Kip Lynch ’22
Beginning on Thursday, Feb. 18, students began returning to the campus of Trinity College for the spring 2021 semester for in-person, online, and hybrid classes. Arriving over four days based on dorms or living situations, students were required to quarantine until Sunday, Feb. 28. In an email to students, Vice President for Student Success and Enrollment Management Joe DiChristina stipulated that students may exercise outside alone or in pairs only and get tested for Covid twice-a-week. He also listed expectations for the entire semester which were largely unchanged previous semester, including not hosting or attending unsanctioned social gatherings and traveling for essential reasons only.
One of the largest changes coming to campus in the spring compared to the fall is the new type of testing by Trinity’s COVID-19 testing partner: the Broad Institute. Whereas the lab previously reported test results as positive, negative, or invalid (where a test was either not performed or failed to produce a valid result), the change adds a new type, inconclusive, to reflect the increased sensitivity of the upgraded test.
Chief of Staff and Associate Vice President for External Relations Jason Rojas described how the COVID test “now uses two viral probes to detect the virus, and going forward, Broad will report a positive test result only when both probes signal a detection. When just one of the two shows positive, the result will be deemed inconclusive.” In the event of an inconclusive result, that individual will be retested as soon as possible, and will have to quarantine until a retest confirms a positive or negative result. Rojas noted that students would not be housed with students in isolation with active cases of COVID-19.
On the day prior to 10-week classes starting, Mar. 1, DiChristina announced that the College would begin the semester at a green alert level, indicating that the College has “determined that conditions allow for in-person learning, and campus activities can be permitted with substantial health and safety protocols and pandemic-related policies.”
As President of the College Joanne Berger-Sweeney noted in an introductory email, “March 11 marks a full year since Trinity shifted to remote learning in response to the fast-moving coronavirus outbreak. Our resilience and flexibility have been tested in ways we couldn’t have imagined.” Berger-Sweeney remained optimistic for the spring semester, stating that “building on our success and our learning from the fall…there is a light at the end of this long tunnel, thanks in large part to vaccines that offer promise of bringing the pandemic under control.”