PC requiring off-campus students to take online classes unless they show negative COVID-19 test

PROVIDENCE COLLEGE announced late Tuesday that it will require all off-campus students to take classes online until further notice unless they can provide a negative test to the college. / COURTESY PROVIDENCE COLLEGE
PROVIDENCE COLLEGE announced late Tuesday that it will require all off-campus students to take classes online until further notice unless they can provide a negative test to the college. / COURTESY PROVIDENCE COLLEGE

PROVIDENCE – Providence College announced late Tuesday that students who live off campus are required to take classes online instead of in person until further notice unless students can provide the college a negative COVID-19 test.

In a letter to the campus community, PC Interim Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Steven A. Sears said the college received reports of students testing positive for coronavirus on their own at off-campus facilities. Some results were reported to PC by the R.I. Department of Health and others have been self-reported, Sears said.

PC spokesperson Steven Maurano told Providence Business News Wednesday that about 650 to 700 PC students live off campus and approximately 15 of them have tested positive from that group – about a 2% positive rate.

Maurano said the college is still awaiting on more test results and there could be more positive cases. All off-campus students, not including those who have tested positive and are currently in isolation, were required to get tested on campus Wednesday, even if they received a negative test result from an off-campus facility.

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Many students who tested positive were already under quarantine per PC protocol, Maurano said, and the college “does not believe these cases are the result of any single event,” such as an off-campus party. Maurano also said PC has an adequate number of tests and staff on hand to test students, and results will be produced in 24 hours.

Students who show PC a negative test will be allowed back on campus. However, Maurano said if a student, even with a negative test, lives with another student who has tested positive, he/she must quarantine for 24 days – 10 for initial quarantine and 14 days of further isolation.

Maurano also told PBN he doesn’t foresee this off-campus policy lasting for the rest of the fall semester.

James Bessette is the PBN special projects editor, and also covers the nonprofit and education sectors. You may reach him at Bessette@PBN.com. You may also follow him on Twitter at @James_Bessette.

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