Living and Working at JWU Providence

The university continues to receive guidance and updates from federal, state and local officials, which in turn impacts our decisions & campus operations. Thank you for your understanding and support.

Providence Campus Updates

Last updated: 3/16/2022

03.16.22 - Guidance for Mask Wearing: As of March 18, 2022, mask-wearing, regardless of vaccination status, is optional and no longer required inside or outside buildings on campus. However, anyone who feels more comfortable wearing a mask (KN95 recommended) is fully supported in doing so. Masks are still required on university transportation vehicles (Wildcat Wheels) and in Health Services offices. Students, faculty and staff should still carry a mask on them at all times. You can find more on which masks work best and what is recommended here (updated by CDC January 2022).

Johnson & Wales University is pleased to have 92% of students and 97% of employees – who work or appear on campus - fully vaccinated against COVID-19While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continue to study COVID-19, it is advised that vaccines remain the best public health measure to protect people from COVID-19, slow transmission, and reduce the likelihood of new variants emerging. Students, faculty and staff are strongly encouraged to get their booster shots when elligble. 


01.25.22 -Johnson & Wales University is pleased to have 89% of students and 94% of employees – who work or appear on campus - fully vaccinated against COVID-19. With this, we are still taking reasonable precautions on campus and routinely testing students and employees who have received a medical or religious vaccine exemption. JWU is also testing students who report symptoms of COVID-19 or are identified as having been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. 

Johnson & Wales University has made the decision to cease public weekly reporting of positive cases. At this point, experts say that the high infection rate of the Omicron variant – paired with vaccination and past infection – could shift COVID-19 from pandemic to endemic, making it no more infectious than a common cold, according to the CDC. Our positivity rate has remained below any cause for concern. Though we will no longer report these numbers on this site, we will continue to track them for our own records and report them to the Rhode Island Department of Health.

08.27.21 - Students, faculty and staff who are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19 must participate in mandatory surveillance testing on assigned testing days. Along with hand washing, physical distancing, the daily screening questionnaire, and face masks, this is a key way to keep our campus community healthy & safe. Any unvaccinated member of the JWU community will be assigned to a group and participate in testing every four weeks. If you do become fully vaccinated, you will no longer be required to participate in sentinel testing.

08.06.21 - Masks must be worn inside public places on JWU’s campuses until further notice, regardless of vaccination status. On July 27, the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) revised its guidance on mask-wearing to maximize protection from the Delta variant and prevent possibly spreading it to others. The CDC now recommends that all persons, whether fully vaccinated or not, wear a mask indoors in public if located in an area of substantial or high transmission. Currently, Rhode Island and Charlotte are both areas of substantial or high transmission, but that is subject to changes as circumstances evolve. All persons should continue to wear a mask where required by laws, rules, regulations, or local guidance.

In addition to requiring students to be fully vaccinated, the university is now requiring all faculty and staff to be fully vaccinated. Faculty and staff must have received at least one dose of the vaccine by August 30, the first day of classes, and must have received all manufacturer-recommended doses of the vaccine by September 30. Faculty and staff will be required to provide Human Resources with a copy of their vaccination card. Faculty and staff who work fully remote and do not come to campus are not required to be vaccinated but are strongly encouraged to get vaccinated. 

A reminder to all: you must monitor and abide by evolving local, state, and federal guidelines and requirements as well as university policy related to COVID-19. Also, do not go to campus if you have COVID-like symptoms or if you have tested positive for COVID-19; also please inform your supervisor immediately.

A reminder to all who have not yet been vaccinated: you must monitor and abide by evolving local, state, and federal guidelines and requirements as well as university policy related to COVID-19. This includes the requirements that you continue to: 1) wear a mask when you are indoors on campus; 2) report to your supervisor COVID-like symptoms or if you have tested positive for COVID-19 - do not go to campus; 3) isolate from others if you have tested positive for COVID-19 or quarantine if you have been exposed to COVID-19; and 4) participate in sentinel testing.

Important Information about Vaccine Distribution in Rhode Island

The Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) is actively distributing the COVID-19 vaccine  in our state. The vaccine is a core component to reducing the spread of COVID-19 in our communities, as well as protecting our households and families.

These key points have been provided by RIDOH. Additional information:

  • Learn more from RIDOH’s COVID-19 Vaccine FAQs
  • To see who is currently eligible for vaccine, click here.
  • To see Rhode Island vaccination data, click here.

Taking the COVID-19 vaccine is one of several things you can do to protect yourself and your household.

  • All three available vaccines are safe, highly effective at preventing serious illness; hospitalizations; and death, and reduce the risk of infecting others.
  • All three vaccines will help protect you from getting different variants of COVID-19.

If you are eligible to get vaccinated, the best vaccine for you is the one that is available to you first.

  • The more people who get vaccinated against COVID-19, with any of the available vaccines, the sooner the pandemic will end.

We have three vaccines that are proven to be very safe and extremely effective at preventing serious illness, hospitalizations, and death

  • The vaccines are all well above the effectiveness bar set by the federal government.
  • They were tested in large-scale vaccine trials involving a combined total of more than 100,000 people of different ages, genders, races, and ethnicities.
  • There were no serious safety concerns.

In addition to ending this pandemic, we want to prevent severe illness, hospitalization, and death.

  • All of the vaccines offer high efficacy (or protection) against these outcomes after people have been fully immunized.
  • For example, in the Janssen (or Johnson & Johnson) Phase 3 clinical trial, no COVID-19– associated hospitalizations occurred 28 days or more after vaccination in the vaccine group, while 16 hospitalizations occurred in the group receiving the placebo. No COVID-19- associated deaths occurred among people who received the vaccine. The Janssen vaccine has also shown to be more than 85 percent effective in protecting against severe illness 28 days or more after vaccination.

No steps involving safety were skipped during the COVID-19 vaccine development process.

  • COVID-19 vaccines were held to the same rigorous safety standards as other vaccines. Researchers around the globe came together to develop vaccines quickly, because so many lives were at stake. But this speed did not compromise safety or scientific integrity.
  • The government began producing doses of certain COVID-19 vaccines already in phase 3 trials, which sped up availability. Scientific advances over the last decade have also helped us learn a lot about the body and how it responds to vaccines.

Vaccines often cause our immune systems to respond in a way that shows the vaccine is working.

  • This is healthy, normal, and expected.
  • You may experience a sore arm, headache, fever, or body aches, but they should go away within a few days.
  • The effects of COVID-19 are much worse than these mild to moderate reactions that people sometimes have to the vaccine.

"We look forward to more normal times for the fall 2021 semester as the JWU community and those around us become fully vaccinated."

- Providence Campus President Marie Bernardo-Sousa, LP.D., '92

Marie Bernardo-Sousa, LP.D., '92, on Gaebe Commons

Important to Know

Fall 2021 Plans
As the COVID vaccine becomes more available, state governments are relaxing some restrictions that have been imposed to protect public health. Based on where Rhode Island is today, we anticipate that we will return to full operations in the fall, with courses being offered in-person as well as through hybrid delivery.

After careful consultation with government and public health officials, the university will require that all students be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 (i.e., that students have received one or two doses of the vaccine, in accordance with the number of doses recommended by the manufacturer) prior to their arrival to campus for the 2021 fall semester.

University FAQs

Do you have questions? Please visit the FAQs webpage.

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