The following message was sent to all students on Friday, August 28 regarding the updated visitor policy.
We know our message banning any visitors in your room is frustrating. We want to explain what is at stake – our ability to be here on campus.
The contact tracing after positive test results this week quickly challenged the college’s capacity to put potentially exposed students in quarantine. To stay on campus, we need to be able to quarantine possibly exposed students for 14 days. At this time, this is true even if these students test negative.
As the semester started, we knew that there would be some positive cases. We planned for this. But, this week, when contact tracing identified close contacts, instead of a couple people – a roommate and a close friend – it identified five, six or seven people. One positive case led to quarantining nine additional students. This is not something that can continue.
These students had been in the same room, with too many people, too close and masks off. We have space for more than 70 people in isolation and quarantine. That will be full soon if we have to quarantine so many students for each positive case. We need your help. Please help keep yourself and your friends from being exposed. Keep yourself and your friends out of quarantine.
We hope this change in approach will be short term, but we are worried about the virus spreading, the impact on classmates and friends, and on our ability to house students who need to be separated. The best course of action we all have is to reduce the number of close contacts so that someone who tests positive has exposed no more than 2 people. Even though we’re getting tested every week, we need to act as if we could spread the virus. That’s why we mask up and stay 6 feet apart.
You are more than entitled to be frustrated with our circumstances. Help us get this right so that we can get back a little closer to the experience we treasure. Please limit your close contacts to 2 people. A close contact is defined as: within six feet for more than 15 minutes.
Thank you all, please take care and watch this message from your fellow students.
COVID Core Response Team
Robert Lutz, MD