October 7, 2020
Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,
We write at this late hour having completed a review of test results from the past two days. We are raising the campus alert level to orange as a result of a significant increase in active cases of COVID-19 in our community. Results from tests conducted Monday and Tuesday have revealed 21 active cases among the student body. A dozen of those results came in over just the last couple of hours. The students who have tested positive are either in isolation or are being moved to isolation this evening. Most will be remain in isolation in a separate building on campus; some have decided to return home. The students are doing well; a few of them are reporting mild symptoms.
We know the decision to raise the alert level from green to orange may cause worry and anxiety. Please know that the decision was made as a result of careful review of numerous indicators, most significantly the rapid 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. We also continue to watch carefully the positivity rates in Connecticut and Hartford, which have risen over the last week.
Our focus at this point is in moving swiftly to contain the spread of the virus within our community. The individuals who tested positive in recent days live in different locations on and off campus. So far, the new cases appear to be connected; that is, they mostly are among students who live together in off-campus apartments/housing. Contact tracing associated with these new active cases has resulted in the quarantining of approximately 55 additional students, a number that is likely to rise over the next day as contact tracing continues.
Through at least the end of the day on Monday, October 12, we will remain in alert level orange. We will provide an update to the community on Monday with guidance for the remainder of the week. Please consult the detailed chart on alert levels for specifics about campus operations at the orange level. There are considerable implications for teaching, dining, and other campus operations, the most significant of which are these:
- All classes will be conducted remotely
- All dining is grab-and-go; no seating is permitted inside any dining facility
- Athletic facilities are closed (the COVID-19 testing center in Ferris will remain open)
- The Library is open by appointment only
- Cinestudio is closed
- Students’ residence hall access is limited to the floor of their own residence; common areas are closed
- Only employees whose work requires them to be on campus should report to their offices
For students, some important reminders:
- You may not travel off campus for non-essential reasons. If you need to travel home for an urgent matter, please contact the office of the dean of student life at email@example.com.
- 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.
- The campus testing center remains open, and it is important that you continue with our testing protocols. If your last name begins with A-K, you should continue to schedule appointments for Monday/Thursday. If your last name begins with L-Z, please continue to schedule appointments for Tuesday/Friday.
We ask for and appreciate your continued commitment to the expectations we have for one another for daily symptom-checking, participating in our ongoing testing program, maintaining proper physical distancing, wearing face coverings, and following all other good health and safety practices. All of these are critical to our ability to manage the virus and continue to be together on campus.
We have updated the COVID-19 dashboard to reflect the current number of active cases and the changed alert level. Please take note that the alert level may change again at any time, and we will update you if/when that happens.
Joe DiChristina, Vice President for Student Success and Enrollment Management
Jason Rojas, Chief of Staff and Associate Vice President for External Relations