At tonight’s City Council meeting Majority Leader Jo-Ann Ryan (Ward 5) introduced legislation that calls on the administration to establish a COVID-19 Working Group regarding local college and university reentry plans. The group will consist of local college and university representatives, community representatives, public safety officials, public health officials, and others to work together on the creation of reentry plans for students, staff, and faculty. Creating and sharing these plans will provide confidence for neighbors that live and work around these institutions in Providence.
“Providence is a world-class city with world-class institutions of higher education, which makes our city an incredible place to live and learn,” stated Majority Leader Jo-Ann Ryan. “The goal is to protect our residents and the thousands of students, faculty, and staff of our eight local college and university campuses as they return for in-person learning from the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Many epidemiologists believe that colleges and their congregate settings put students, faculty, and staff at risk if the virus were to return in the fall and winter, which many believe it will. Making it critical for the City and our local colleges and universities to work together to ensure that we can reopen campuses safely.”
The creation of reopening plans that set forth clear and actionable steps for how these institutions plan on maintaining public safety when they do reopen campuses will signal to both students and the residents of Providence that there is a way to co-exist safely and productively, even in the era of COVID-19.
Majority Leader Ryan continued, “The faculty and students of our local institutions play an integral role in the social and economic fabric of our City, and it will require all of us working together to enable their safe return to Providence. We all need to be moving in the same direction so that we can begin to build a new normal without risking another wave of the virus.”