COVID-19 Safety Update for Spring 2022 Semester

The continued spread of the Omicron variant has not changed sufficiently to give us confidence that we can bring students and faculty back together in-person safely.

As a result, we have made the decision not to return to in-person learning for the remainder of the current term, ending on March 11, 2022. We will continue to conduct all learning remotely through the end of this term.

Students will continue to participate in the World Wide Lab online for the current term. Please be in touch with your Lab faculty with any questions about connecting online for your cohort meetings.

Currently, we plan to resume in-person learning on March 14, 2022–the first day of classes in Spring session 2. We will continue to monitor and respond to the latest developments with the pandemic, keeping the safety of the CU community as our top priority.

Stay safe and healthy!

COVID-19 Vaccination Policy

In response to data on the efficacy of the COVID-19 booster shot, as well as the surge of COVID-19 cases in Rhode Island driven by the Omicron variant, we are updating our health and safety protocols to better protect our faculty, staff, and students.

In order to facilitate a safe return to the classroom, College Unbound will now be requiring all students who attend their Lab in-person to receive their COVID-19 booster shot before returning to campus. Only students who have received their booster shot will be considered fully vaccinated under these new guidelines. Proof of COVID-19 vaccination must be provided to before you are able to come in person to the CU LAB.

A reminder that we are currently planning to have fully vaccinated students return to campus on February 1, 2022. We will continue to monitor and respond to the latest developments with the pandemic, keeping the safety of the CU community as our top priority.

New Rules for Mask-Wearing on Campus

Following new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), CU will also ask LABs to participate in masking protocols when indoors.

If you are not yet fully vaccinated, you must participate in CU’s LAB experience through its online Zoom capacity.  CU faculty are working hard to ensure this engagement is a full encapsulation of the CU experience.  

For any questions on protocol, please contact Chris Dickson at

Stay safe and healthy!

Frequently Asked Questions about CU’s Vaccine Policy & Lab Classes 

A. College Unbound is committed to students making continued progress toward their degrees, despite the prolonged pandemic. CU also has a responsibility to protect the health and safety of all members of CU and the surrounding community. The best way to achieve these two important goals is to only bring people together in-person in a manner that reduces the possible spread of COVID-19 and its variants, and creates conditions that reduce the likelihood of serious illness should a member of CU contract the virus. From public health experts, we know that people who have been vaccinated are much less likely to suffer from the serious illness of COVID-19, if they contract the virus. Similarly, people who are masked appropriately are less likely to contract the virus. So, in order to keep members of the CU community as safe as possible, we will only have people who are vaccinated and who are wearing masks meet inside  in-person. Students who are not vaccinated will be able to join their cohort and participate fully in the CU experience via Zoom.

Recently, the American College Health Association (ACHA) announced its recommendation that colleges and universities require the COVID-19 vaccination for all on-campus students, where state law and available resources allow. We are adhering to these recommendations.

A: Over the past year, many of us have grown accustomed to doing our work virtually. In an effort to make the in-person and virtual experience as good as possible, we have upgraded our technology. We purchased large TV monitors and a machine, called an OWL.  The OWL follows in-person speakers around the class, making it easier for those who are online to follow along and engage in discussions more easily. We hope this will give those who are joining virtually a better classroom feel and experience. In addition, Lab Faculty are already at work, creating exciting ways for everyone to fully engage.

A: Most colleges already require on-campus students to be vaccinated against viral diseases like measles, mumps, and rubella.In addition, the majority of colleges and universities across the United States are requiring students to be vaccinated against COVID-19, with students who are not vaccinated often being prevented from enrolling in classes. This is especially impactful for students at colleges that only offer in-person classes because it means some students can’t participate in classes at all. As of August 10th, the following colleges and universities in Rhode Island were requiring proof of vaccination - Brown University, Bryant University, Community College of Rhode Island, Johnson & Wales University, New England Institute of Technology, Providence College, Rhode Island College, Rhode Island School of Design, Roger Williams University, Salve Regina University, and the University of Rhode Island.

A: While colleges and universities cannot legally force members of their communities to be vaccinated, there is no case law that provides guidance about or prevents colleges and universities from requiring students to be vaccinated for in-person participation. As a result, the current conditions around COVID-19 allow colleges and universities to do what is necessary to protect the health and safety of their students.

A: College Unbound’s goal is to make it possible for CU students to achieve their educational goals in a safe and supportive learning environment. When the pandemic started and with guidance from public health experts, we decided it was best to go completely online to ensure everyone’s health and safety. We are continuously reviewing up to date information about COVID-19 from area doctors, public health officials, and others to ensure that we are doing everything we can to keep our community and their families safe. As conditions with the virus change, we will adapt  as necessary to support students in continuing to make progress toward their degrees, while holding fast to our commitment to everyone’s health and safety.

A: We know from student feedback and our own observations that CU’s in-person cohorts have been one of the key contributors to student success. Students’ support for one another and the sense of community that students build together makes a significant difference in their educational experience. We want to do everything we can to make it possible for students to be with their cohort, including encouraging everyone to get vaccinated, if possible.

A: Accountability is one of the core Big 10 of CU. We understand that people may have a range of reasons for getting vaccinated against COVID-19, just as they may have a variety of reasons or concerns about getting vaccinated. At CU, we believe that getting vaccinated is not only about our own health and safety, but is also how we demonstrate accountability and care for the health and safety of one another, our families, and our communities. If you aren’t sure you want to get vaccinated for yourself, please consider getting vaccinated for the people you care about in your family, your community, and your peers at CU.

A: There are a number of places where you can get vaccinated in the local area for free without an appointment. You can just walk-in at the following locations and get your vaccine.

A: Knowledge is power. CU community members who have questions or concerns about vaccine safety should speak with their healthcare providers. Information found online should not replace the information given by a healthcare provider. However, there are several trusted organizations that you can turn to for additional information about the safety and efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccines:

A: The development of empirical and analytical reasoning is a key student learning outcome at College Unbound. Selecting information from good sources, and synthesizing and evaluating complicated or nuanced scientific data, is required for most social and organizational change efforts. We hope that our students draw from these habits and skills when making important decisions, including regarding the COVID-19 vaccines. 

A: CU’s distinct semester model of bringing students together who are in-person with students who are joining virtually makes it possible for everyone to fully participate in lab classes with their cohort. We understand that based on the guidance of a primary care physician, it may be inadvisable for some students with specific health concerns to receive the COVID-19 vaccination. At CU, these students will continue to have access to the cohort experience virtually. Similarly, students with sincerely held religious beliefs against being vaccinated will also have access to their cohorts virtually. All CU students will be able to make continued progress toward their degrees.

Note: College Unbound is providing this information in accordance with the health and safety information currently available and our current plans. We may change plans regarding modalities of classes and physical access to buildings at our own discretion or under the direction of government or health authorities.