Here Are All of the Coronavirus Outbreaks at Colleges in New England

Over 1,500 coronavirus cases have been reported at colleges and universities in the region, according to a New York Times database

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Classes are now underway at many New England colleges, and problems have begun cropping up on local campuses as students fail to abide by restrictions put in place by administrators as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Schools in Boston and throughout the region have seemed to fare better than many in other parts of U.S., but there have still been some issues reported, including several in the last few days alone. According to a New York Times database, there are now more than 1,500 coronavirus cases at colleges and universities across New England.

Here's a look at some of the schools where incidents have been reported so far, by state:


Boston College: Over the past month, over 100 students have tested positive, leading the state to step in to conduct contact tracing in the hopes of containing the outbreak. Officials attributed to the spike in cases to two off-campus gatherings where students were not wearing masks or social distancing. The college had previously announced it was suspending activities for its men's and women's swimming and diving program after some team members tested positive for the coronavirus. 

College of Holy Cross, Worcester: More than 20 College of the Holy Cross students tested positive for the coronavirus last month after a party. The party was held off campus in mid-August. The school is hosting a remote fall semester, but some students are living on campus.

Merrimack College, North Andover: School officials announced that they are shifting to online classes this week after learning of a dozen new coronavirus cases that were unrelated to a previous COVID-19 cluster that led to nearly 70 students testing positive and prompted an entire dorm to be shut down.

Northeastern University, Boston: Northeastern University announced earlier this month that 11 first-year students had been dismissed after they were found gathered in a room at the Westin Hotel in Boston in violation of university and public health protocols aimed at preventing the spread of the coronavirus. The Westin is one of several Boston hotels being used to house students at local colleges and universities due to the pandemic. At the start of the school year, Northeastern had threatened to expel any students not following COVID-19 guidelines after an Instagram poll asked incoming students whether they planned to party when they arrived on campus.

Salem State University: University President John Keenan said in an email over the weekend that school officials are investigating two unrelated off-campus incidents that occurred on Friday night. Both involved gatherings where Salem State students were violating public health guidelines. In the first incident, police broke up a gathering of over 50 people at an apartment on Becket Street. In the second incident, a student was arrested for setting fire to playground equipment at Pickman Park.

University of Massachusetts Amherst: According to the Boston Globe, 13 students have tested positive at the school in the past week. The students live off campus and are believed to have attended the same party. Additional cases could be reported later this week.

Gov. Charlie Baker said he is reviewing the protocols for coronavirus testing and tracing on college campuses across Massachusetts and plans to "re-engage" with the schools following a recent outbreak at Boston College.

New Hampshire

University of New Hampshire, Durham: More than 10 cases of the coronavirus were traced to a fraternity party where people did not follow public health guidelines, the president of the University of New Hampshire said. University and state health officials said at least 11 people have tested positive for the virus following an Aug. 29 party at the Theta Chi fraternity. In a letter to the university community, UNH President James Dean said more than 100 students and non-students attended the "reprehensible" party at 5 Strafford Ave. in Durham. "Let me be clear: this is reckless behavior and the kind of behavior that undermines our planning and will lead to us switching to a fully remote mode,'' Dean said in the letter. A second coronavirus cluster was reported several weeks later at the Gables, an on-campus student apartment complex. At least 20 people who live there tested positive for COVID-19.

After an off-campus party was busted by Durham police students at the University of New Hampshire have been issued a warning amid concerns of the coronavirus.


University of Connecticut, Storrs: UConn officials said several students were removed from their housing after violating social distancing guidelines by hosting a dormitory party last month. The disciplinary action came after a video, confirmed by UConn officials, surfaced on social media. It showed a large gathering of people in one student’s dorm room. Loud music was playing while students held red party cups. Some students were not wearing masks. At least 50 cases have been reported on campus so far this fall.

Central Connecticut State, New Britain: Multiple students from Central Connecticut State University tested positive for COVID-19 early in the semester and school officials said they connected many of the positive cases to two off-campus gatherings. School officials said 11 commuter students and one resident student/staff tested positive for COVID-19 last month. "I wanted to bring to your attention that we are seeing a slight uptick in the number of students who have tested positive for COVID-19. Though this is not unexpected during the first week of testing, it is extremely disappointing how some of these students became infected," CCSU President Zulma R. Toro said in a statement. She said that failure to wear a face mask, maintain physical distancing, and limit indoor gatherings to 25 people and outdoor gatherings to 50 may result in suspension or expulsion from the university. The number of cases at the school has since declined.

Rhode Island

Providence College: Over 100 cases of COVID-19 have been reported, which led the school to move to remote learning and issue a stay-at-home order. The school said on-campus students are not allowed to leave campus, and off-campus students may not leave their apartments. All indoor and outdoor gatherings are banned and travel to bars, restaurants or neighborhood businesses is not allowed.

University of Rhode Island: The university announced last week that it is canceling spring break to reduce travel and prevent the spread of the coronavirus. At least 40 cases have been reported at the school. Earlier this month, a video surfaced showing a large gathering that students said was held on the University of Rhode Island's campus the night before. The video showed hundreds of students gathered across the quad. According to the university, if a student is caught repeatedly violating COVID compliance they could be suspended and kicked off campus.

Seventeen students from Providence College became the latest group in the country to be suspended for violating COVID-19 restrictions. This incident follows students suspended from the SUNY system, Montclair University, Syracuse University and Michigan State, among others, for gathering or partying during the pandemic.
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