PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) ─ After more than 80 students tested positive for COVID-19 in just two days, Providence College announced Thursday it plans to shift to fully remote learning until at least Sept. 26.
In an email to the PC community, President Rev. Kenneth Sicard said there has been a large concentration of cases involving students living off campus. On Tuesday, the college asked all students living off campus to learn remotely until they produce a negative test result after more than a dozen students tested positive.
After consulting with the Rhode Island Department of Health, Sicard said PC is also issuing a stay-at-home order for all students.
He said during this time, all students living on campus will be tested.
Sicard issued the following guidelines to students regarding the stay-at-home order:
- On-campus students may not leave campus during this time. Off-campus students may not leave their apartments. (Food will continue to be delivered. Those who chose the PC Cash option will continue to have that option available to them.) There must be no indoor or outdoor gatherings of any kind. There must be no travel whatsoever to bars, restaurants, clubs, or neighborhood businesses.
- Violations will result in immediate interim suspensions. College staff, in conjunction with the Providence Police Department and private security, will be monitoring PC houses in the off-campus neighborhood on a 24/7 basis.
- All students who normally would be student teaching in the community or engaged in internships or clinical placements must do so on a remote basis
“We recognize how serious and difficult these directives are, but this is our last chance to remain together in person for the fall semester,” Sicard wrote. “Between these actions and the serious steps we already have taken – especially in the past few days – we have used virtually every tool at our disposal. We are out of options.”
“If we are not successful, we will have no alternative other than to shut down our campus for the remainder of the fall semester. This also will likely affect our ability to reopen for the spring semester,” he continued.
Students living off campus who have tested positive, as well as any of their close contacts, must be relocated. Sicard said anyone who is able to return home should do so at this time, and if that is not possible, they will be relocated to either a campus facility or a hotel room.
“These strategies have worked at other colleges and universities, so we have a fighting chance, but it will take commitment and discipline on the part of everyone in our community,” Sicard said. “I have confidence that we can summon the collective will to regain our footing, and I pray that each of you will join me in doing all we can to get back to the point where we can resume communal campus life.”