Melina Korfonta ’25
Eight cases of COVID-19 have been identified from Trinity’s student population along with three employees who have reported a positive test result, according to an email from Vice President for Student Success and Enrollment Management Joe DiChristina and Chief of Staff Jason Rojas Thursday afternoon.
“Of the eight student cases, four elected to isolate at home and four are being cared for in our campus isolation locations” DiChristina and Rojas said. “In each case we have activated our contact tracing protocol to mitigate spread and identify and inform close contacts. Additional information can be reviewed on our dashboard.”
Rojas told the Tripod via email Monday that seven of the eight students who tested positive last week contracted the virus from roommates. For the remaining case, a student tested positive while visiting home and chose to isolate at home instead of returning to campus. Rojas also confirmed that all but one of these students were vaccinated.
Responding to questions about the College’s Dashboard reporting practices, Rojas told the Tripod that “We don’t have plans at this time to update the dashboard more frequently.” “Again we will report data when we receive it and we receive the majority of our data after tests have been conducted on Monday and Tuesday and when needed following Thursday tests for any student who miss [sic] their scheduled test on Monday or Tuesday,” he added. Rojas told the Tripod in August that the College would “adjust the frequency of updates to the dashboard based on conditions on campus.”
The dashboard indicates that Trinity remains at a “Green” COVID-19 Alert Level with a total of nine active cases (six students, 3 employees) as of Monday, Oct. 18. A Green Alert Level signifies that classes remain in-person; in addition, on-campus events are allowed as long as they operate at a reduced capacity and attendees practice social distancing. Reduced density sit-down dining is still available in Mather Hall and The Cave along with grab-and-go meals from the Bistro. Furthermore, faculty and staff may continue to participate in college-sponsored travel in accordance with CDC travel guidance; visitors are welcomed on campus so long as they wear face coverings and show proof of vaccination for indoor events.
A similar COVID-19 Testing Protocol from the beginning of the year remains. For 10-15% fully vaccinated students who are living and/or studying on campus will be randomly selected and tested each week with PCR tests. Unvaccinated students living and/or studying on campus will in turn be tested once per week with PCR tests while unvaccinated employees and Affiliates working on campus will be tested once per week with PCR test.
Students continue to be scheduled based on the last digit of their Trinity ID number and the first letter of their last name. Students also continue to be notified of their test date via email a week in advance. PCR test result turnaround times typically take less than 36 hours as the testing center is currently reported to be on schedule.
Since January 1st, 2021, Trinity’s Testing Center has kept a log of their test results. As of October 16th, a total of 55,569 tests have come back as negative, 43,081 of those tests being students while the remaining 12,488 depict employees and affiliates. Out of the 142 positive cases here at Trinity, 118 have been students, and the remaining 24 have been employees and affiliates. 51 tests have been inconclusive while 1,170 have been invalid. Trinity’s testing center has given 57,533 total tests since the beginning of this year.
Many COVID isolation protocols remain from the beginning of the year. Fully vaccinated students who test positive are still required to wear masks for 10 days and will continue to undergo an additional medical evaluation in the Health Center. These evaluations continue to determine if isolation or quarantine is the next step. Fully vaccinated students who are exposed to individuals with positive test results as “close contacts” will not need to quarantine after exposure if they are asymptomatic and have no immunocompromised medical issues.
Individuals who come into contact with a positive individual must continue to wear masks for 14 days and obtain a COVID-19 test in the Health Center five days after exposure. If their test returns negative and they remain asymptomatic, fully vaccinated students will not have to quarantine, however, if positive, a 10-day isolation period will be mandatory.
Unvaccinated and not fully vaccinated individuals who test positive will still be required to be isolated for 10 days. These students also must quarantine if they are exposed to someone with COVID-19 as “close contacts.” Unvaccinated students living in a single-occupancy residence can still do so there, however, those in a multi-occupancy residential space will need to move to campus quarantine housing.
They also remain concerned about the “transmissibility of the COVID-19 virus and the impact of variants within the wider community” as recent information from the CDC shows that the COVID-19 Delta variant has continued to be transmitted across vaccinated individuals who are residing in highly dense social settings.
It is asked that all members of the Trinity community continue to wear masks while indoors in common spaces, including, but not limited to, classrooms, the library, Ferris, Mather Hall, and moving between food stations until the individual is seated.