Brown announces plans for students’ return to campus in fall

Brown University President Christina Paxson outlined plans to reopen the Ivy League University’s Providence campus in the fall with new restrictions dictated by the coronavirus pandemic. She spoke with reporters via Zoom July 7, 2020.

The Associated Press

Brown University will move to a three-term model for the next academic year, students will live alone in dorm rooms, and classes with more than 20 students will be taught remotely to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, the Ivy League university announced Tuesday.

Undergraduates will be allowed to be on campus for two of the three terms — fall, spring and summer — and all students will be given the option to take courses remotely, whether they are on campus or not, according to the school’s statement.

No first-year students will attend the fall term, President Christina Paxson said in a letter to students and made public by the school.

Faculty with health or other concerns have the option to teach, mentor and advise students online in the fall, and employees who are able to work remotely will continue to do so at least through early fall.

Giving students who live on campus a single room, and limiting in-person class sizes to 20 students will enable safe distancing of students and instructors in classrooms, the school said.

“Although I am deeply disappointed that we can’t welcome our first-year students to campus in the fall, we simply don’t think that it is safe to have all undergraduates on campus simultaneously,” Paxson said. “We hope that by the time the spring term begins, the public health situation will have improved enough that we no longer need a de-densified campus.”

All graduate students will have the option to study in person or remotely.

All students will be tested for COVID-19 when they return to Brown, and students will be required to participate in random testing to monitor for community spread of the coronavirus, the school announced.

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HOSPITALIZATIONS DECLINE

The number of people in Rhode Island hospitals with the coronavirus continues to decline, the state Department of Health said Tuesday.

There were 55 people in the hospital with COVID-19 as of Sunday, the most recent day for which the data is available. That was down from 57 the previous day and was the lowest single-day total since March 25. Only four patients are currently in intensive care.

The department also reported 122 new confirmed cases and nine additional coronavirus-related deaths in the past four days. The agency had not updated its data since Friday because of the July Fourth weekend.

There have now been more than 17,150 confirmed cases and 969 deaths in the state.

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EVICTION SURGE EXPECTED

Hundreds of Rhode Island families who lost income during the coronavirus pandemic could lose their rented homes now that the state moratorium on evictions has been lifted, housing advocates say.

“Evictions were a crisis in the state long before the pandemic,” Kristina Contreras Fox, a senior policy analyst with the Rhode Island Coalition for Homelessness, told The Providence Journal.

A total of 420 eviction cases were filed from June 2 through June 30 for nonpayment, according to Kara Picozzi, a spokeswoman for the state courts. That adds to the 360 that remained pending prior to the courts shutting down March 17.

Those numbers are expected to climb in the coming months as the federal unemployment supplement runs out at the end of July.

Some assistance programs have been established to help provide rent relief.

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BLOCK ISLAND WORKER POSITIVE

A summer worker on Block Island has tested positive for the coronavirus, the first confirmed case of the disease on the vacation destination since March.

The worker’s employer activated the business’s COVID-19 response plan, the employee was isolated, and the state Department of Health was notified, according to the statement. Contact tracing has started.

Neither the worker nor the business was publicly identified.

It was the first confirmed case of the disease on the island since late March, when a resident who had visited New York tested positive.