Fate of semester lies in student’s hands after Providence College sees 100-plus COVID-19 cases

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) – Providence College issued a stay at home order after more than 80 students tested positive for COVID-19.

In a letter to faculty and students, Providence College President Kenneth Sicard says the college has used virtually every tool at their disposal and they are out of options. He says the fate of the semester lies in the actions and decisions of students.

Korey Lord is the president of student congress. He is a senior currently living off-campus and in quarantine. He says he hopes other students take this warning seriously so that their class doesn’t lose senior year.

“I can assure everyone that Father Sicard is serious about that,” Lord said. “I talked to him a few times. The next few weeks are crucial. He said it in his email, we have to keep the school and the surrounding community safe and that’s our only hope at keeping the second semester alive.”

Cases on campus have spiked in the last few days. According to the college’s coronavirus statistics, cases have now reached 107. 106 of those are students and one is a faculty member.

The President issued a stay at home order meaning all students in dorms must stay on campus and all off-campus students are ordered to quarantine in their apartments. Food will be delivered and any type of gatherings is prohibited.

He also said students living off-campus who test positive or who are considered close contacts must be relocated. Those who can return home should do so and all others will be relocated to a campus facility or hotel room.

“A lot of us seniors, we want to have a normal second semester,” Lord said. “This is our senior year. So, that’s what we need to focus on is protecting everyone around us.”

Friday, Eaton Street remained eerily quiet after the president said anyone who violates the order will be immediately suspended. College staff, the Providence Police Department and private security will monitor PC houses on a 24/7 basis.

“Now that this has all happened, let’s take the next steps to focus on everyone getting healthy, keeping everyone around us healthy,” Lord said. “That’s what it’s all about right now.”

Classes have now shifted to total remote learning for at least a week. President Sicard says if they can’t contain the spread, it will not only jeopardize the fall semester, but the spring as well.

Categories: Coronavirus, News, Providence, Rhode Island