Updated: Oct 24, 2022
Mel Rising Dawn Cordeiro
“Medium level- yellow.” These are the words that graced the email inboxes of Rhode Island College students, faculty and staff on Monday. This subject line is, in fact, related to the latest Providence area COVID data and RIC’s response to a recent spike in local cases.
The Rhode Island Department of Health releases their COVID data for the week during a publication every Thursday afternoon. This comes as no surprise, as Sars-CoV-2 continues to mutate.
As RIC is at a Medium/Yellow protocol level, the city of Providence is at a higher level. The week of Oct. 8 saw 1,526 new COVID cases across the state. A majority of the new cases are occurring in people who are aged 70 and over, with that population making up 262 new cases per 100,000 Rhode Island residents. From that week’s numbers, only 83 cases consisted of college-aged students.
The July 2021 census revealed to us that Rhode Island has 1,095,610 residents. Of that number, Providence housed 189,692 residents. The city of Providence currently has 42,376 cases per 100,000 residents. As of October, the city has Rhode Island’s fourth highest number of cases. Central Falls currently places first.
Since the start of the pandemic, Providence has seen a total number of 76,037 cases per 100,000. This statistic also puts the city in the top space for overall cases. 685 people have passed away since the start of the pandemic as well, putting Providence again, in the top slot for most COVID deaths.
In response to this information, RIC is requiring that surgical or N95/KN95 masks be worn in the classrooms and during events. Though it is a requirement, the college is allowing professors to make their own judgment calls and waive the requirement at their discretion. In buildings outside of the classroom, masks are being strongly encouraged.
RIC is also asking that all students, faculty and staff remain home if they’re not feeling well. Those with medical or religious exemptions and those who are not fully vaccinated with the original vaccine, including the booster shots, are to begin testing weekly as well.
Residential students are asked to call Health Services at 401-456-8055 if symptomatic. If a student tests positive, they are asked to report their case here: COVID-19 Student Report Form (maxient.com). Asymptomatic testing will be at Yellow Cottage on the East Campus, Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. It’s not necessary to have an appointment, but a RIC ID is required for entry and testing. For questions regarding testing, the testing site can be reached by phone at 401-456-4797.
To keep everybody in the RIC community safe, the college is asking that everyone do their part.
Update: As of Oct. 24, the number of cases has gone down, and the college is now back to "Low Level - Green"