URI mandatory testing raises questions for fraternities and sororities

KINGSTON, R.I. (WLNE) — A spokesman for the University of Rhode Island says the school has just reached 5,000 mandatory tests since Monday, and now it’s raising some questions about what to do when students test positive.

Three students living in a URI sorority house have tested positive, and are expected to spend their quarantines in designated isolation spaces.

“If they test positive, they need to go into the isolation hotels,” said Amy Thomas, president of the school’s Panhellenic Association. “We don’t want to send them home, we don’t want to spread the infection in their hometowns.”

But the school says other students living in the sorority were forced to leave, and given an hour to move out of the house — a decision made by the organization that runs the building.

“They just went ahead and did this,” said URI spokesman David Lavallee. “And it’s not something that’s acceptable to us. That is not what we would recommend. We want them to stay here. We want them to not spread virus to family members, other community members, that kind of thing. And it also gives us a chance to monitor their situation.”

It’s a chance to monitor in case symptoms appear, and to make sure they’re following safety protocols.

“People who think they don’t have to abide by these rules and regulations, we want them to know that this is serious business,” Lavallee said.

Officials say students are doing their part, and students hope the school doesn’t take an excessively punitive approach.

“Trying to say, ‘let’s get through it together as a community would lead to better outcomes,'” said student Lauren Shallcross.

A sorority spokeswoman says members moved out of the sorority house due to conflicting instructions, but are now allowed to move back in and complete their quarantines in the house.

The university says it plans to continue this first round of mandatory testing for all its students, and hasn’t made a decision yet on whether to do another round of testing after that.

Categories: Coronavirus, News, Rhode Island