posted on: Thursday October 15, 2020
by Sydney Olinger ’23
Over the past two weeks, Providence College students, faculty, and staff have faced tremendous change and uncertainty due to the current global pandemic. After the severe COVID-19 outbreak that took place at PC, impacting students living both on and off campus, faculty at PC and the Rhode Island Department of Health took extreme measures to ensure the outbreak did not spread any further in attempts to keep our school community and the surrounding community safe.
Though students may have felt frustrated, upset, or even anxious about the lockdown that affected students living on and off campus, faculty at PC have worked diligently in taking all safety precautions in order to keep our campus open and offer some sense of normalcy during these times.
Prior to the two-week lockdown, all classes were fully virtual, fully in-person, or a hybrid of the two. For the past two weeks and part of this week during the transitional period to return to in-person classes, students must attend all of their classes virtually.
Due to this change, many students residing in dorms and apartments on campus made the decision to go home after receiving a negative COVID-19 test. Although students were hopeful that this lockdown would only be temporary, there was no guarantee that the campus would reopen. These students took a chance given that they might not have been allowed to reenter campus, but thankfully, as of this weekend’s Continuity email, the school will slowly begin reopening.
“The week of Oct. 5 should be considered one of transition. There are numerous reasons that the return must necessarily be gradual, and we ask for patience as we work together through the next few days,” explained the members of the Providence College Continuity Task Force.
One of the newer COVID-19 guidelines the College has been encouraging is for students to stay in a “pod.” This essentially means the only people you should be around when you are not wearing a mask are your roommates or suitemates. For people living in off-campus housing, their “pods” are only the people living on their floor.
“Mingling with others—the most significant cause of our outbreak—remains prohibited. Think about the people in your immediate living environments like you would your family—meaning if you live in residence halls, it’s the people in your room, not all of the people in your hall,” stated the members of the Providence College Continuity Task Force.
The guidelines and rules for students returning to campus from home resemble those we followed when first moving on campus. The school requires students to present a negative point-of-origin test and to take a test at Peterson Recreation Center when they arrive on campus. Following arrival, students must quarantine in their residence hall until they receive a negative test from the College, which then allows them to go to Raymond Dining Hall and buildings that are presently open.
As of two weeks ago when the lockdown began, all buildings except for Slavin, Raymond Dining Hall, and residence halls were closed. These guidelines had to be put in place even though they very much restricted the freedom of students living on campus. These rules remain in place during this week of transitioning back to the new normal.
Although it is certainly a difficult time for students everywhere—with not being able to hang out with old friends, meet new friends, and even become acquainted with our professors—there are countless ways to accomplish all of these things virtually. It is undeniably challenging and very different from the way we lived less than a year ago, but making adjustments during this time is imperative.