PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) ─ After a significant uptick in COVID-19 cases among students, three state legislators are urging Providence College to move forward with remote learning for the remainder of the school year.
Reps. David Morales and Marcia Ranglin-Vassel, as well as Sen. Sam bell, have penned and open letter to PC, saying if students continue to come and go regularly from campus, it will have a ripple effect on the surrounding community.
The college placed a stay-at-home order on students living both on and off campus last week and shifted all in person classes online for the time being.
A spokesperson for PC tells 12 News that so far, the college has reported 166 COVID-19 cases among students and faculty.
Morales said the positive cases, especially since most are among students living off campus, could spread into the neighborhoods surrounding the college.
“Here in the Elmhurst neighborhood, there are a lot of students who live off campus,” Morales said. “It’s important that Providence College recognize the current impact in which the coronavirus outbreak is having on our surrounding communities, predominately working class individuals, people of color, elderly and children.”
The college said it has hired additional security guards to patrol those neighborhoods and enforce the stay-at-home order for students.
Morales said he wants to make it clear that he doesn’t want to punish those students, especially financially, during this difficult time.
“I would ask that Providence College refund a substantial portion of room and board fees if they do go remote learning all year,” he said.
Providence College released a statement in response to the open letter saying in part, “We understand and appreciate the concerns…the college is currently holding classes remotely through Saturday. We will evaluate the need to remain in remote mode later this week and make a decision prior to weekend.”
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