September 16, 2020
Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,
We are writing to inform the community that the college’s COVID-19 campus alert level has been raised from green to yellow, effective immediately. This determination was made as a result of careful review of numerous indicators, most significantly an increase in the number of active cases on our campus over the past 48 hours and the number of individuals in isolation and quarantine as a result of those cases.
As of this morning, we know of 15 active cases among our community, 13 of which are students who are now in isolation in a separate building on campus. Those individuals are feeling well and are receiving care and meal delivery while in isolation. Of the two other active cases, one is a student who is isolating at home and one is an employee who is isolating at home.
Contact tracing protocols for two cases that emerged yesterday (Tuesday) resulted in our testing and quarantining of the residents of one floor in Jones Hall and several other students in various locations. We now have more than 40 students in quarantine in their residences on or near campus. That number will grow today as we progress with contact tracing for the cases we learned of this morning.
Our focus at this point is in moving swiftly to contain the spread of the virus on campus. Seven of the positive test results came in just this morning from tests conducted yesterday and Monday. The individuals who tested positive in recent days live in different locations across campus. Tracing suggests that a high percentage of the cases is a result of the virus spreading through contact in residence halls.
The protocols we established for testing, contact tracing, and isolation and quarantine continue to aid us in the complex and constant work to maintain the health of our community. These protocols help us identify and contain the virus on campus, and they inform our decision-making with regard to a safe level of operations. For at least the next seven days, we will remain in alert level yellow or higher. Please consult the detailed chart for specifics about campus operations at the yellow level. In addition to those details, out of an abundance of caution we are taking two intermediary steps to limit the spread among the student population and within residence halls:
- All dining is grab-and-go; no seating is permitted inside any dining facility
- Students’ residence hall access is limited to the floor of their own residence; common areas are closed
We understand that this change will cause inconvenience and may bring anxiety, and we encourage everyone to seek out support and offer it to one another when needed. But the heightened level signals the need for our entire community to immediately redouble its efforts to limit the spread of the virus. Please take note that the alert level may change again at any time, and we will update you if/when that happens.
For students, as an important reminder:
- You may not enter residence halls other than your own (and currently you may only be in rooms on your floor)
- If you are in a room with someone other than your suitemate or apartment mate(s), all of you must wear face coverings and maintain a minimum of 6 feet of physical distance from one another
- Face coverings are required in the hallways and all shared spaces of residence halls
- Students may continue to gather in very small groups (no more than six) outside, but must maintain proper physical distance and wear face coverings except when eating
- Call the Health Center (860-297-2018) if you are not feeling well or are experiencing symptoms listed on your daily health report via the CoVerified app
We have updated the COVID-19 dashboard to reflect the current number of active cases and the changed alert level.
We are grateful for the support of all in caring for our community, including in meeting the expectations for testing, daily symptom checks, and more that are detailed in the Student Community Responsibility Agreement and the Employee Community Commitment. We thank you for taking this seriously and doing your part to help ensure that we can continue to be together here on campus.
Joe DiChristina, Vice President for Student Success and Enrollment Management
Jason Rojas, Chief of Staff and Associate Vice President for External Relations