August 7, 2020

Dear Trinity Students and Families,

As we know, this is an unprecedented time in our world. We all must recognize that we are in this together and that as we protect ourselves (e.g., wearing face coverings, avoiding large gatherings), we protect others. Students must keep in mind, as you prepare to return to Trinity College, that what had been our normal educational and social activities will change and that you will need to adhere to all guidelines. It is most important that, as of today, Friday, August 7, you should begin to have plans in place to self-quarantine in your current place of residence, prior to your return.  If it is essential that you go out, limit your activities, wear face coverings, and do not attend large gatherings, as data show that the virus is spread most often in these types of settings.

Testing students, faculty, and staff is one way we can mitigate the spread of the virus. We are requiring all members of our community to have a pre-arrival test, to participate in onboarding testing, and ongoing testing throughout the semester. This letter is an update on testing and the State of Connecticut travel advisory.

State of Connecticut travel advisory

Connecticut has issued a Travel Advisory for Visitors to Connecticut from 34 states and Puerto Rico; this advisory is updated weekly. These states are referred to as affected states. Students coming from affected states must quarantine for their first 14 days in Connecticut, prior to being in classes. Students also must complete the online Connecticut Health Travel Form. According to the travel advisory, parents/family members (Trinity asks that it be only one family member per student.) accompanying their children should get a test 72 hours prior to arrival in Connecticut and must complete the online travel form. Family members do not have to quarantine. Trinity asks family members to limit their activities on campus to the time needed to assist (a two hour time period) with the move-in process.

For students from affected states, you are required to transition to Trinity by adhering to the following: If you receive a negative PCR COVID-19 pre-arrival test, you may come directly to Trinity. Upon arrival, you will have to quarantine for 14 days, meaning that you must remain in your place of residence and leave only to get meals. When getting meals, you must wear a face covering and maintain social distancing and regular hand hygiene. This mandatory quarantine is why we are allowing students from these areas to arrive beginning on August 24.

Pre-arrival testing plans

As we indicated in our July 30 letter, Trinity will require all students to have a pre-arrival test before moving into a college residence hall or off-campus housing. The test must be a PCR (polymerase chain reaction) COVID-19 test; it cannot be a blood-based test. The PCR test determines whether a person is carrying the coronavirus even when symptoms are not present.

You are responsible for paying the cost of the pre-arrival test. We know that this is an added expense for our students and families. Therefore, if the test creates financial stress for you and your family, you are encouraged to submit a request for reimbursement by applying to the COVID 19 relief fund. We will prioritize all requests.

Students traveling from affected states must complete the PCR COVID-19 test no sooner than three days prior to arrival. Other students can complete the test within five days prior to arrival. You may complete your pre-arrival test in two ways:

  1. You may schedule a test in the area in which you live during the week prior to your arrival. We encourage you to research options available to you, including community health centers, hospitals, doctors’ offices, and pharmacies.
  2. You may order a PCR test kit and have it mailed to your current place of residence. For example, you can order a test kit from LetsGetChecked (LGC). You must be at least 18, and LGC delivers only within the continental United States. The test cost is $119. When placing the order, you will be asked various questions. If you are not symptomatic, please do not say “yes.” We want to be sure to provide accurate information. You may be able to say “yes” to questions about COVID-19 in your region (e.g., city, county, state); in this case, “yes” is an acceptable answer if you know it to be accurate. The sample collection is self-administered using a shallow nasal swab, much like a cotton swab. LGC provides test results directly to you.

For both testing methods, once you have the test results and prior to arrival at Trinity, submit those results to the Trinity College Health Center. We will update you by August 15 on how to submit test results.

Students from non-affected states who are unable to get a pre-arrival test will need to remain in quarantine for 14 days upon arrival on campus and have two negative results from the tests we administer on campus.

If your pre-arrival test result is COVID-19 positive, you must stay in your current place of residence for at least 10 days and be symptom free before coming to campus. You will need to speak with the Trinity College Health Center prior to your return to campus.

Onboarding testing (August required check-in) and in-semester testing

As indicated in an earlier communication, we are using the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard to conduct onboarding and in-semester testing. All costs for these tests will be covered by the college. The day you arrive on campus, you will participate in onboarding testing. At this time, we are being told by Broad that test results will be back within one to two days. While you await the test results for this first test, you are asked to limit activities to those that are essential, such as getting meals. It is best to stay in your place of residence. If you receive a negative test result (and you are not from an affected state or location), you may move around campus, keeping in accordance with social- distancing expectations and all other safety protocols, including wearing a face covering.

Students will continue to be tested twice each week until September 21. All test results will be sent to you and the college. You will need to sign a consent form, which is forthcoming. After September 21, we may go to once-a-week testing, depending on the data we observe from our testing program. If at any time you receive a positive COVID-19 test result, you will be placed in isolation (or you may go home if that is possible). Isolating individuals with COVID-19 is the best way to reduce the transmission of the virus.

For in-semester testing, students will receive a pair of testing dates for each week—either Monday/Thursday or Tuesday/Friday. The testing schedule is yet to be determined. You will receive more information on this in the coming weeks.

To keep our community safe, students must participate in all aspects of our testing program. If you do not adhere to the program (e.g., miss scheduled test times), you will be required to continue your education remotely.

Arrival to Hartford and Trinity College

As a reminder, all students must check in this year, even if you are living in housing that is not owned by the college. The State of Connecticut is requiring that we manage all arrivals, so it is highly important that you follow the instructions sent from the Bantam Network Residential Learning Network regarding your check-in date. If you need to inquire about your arrival date and time, please email [email protected]. Students arriving from international locations should direct any questions to Katie Clair, international student adviser.

We look forward to welcoming you on campus.

Thank you,

Joe DiChristina
Vice President for Student Success and Enrollment Management

Dr. Jody Goodman
Dean of Student Life and Director of the Bantam Network