Providence College's classes will remain online until at least October 3rd, the private, Catholic college announced Friday.

The college is working to contain an outbreak first reported last week with a spike of 67 positive cases in one day. As of Friday, the number of positive cases had reached 219, with a positivity rate since Sept. 14th of 2.96 percent.

The outbreak prompted the school to shut down in-person classes and issue a stay-at-home order for students residing both on and off-campus. The stay-at-home order has been extended until Oct. 3rd. 

“There is no sugar-coating the fact that this is a terrible situation,” Providence College President Rev. Kenneth Sicard said in a message to staff and students. 

Over the last week, the school has finished testing all students, and has isolated or quarantined more than 400.

“While testing data show that conditions are improving, they also show that some degree of spread continues,” Providence College administrators said in a statement issued Friday afternoon. 

Several elected officials representing Providence called on school administrators to continue online classes through the remainder of the semester. The school says such decisions are being handled by Providence College leadership and the state health department. 

Student apartments take up large swaths of the neighborhood surrounding Providence College, which has sometimes led to acrimony between residents and the young people living nearby.

Providence College staff in conjunction with Providence Police are surveying the area to make sure students abide by new COVID-19 restrictions on gathering. School officials say they will work with landlords in the neighborhood to ensure these policies are followed.

“In addition to being a temporary home for PC students who live off-campus, this neighborhood is also the permanent home of many working families who depend on their health to earn a living,” the Providence College statement continues. “We apologize sincerely for our part in exacerbating COVID-19 positivity rates in the State, and for putting the health of residents at risk.”

Some students from Bryant University, Johnson and Wales University and Rhode Island College also live in the area. A spokesperson for Johnson and Wales said four students living in the neighborhood have tested positive for the virus, and is requiring all students who live there to get tested. 

Officials from Bryant and RIC say none of the students residing in that area have tested positive for COVID-19. 

This post was updated at approximately 4:48pm Friday.