Brendan W. Clark ’21
Two positive COVID-19 cases have forced Trinity to institute a “24-hour stay in place” order and lockdown for the first floor of the Jones Dormitory Tuesday evening. Jones houses first-year students on-campus, members of the College’s Class of 2024, who arrived in August.
The Tripod obtained the email sent to residents Tuesday afternoon, which noted that the College has two confirmed cases on the first floor and is “investigating two other possible cases involving residents who reside on the same floor.”
It was not immediately clear when the students had been tested. Trinity generally tests students during weekdays and results are available within 24-48 hours.
Dean of Campus Life and Vice President for Student Affairs Joe DiChristina indicated that an “infectious disease specialist at Hartford Health Care has directed that every student who lives on the first floor get tested” at Trinity’s testing center Tuesday afternoon.
Residents of the first floor of Jones were directed to “remain in your room until the test results return.” Residential Learning Coordinator Joel Copperthite will be “in direct contact” with students about when they may retrieve meals. The College directed that residents on the first floor cannot attend in-person classes and may not host visitors. Residents of other floors of Jones are also not permitted to visit first floor rooms.
Access to common rooms in all of Jones were also suspended as a result of the possible outbreak.
The College’s Community Contract and other COVID-19 response provisions do not outline procedures for temporary lockdowns of student housing or other locations on campus and no information was immediately available about how the College would generally respond to incidents or what precise number of cases would prompt a lockdown. In this particular incident, two cases and two possible cases were sufficient to initiate a stay-in-place order.
As of Monday evening, Trinity’s confirmed positive case count was eight students and one staff member, with six students identified as “currently active cases” in isolation and two having recovered, according to an email from DiChristina to the campus community. It was not clear if the two confirmed cases in Jones had been included in Monday’s case count.
The Tripod reached out to Chief of Staff to the President Jason Rojas and DiChristina for comment Tuesday evening, but he was not immediately available for comment.