University of Rhode Island officials prepare for indoor gatherings

KINGSTON, R.I. (WLNE) – Over the weekend, videos emerged on social media of URI students gathering in large crowds and ignoring COVID-19 guidelines.

After receiving answers from the school, we followed up with them about gatherings inside campus buildings.

Now school officials are preparing for the weather to cool off and for students to spend more time inside.

The schools President, David Dooley, told ABC6 news previously that the school is cracking down on these gatherings, but increasing campus police presence.

College Freshman Benjamin Pires said, “It is easy for it to spread right now, because kids are making it easy to spread by not listening to the precautions of the school, because the school is making an effort.”

Pires says some students are breaking the rules inside on campus as well, letting visitors into their dorms while ignoring the possibility of an outbreak.

Ellen Reynolds, Director of Student Health Services says school administrators and staff is trying to prevent that from happening by keeping an eye on students and breaking up any large gathers indoors. Staff have been directed to make sure furniture in common areas allows for social distancing along with encouraging students to get a flu vaccine so there isn’t overcrowding with the school’s health services once flu season arrives this fall.

Reynolds said, “This year, like every year, but this year equally important is going to be making sure we push the flu vaccine and making sure we get as many members of our community vaccinated as possible.”

She says, for right now students are just enjoying the warm weather and the school’s efforts outside seem to be working after the controversial videos came out over the weekend.

“Last night we had senior leaders and other community partners going about trying to make sure our students are being safe. We had very few gatherings last night and very low numbers of people gathering together.” Reynolds, added.

Benjamin Pires says he just hopes he and his classmates can keep that up even when the temperature goes down.

School administrators told ABC 6 that so far they have tested about 2,500 students with only five testing positive for COVID.

©WLNE-TV/ABC6 2020

Categories: Coronavirus, News, Rhode Island