Videos of URI students violating COVID-19 rules surface, school responds

KINGSTON, R.I. (WLNE) – A video of hundreds of students in large crowds, in clear violation of the school’s COVID-19 guidelines, has surfaced online.

A student, who wants to stay anonymous, sent videos to ABC6 News that were taken across from the quad around 12:45 a.m., early Sunday morning.

David Dooley, President of the University of Rhode Island, said he and his administration have a plan to prevent large late-night gatherings, which he said were broken up by the University Police after they found out.

“We are going to have several members of the senior administration driving around campus in a golf cart – sort of keeping an eye on things together with our public safety folks,” Dooley said.

Students who attend these large gatherings face suspension or expulsion from the University.

Dave Lavallee, a spokesperson for the University of Rhode Island, said if large gatherings continue it could result in “losing the opportunity of enjoying the semester together.”

“This could happen to URI if these gatherings lead to a substantial increase in COVID-19 cases,” Lavalle said.

Lavallee also said several students have reached out to the school to express concerns about the gatherings.

“Many of them, newly arrived first-year students have communicated to us that they are worried about these gatherings and the potential to interrupt their first semester on our beautiful campus,” Lavallee said.

As a result of the gatherings, the school has increased URI Campus Police presence and staff from student affairs.

“Those who ignore or challenge the standards the University has set to protect the health and safety of the community, run the risk of serious sanctions, including suspension and immediate removal from campus,” Lavallee said.

About 2,500 students have moved on-campus this past week and 5 have tested positive for COVID-19, according to the school.

©WLNE-TV/ABC6 2020

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