Johnson & Wales to go remote for at least two weeks after 38 students test positive for COVID-19

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) – Johnson & Wales University announced Monday that in-person learning would temporarily move to remote learning while the university tests its student body following a cluster of positive coronavirus cases among off-campus students.

In an email to the school community, the university confirmed a total of 38 positive cases, up from 31 cases on Thursday. The school tested their off-campus student population last week after an outbreak was reported at Providence College.

“We thought if we just took a pause right now, it would give us an opportunity to really understand what’s happening across our campus community, not just the Elmhurst neighborhood,” said President of the Providence campus Marie Bernardo-Sousa, LP.D.

Bernardo-Sousa said she expects remote learning to last at least two weeks.

Currently, only freshman students and those with in-person labs are taking face-to-face courses. The rest of the student body is learning remotely. Culinary and baking and pastry lab classes will continue to be held in-person.

“This has been a year filled with lessons. Particularly with our freshmen, you know, they didn’t likely have the traditional high school graduation, their high school prom, then they come to college campus for their first year and that looks very different,” Bernardo-Sousa said.

Following recommendations from the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH), JWU will conduct baseline testings of its student population starting Wednesday.

All JWU students who live on campus, commute to campus or live in Rhode Island as remote learners will be tested. JWU is requiring students, per RIDOH’s guidance, to stay at home, on-campus, or in their off-campus homes until the baseline testing is complete.

“This is such a critical point in our academic journey,” said Bernardo-Sousa, “and students are investing a lot of time and energy in earning those academic credits, so we want to get them back in the classroom and working side-by-side with our faculty.”

It’s estimated 3,700 students will be tested. Bernardo-Sousa said the school is aiming to finish up testing by next Tuesday and get back to in-person learning soon after.

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Categories: Coronavirus, News, Providence, Regional News, Rhode Island