URI students urged to get vaccinated, stay vigilant as school sees spike in flu cases


SOUTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. (WPRI) — The flu has hit the University of Rhode Island (URI) hard this year.

The university sent a notice to students, teachers and staff last week warning of a “significant increase in the number of confirmed influenza cases and those who have influenza-like illnesses.”

The spike has put URI Health Services over capacity, according to the notice, and students who are sick may not be seen right away despite increased staffing.

“We are seeing students as quickly as we can and understand there may be a several day wait for an appointment,” the notice reads.

The notice has students across campus on high alert.

“Literally everyone in the [residence] halls, in my hall, they’re coughing,” URI student Katherine Dionson said. “A lot of people in my classes are coughing.”

The university is urging students, faculty and staff to get vaccinated against both the flu and COVID-19, while also practicing good hygiene, wearing face masks and limiting close contacts.

“If this trend continues, we will be faced with difficult decisions regarding additional restrictions,” the notice reads. “Now is the time to commit to the steps necessary to decrease transmission of these viruses in our community.”

URI student Kennedy Faris lives on campus and tells 12 News she’s not risking anything.

“I’m making sure I don’t share things with other people, and a lot of people in our dorms, they’ve been getting sick recently, so we’ve kind of been keeping our distance from them,” Faris said.

The university is encouraging students who are experiencing flu-like symptoms to stay home and is asking faculty to be understanding during this time.

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