PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — More than 100 Johnson & Wales University students are in quarantine after nearly three dozen tested positive for COVID-19.
According to JWU Campus President Marie Bernardo-Sousa, the university has been testing students who live in Providence neighborhoods after a recent outbreak and 31 results came back positive.
Providence College had to shift to remote learning earlier this month, when over 80 students tested positive for the virus in two days, with a large concentration of cases involving students living off campus.
“Since mid-September, when we learned of an outbreak of COVID-19 among college students living off campus in Providence, JWU has been testing our students who also live in those city neighborhoods” he said.
These students only have mild symptoms that do not require specialized care, according to Bernardo-Sousa.
She went on to explain that the Rhode Island Department of Health, through contact tracing, identified approximately a hundred students who have tested negative, but must quarantine for 14 days.
“We are communicating with these students to give them the option of either quarantining in a designated JWU residence hall or returning home for this 14-day period,” Bernardo-Sousa said.
She said they will continue to conduct testing in areas that are considered hot spots for the virus.
The news comes the same day Gov. Gina Raimondo announced the state is convening a Young Adult Task Force.
The governor says the task force will be led by students from across Rhode Island’s colleges and universities, as well as local leaders and representatives of high-density communities.
“I think that we’re going to get some good ideas out of this where we can bring our message more effectively to that age group,” Raimondo said.
“We need to figure this out. Maybe it’s incentives, maybe it’s a different way of communicating, maybe it’s providing more mental health,” Raimondo added.
The governor said more details about the task force would be announced in the coming week.