Providence College extends remote-learning plan

A sign requiring face masks be worn on campus is displayed next to the main gate at Providence College on September 23, 2020. Photo by Steve Klamkin WPRO News

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Providence College said Friday that a remote-only learning plan put in place because of a coronavirus outbreak that has affected more than 200 students has been extended an additional week, until Oct. 3.

Although the number of cases among students has been on the rise, the private Roman Catholic school has been aggressively testing students and staff and said its positivity rate has been on the decline since the outbreak was reported Sept. 16.

Most of the students who have tested positive live off campus.

A statewide surge in cases that led New York, New Jersey and Connecticut to add Rhode Island to a travel quarantine list was blamed this week by Gov. Gina Raimondo on the Providence College outbreak.

“We apologize sincerely for our part in exacerbating COVID-19 positivity rates in the state, and for putting the health of residents at risk,” the college said in a statement.

Off-campus students have been told not to leave their apartments, while on-campus students are not allowed off campus. The school has about 4,800 students.

Failure to comply “may result in permanent separation from the college,” the statement said.



The Rhode Island Department of Health reported 119 more confirmed cases of the coronavirus and one more death on Friday, but also removed 249 cases from previous days’ totals.

A spokesman for the department said some of the previously reported cases were in people who had tested positive more than once.

“As a part of regular data quality improvement work, a number of duplicative records were removed from Rhode Island’s cumulative case count,” Joseph Wendelken told The Providence Journal. “We did some deduplication work to remove people who tested positive more than once.”

Because they were spread out evenly over several months, no trends have changed, he said.

There have now been almost 24,200 known cases and 1,107 deaths in the state.

The day’s positive rate was about 1.5%.

The seven-day rolling average of the positivity rate in Rhode Island has risen over the past two weeks from almost 1.1% on Sept. 10 to 1.61% on Thursday, according to the Johns Hopkins University Center for Systems Science and Engineering.

The state’s seven-day rolling average of daily new cases is also on the rise, going from more than 91 new cases per day on Sept. 10 to more than 117 on Thursday, Johns Hopkins reported.