Nine Students Test Positive For COVID-19, Six Sent Home For Violating Arrival Quarantine Protocols
By Anna Cincotta, Editor-in-Chief
In an email sent out this evening, the Gettysburg College community learned that nine students tested positive for the coronavirus in the initial round of testing during the three day move-in period for the spring semester. According to the COVID-19 dashboard a total of 1,415 on-campus tests were administered, pushing the positivity rate to approximately 0.6 percent among the residential cohort.
“These cases are manageable; however, we want to do all that we can to contain the positive cases on campus by each doing our part for one another and for the campus community at large,” said Interim Vice President for College Life and Dean of Students Jeffrey Foster.
Still, the potential for community spread remains.
Six students have been reassigned to the remote cohort due to violations of the college’s Arrival Quarantine protocols. Until testing negative twice after the return to campus, students must remain in their individual rooms. Exceptions include using the bathroom, picking up a meal, exercising alone outdoors, visiting the Health Center, and doing laundry. Masks and distancing are still required.
The COVID-19 dashboard also provides a record of reported COVID-19 violations. As of today, there have been 24 violations and 9 sanctions.
Foster stressed the proactive measure of securing two negative tests upon arrival due to the virus’s incubation period, and that this was one of the lessons learned from the fall semester. “A single test upon arrival might fail to identify those students who were most recently exposed to the virus and be positive,” he said.
For now, students will not be allowed to visit each other in their single rooms. “Like Arrival Quarantine, this is a short-term, temporary measure supporting our efforts to identify and contain COVID on our campus in support of our goals for the spring semester,” Foster said.
The email also highlighted the rise of more contagious COVID-19 variants, and how this will create a new challenge for the college as the spring semester continues to unfold. This evening, the alert level on campus is moderate—indicating that, at this point, effective contact tracing remains possible.