URI orders Greek community to shelter-in-place following spike in COVID-19 cases

School Updates

SOUTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. (WPRI) ─ Members of the Greek community at the University of Rhode Island (URI) have been ordered to shelter-in-place following a spike in positive COVID-19 cases, the university announced Friday evening.

David Lavallee, a spokesperson for URI, said the 14-day shelter-in-place begins at 9 p.m. Friday and extends until Oct. 24.

During this time, students will attend their classes virtually and are not allowed to come to campus or leave their Greek houses for any reason other than to access medical care and other essential services, which include grocery shopping for off-campus residents, prescription pickup and essential employment.

Right now, the university reports that the positivity rate among Greek housing on campus (11.7%) is significantly higher than the overall positivity rate for those living on campus (0.65%).

“This data tells us that we need to mobilize our Greek community immediately to stop the spread,” Lavallee said in a statement. “You are our campus leaders, and we need your help to fight the virus.”

All members of the Greek community will be tested during the shelter-in-place period.

“We ask our Greek Life students to comply with this request with a focus on returning to full campus participation in 14 days,” Lavallee said. “We know your collective actions can have a positive impact on our ability to continue the fall semester with face-to-face classes.”

Those who do not abide by the shelter-in-place will be disciplined, which could include suspension or expulsion from the university.

To date, the university said there is no evidence of transmission of the virus in the academic settings, including classrooms and labs.

Greek chapters that have not had any students test positive are allowed to apply for an exception to the shelter-in-place.

In an email to its members, Phi Sigma Sigma’s National Housing Chapter said since the URI chapter has had no positive cases, they plan to file an exemption, but urged members to continue following the shelter-in-place mandate until the exemption is approved.

“As women of substance, character and influence we recognize our responsibility to uphold the values and standards set forth by the University of Rhode Island and foster a community of care within our campus community,” the email said. “We know it isn’t always easy, but as leaders on your campus, we know that you will step up to the challenge.”

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