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Students with remote status but residing in Providence urged to come forward and register for testing program

Paxson cites outbreaks at Providence College, University of Rhode Island as examples of potential risk and asks for continued caution among University community

Updated 5:10 P.M., September 24, 2020

President Christina Paxson P’19 urged students who are listed as studying remotely but have returned to Providence to come forward and enroll in the University’s testing program immediately, in a community-wide email sent Thursday.

“Because these students are not enrolled in the testing program and may therefore spread the virus without detection,” Paxson wrote, “they pose a danger to the entire community and could undermine everyone’s efforts to have a healthy and successful semester.”

The Office of Campus Life has begun reaching out to students with remote status who have allegedly returned to live in Providence, according to the email. The University will require such students to come forward and enroll in the testing program, which was previously open only to enrolled students living on- or off-campus, in addition to faculty and staff.

"The intent is to make students fully aware of their responsibilities to protecting community health," University Spokesperson Brian Clark wrote in an email to The Herald. "Any student living in Providence having claimed remote status will be required to change their Location of Study indication, complete the Student Commitment to COVID-19 Community Health and Safety Requirements, and participate in (the) mandatory testing program. Whether any further steps are required per the University’s COVID-19 Student Conduct Procedures would depend entirely on (the) specific situation.”

With a remote status, students may not return to visit or live in Providence at any point during the semester. Returning to campus while studying remotely constitutes a violation of the Campus Safety Policy and may entail serious sanctions including suspension from Brown, Paxson wrote.

“This is a harsh consequence, but it reflects the gravity of the public health threat created by students who do not enroll in the established testing program,” Paxson wrote.

The University does not offer COVID-19 testing to students who are on leave and living in Providence.

Paxson also urged remote students living in Providence who have not yet been contacted by the University to come forward so that they may be enrolled in the testing program. It was not immediately clear if students enrolled remotely but living in Providence who come forward would still be subject to disciplinary actions.

Paxson’s email follows recent outbreaks of COVID-19 at Providence College and the University of Rhode Island. “The experience of these institutions is instructive. The outbreaks haven’t been linked to large parties,” but instead students who didn’t limit their social contacts, Paxson wrote. 

Correction: A previous version of this article's summary deck stated that Paxson referenced an outbreak at Rhode Island College. In fact, she referenced one at the University of Rhode Island. The Herald regrets the error. 



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