.
Prior to arrival on campus, students should complete the following:
  1. Review and submit the Return to Housing COVID-19 Questionnaire
  2. Review and sign the Spring 2021 Housing Terms and Conditions
  3. Review and sign the updated Student Health and Wellness Pledge
As COVID-19 pandemic conditions continue to evolve, students from high-risk states may be required to receive more frequent testing during the first two weeks of arriving to campus. As we continue to monitor the pandemic, additional guidance will be communicated closer to the start of the spring semester. We appreciate everyone’s cooperation in adhering to these necessary measures for health and safety.
Getting Textbooks and Course Materials
With the first week of spring classes held remotely, many students have already placed textbook orders shipping to homes in lieu of in-store campus pick up. The Bryant Bookstore has also expanded digital book offerings that provide students with immediate access to materials. To accommodate students who choose to pick up their books on campus upon arrival, the Bookstore hours for move-in weekend and the first days of classes are: Feb. 6 and 7, 11 a.m. - 3 p.m.; Feb. 8, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.; Feb. 9-11, 8:30 a.m. - 7 p.m.
Residence Hall WiFi Upgrades
In addition to Bryant’s significant investments in testing and contact tracing, we have also invested almost $1 million on academic and technology enhancements this year. Most recently, this has included upgrades to improve internet access in the residence halls, where the WiFi service has been challenged by building construction materials such as concrete block. Visit is.bryant.edu for more information regarding Information Services technology and support.
New Options for Spring Dining
Opening on Monday, Feb. 8, Bryant is pleased to introduce a new foodservice option in the Fisher Student Center. Fooda, located in the space formerly occupied by Subway, will offer popular favorites and food items from different local restaurants and food trucks. The community can expect featured items from sources such as Chick-fil-A and Jersey Mike’s Subs. The venue will be open Monday-Friday, 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. and 5 - 8 p.m. Customers may use dining dollars, Bulldog Bucks, credit or cash.
In Salmanson Dining Hall, options have been expanded to include many more opportunities for meals to go. To learn more about Bryant dining, visit bryantdining.sodexomyway.com.
Keynotes and Added Features for Virtual IDEA
Since the inception of the Bryant IDEA (Innovation and Design Experience for All) program nine years ago, IDEA has helped build a campus-wide culture that advances design thinking, curiosity, critical thinking, and the creativity needed to solve real-world problems.
Held Jan. 26-29, this year the transformational program for first-year students goes virtual and therefore global, providing a real-world experience using virtual collaboration tools for digital brainstorming and digital storyboarding. More than 800 students – with nearly 250 faculty, staff, student, and alumni mentors in locations around the globe – will engage in innovation, virtual collaboration, and design thinking. On Jan. 27, Shola Kaye, a London-based speaker, author, and international performer, will deliver a keynote address on "Elevating Empathy," followed by a workshop where students will develop a 30-day empathy plan. On Jan. 28, renowned innovation expert and former Head of Innovation and Creativity at Disney, Duncan Wardle, will deliver a keynote titled "Think Different, The Disney Way."
IDEA Program Director and Professor of Psychology Allison Butler participated in a Zoom panel for parents and families on Jan. 19. If you were unable to attend, you can find the video online.
Employees Returning to Campus
All employees who are approved by their division head to return to campus on a full or partial basis beginning Jan. 19 and throughout the spring semester must receive a negative COVID test result from the Bryant COVID Surveillance Clinic within the 7 days prior to their return to work on campus. After receiving departmental approval to return to campus, employees should schedule a COVID testing appointment using the Bryant mobile app, in the link located in the green check or yellow X screen of the Health Checker, or through the bryant.edu/reopening website. Employees will need to plan to make a special trip to campus (in and out) to get tested during the week prior to return to on-campus work, and while on campus for testing should not visit any additional facilities.
Commencement Planning
Our plans for Commencement for the graduating Class of 2021 and Class of 2020 recent alumni are contingent on the best practices for public health that will prevail at the time and the guidance and regulations of public health officials including the RI Dept. of Health. We are exploring multiple scenarios for celebrating the achievements of our graduating seniors on May 22, and the Class of 2020 on May 23, including both in person and virtual options.
We understand that graduation from college is a significant milestone for our students and their families who have worked hard to make a Bryant education possible. Within the context of public health conditions that exist this spring, we will make a prompt decision that balances consideration for health and safety with the need to create a special and memorable event worthy of our students’ hard work, achievements and continued success long into the future.



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