First Confirmed Case of COVID-19 Reported on Trinity’s Hartford Campus

Brendan W. Clark ’21

Editor-in-Chief

Trinity College has reported its first confirmed case of COVID-19 on the Hartford campus. In an email to students and Trinity community members Monday afternoon, Director of the Health Center Martha B. O’Brien and Dean of Students Joe DiChristina indicated that the student received a “positive test” this morning and has been self-quarantining since displaying symptoms. Three other individuals were also in contact with the infected student and have since been self-quarantined.

As of Sunday, Mar. 22, 270 undergraduate students remained on Trinity’s campus. Essential operations and facilities staff also continue to work on the campus daily.

O’Brien and DiChristina indicated that a “student was tested several days ago and received the results this morning.” They further added that the student was “feeling well, is nearly symptom-free, and has been in self-isolation since symptoms began eight days ago.”

It was not immediately clear where the student resides on campus or where the student had travelled off-campus prior to displaying symptoms.

The email also mentioned that the student “contacted us as soon as symptoms consistent with COVID-19 appeared” and has been “placed in isolation.” Three individuals that remained on-campus were also identified as having contact with the infected student and, according to the notice, have “been in self-quarantine ever since, monitoring themselves for symptoms.” O’Brien and DiChristina indicated that the three other students who had contact have been “monitored closely and all report being in good health and symptom-free.” The administration emphasized that those who “have not been contacted…are not at any increased risk for contracting the virus as a result of this case.”

DiChristina spoke with the Tripod and indicated that the students “involved in this issue have shown great care to the community by informing us and by following all protocols.”

DiChristina had previously spoken with the Tripod, adding that students remaining on Trinity’s campus and that those students continue to be “attentive to CDC guidelines on social distancing.” DiChristina also indicated that the Office of Residential Life has remained “in contact with students to ensure they are supported during this time period” and told the Tripod that the College has “protocols” for those who may feel unwell or need to go into quarantine or isolation.

The positive test has been reported to state and local health officials and O’Brien and DiChristina indicated that those agencies recommended “no additional action.” The present self-quarantine for “all parties involved will end 14 days after exposure if no symptoms began [sic] or seven days after all symptoms resolve if any were present.” DiChristina, speaking to the Tripod, also indicated that “health care professionals have remained in contact with the students on a daily basis and they will continue to do so.”

A Trinity student who was on campus through Sat., Mar. 14 had tested positive while at home, though at the time of that announcement the College indicated that the “campus community was not at any increased risk.”

Trinity College moved to remote learning on Mar. 16 for three weeks in response to the COVID-19 crisis nationwide. Remote learning was later extended to encompass the rest of the semester as the situation deteriorated nationally.

Faculty and staff have been encouraged to work from home if possible, according to a Mar. 17 email from President of the College Joanne Berger-Sweeney announcing the semester-long closure. They were also encouraged “to conduct meetings virtually.”

The College previously indicated in a Mar. 25 update that it would not be “sending out broad notifications to the community about every confirmed case or every suspected case.” The College indicated that it would “assess the need to communicate broadly on a case-by-case basis” in accordance with public health guidance on necessary notifications.

The Tripod reached out to Vice President for Communications and Marketing Angela Schaeffer, who declined to comment further, directing the Tripod to the instant message and the Mar. 25 COVID-19 update on the College’s advisories page.

2 Comments

  1. Is there any truth to accounts the administration was seeking to get students to sign non-disclosure agreements to keep their possible infection hidden from the rest of the community?

    • The Tripod has no reason to believe those claims have merit at this time, as no sources have come forward with pertinent, verifiable information. However, the Tripod is investigating the claim as it has received multiple tips regarding this matter. Any further tips can be sent directly to tripod@trincoll.edu.

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