Brendan W. Clark ’21
Trinity’s currently active, positive coronavirus cases increased to 12 Wednesday as cases of COVID-19 increased across Connecticut and the state’s positivity rate notched higher to 7%. The most recent outbreak, according to an email Wednesday evening from Vice President for Student Success and Enrollment Management, is “connected to a cluster of individuals in a residence hall or who are members of an athletic team.”
Trinity’s total cases surpassed 100, standing at 102 reported since August, including 12 prior, a total which remains the highest in the NESCAC.
DiChristina indicated that the test results Monday and Tuesday morning “revealed six new cases,” which include five students and one staff member. Of the 12 individuals, five “are in isolation on campus, and seven of them are isolating at home, away from campus.” It was not immediately clear if off-campus residents were included in those “isolating at home,” though Rojas noted that it can refer to those who are isolating in off-campus residences, but “more often it is that a student has returned to their family home.”
Trinity’s in-person instruction for the fall semester concludes next week and students are expected to depart campus Nov. 21. Rojas indicated that students isolating at home will be permitted to return for the remainder of the term “if needed or they can remain at home if they have completed their course work.”
Despite the increase in cases, the College made no change in the status of student activities or the campus alert level, which remained at green as of Wednesday evening.
In his email, DiChristina did not comment on the total number of students who were in isolation, though indicated that the College has expanded “the number of individuals who are required to quarantine in an effort to mitigate transmission.” Chief of Staff to the President Jason Rojas told the Tripod Friday that 100 students were in isolation as a result of potential exposure.
Rojas also indicated that the College did not “have no evidence that the cases from last week or this week arose because of athletic practices nor because of students living at an off-campus house.” Instead, the cases were attributed by Rojas to the fact that “some athletic teams happen to have had individual students participate one time in small group activities with teammates prior to knowing of a positive test.” It was not clear what form those small group activities took or if they were sanctioned under College policy.
The decision to “quarantine others [sic] members of teams” was a “precautionary step,” Rojas continued.
Trinity’s previous outbreak in October, which resulted in more than 60 cases and the suspension of in-person classes for much of the month, was also tied to athletic teams. There was also an earlier outbreak tied to a residence hall, the Jones dormitory, in September.
Following the last outbreak, the College declined to take action against athletic practices and athletic activities, telling the Tripod that “there is no evidence that “athletic practices, which were conducted under the supervision of coaching staff and followed all appropriate health and safety protocols, played a role in the recent cases.”
Rojas told the Tripod earlier this week that two previous staff cases added late last week, which contributed to the total of 12 currently active, were among a “staff member” and an “affiliate staff member.” Those cases were not related to the first faculty case reported in late October, Rojas added, and the additional faculty cases this week were not related to previous instances.