KINGSTON, R.I. (WPRI) — The University of Rhode Island (URI) is asking students and staff to “recommit” to the school’s COVID-19 safety measures after seeing an uptick in positive cases among the community.
URI hit a record last week with 132 new cases and a positivity rate of just over 2%, according to a letter sent to students and staff.
University officials say they are starting to become concerned about the school’s capacity to provide proper isolation and quarantine space if the numbers continue to increase.
“If the trend continues, we would be forced to make difficult decisions and impose additional restrictions if we do not take steps now to decrease the transmission of the virus in our community,” the letter read.
“We have learned that it only takes a little carelessness with mask-wearing and gatherings to lead to widespread transmission,” the letter continued. “As we look at other universities around the country, outbreaks have repeatedly been linked to instances of letting down one’s guard, such as joining a party or crowd, and not masking when in the company of those outside your household.”
The university says students who violate the health and safety protocols could face a number of different penalties, including suspensions, depending on the severity of the violations.
The safety guidelines include participating in routine testing (required for students every other week unless you are exempt), masking, social distancing, and continuing to limit exposure.
“We know that members of our community are tired and we understand how easy it is to let our guard down when it comes to COVID-19 precautions,” the letter said. “We urge you to stay in the fight, to keep us going this semester and to help ensure the health and safety of our great community.”