In this week’s COVID-19 update, The Good Five-Cent Cigar will discuss the update on Greek life’s shelter-in-place order and the University of Rhode Island’s testing plan as Thanksgiving approaches.

Greek Life shelter-in-place lifted for cooperative chapters

On Oct. 26, the University of Rhode Island’s Division of Student Affairs and Department of Public Safety lifted shelter-in-place orders for sorority and fraternity chapters that took part in mandatory testing and had an overall test-positive rate of 2 percent or less.

A statement from the University credited members of Greek Life, surveillance testing and the overall positive response to the shelter-in-place order for the positive decline in the COVID-19 positivity rate within the Greek community.

The order was lifted at 5 p.m. on Monday. Chapters with a positivity rate still above 2 percent or with members failing to partake in the mandatory testing process will be forced to remain in their shelter-in-place orders until Nov. 2 at 5 p.m. Those chapters were notified separately on Oct. 26.

Student Affairs and Public Safety encouraged students to continue following the health guidelines instilled by URI and the Rhode Island Department of Health including wearing face masks, social distancing, keeping group gatherings “small and stable” and washing hands.

Halloween partying raises concerns

The University also expressed concern regarding Halloween weekend in the statement. According to the update, failure to follow COVID-19 precautions and guidelines will impact the spread of the virus and affect URI’s ability to have in person classes not only this semester, but also the next. The University is encouraging students to refrain from making any in-person plans with friends or family members on Halloween, inciting they can easily get out of hand and prove to be super-spreader events. Students caught doing this, or violating any of the safety regulations, will face conduct charges from the Office of Community Standards.

Testing plans through Thanksgiving

URI will continue mandatory and surveillance COVID-19 testing as Thanksgiving approaches. Emails issued to individual students on behalf of URI Health Services on Oct. 25, thanked them for their assistance in participating in baseline testing and stated that the University plans to retest 20 percent of the population each week leading up to break.

All students are still expected to participate in and cooperate with URI in its mandatory COVID-19 testing process. This included students taking all courses online from campus and students commuting from home for classes on campus. According to the email, students who have tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 90 days should not come in for testing and should instead schedule an appointment with Health Services at 401-874-2246. This applies to students exhibiting any symptoms as well.

Students living in Greek housing who have not been cleared to end their shelter-in-place order but have not tested positive for COVID-19 can receive a test at the Memorial Union. Students quarantined in hotel housing provided by URI are expected to test once their quarantine period is over.

URI currently has a seven-day positive test rate of 0.8 percent according to a community-wide email sent out on Oct. 28. 

Resources

Health Services can be reached at 401-873-2246. Students can call the Counseling Center at 401-874-2288. The Center’s normal business hours are Monday, Thursday and Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Tuesday and Thursday 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Outside of operating hours, students will be connected to ProtoCall, which provides behavioral health services over the phone. The Psychological Consultation Center can be reached at 401-874-4264, and the Couple and Family Therapy Clinic can be reached at 401-874-5956. For more information and stories in the coming days, check our website and Twitter @rhodycigar.