Brendan W. Clark ’21
Trinity’s alert level remained at yellow even as the College’s 2,000 students departed from campus Saturday afternoon, concluding a semester that saw more than a hundred infections and several outbreaks amidst the global pandemic.
12 students had received positive tests and remained in quarantine, while 5 staff/affiliates were impacted. It was not immediately clear how many of those students would remain on-campus, though Rojas noted Tuesday that “these students are either in Doonesbury or at their home.” The College has previously indicated, in past outbreaks, that some students elect to return home and that it cannot restrain this travel.
In an email to students Friday afternoon, Chief of Staff to the President Jason Rojas urged that “resiliency and adherence to recommended public health practices will be as important in the days ahead as they were for the past three months” to keep their families safe. Students were required to receive two negative COVID-19 results sometime this week but were not required to get a COVID-19 exit result.
Rojas indicated that the College strongly suggests “that you quarantine once you arrive and know your latest test result before you socialize with friends and family.”
The College also reported that the “Broad Institute,” the College’s testing partner, had “experienced a delay over the last day affecting all colleges that are sending COVID tests to them for analysis.”
As a result of the test processing delay, the College provided an additional meal Saturday, and Rojas clarified that students who needed to be accommodated because of the testing delay were able to remain on-campus through Sunday. Students had previously been required to depart by Saturday, though 100 students will remain on-campus due to various reasons, Rojas told the Tripod last week. 50 students remained to finish their studies, Rojas noted, and are expected to “depart campus by December 15.”
Rojas also told the Tripod that the Broad Institute was “able to return all test results by early Sunday morning” and that the College’s “written communications that were sent to our community went to parents as well.”
“In these communications, we suggested best practices for mitigating spread,” Rojas added.
Trinity has remained at a yellow alert level for much of the last week as a second outbreak spread across campus, though recent cases were far below the October outbreak that resulted in more than sixty infections. Since the start of the semester, Trinity has had 124 cases, a figure which remains the highest in the NESCAC.
The College has previously declined to revisit its COVID-19 mitigation policies after the October outbreak, telling the Tripod that the College’s partnership with Hartford Healthcare “helped mitigate the spread of the virus over the past two weeks.” The October outbreak saw College isolation facilities overwhelmed, with some infected students placed on the same floor as non-infected students.
Rojas added Tuesday that the College “will be evaluating our response over the winter break,” given expressed student and faculty concerns. Regarding the College’s COVID-19 dashboard specifically, which received a low rating from an outside auditing site, Rojas noted that the College is “conducting a review of the semester based on our own observations of our response in addition to the welcomed feedback we have received from members of our community.”