HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Saturday, Trinity College reported another increase in COVID-19 cases on their campus. The school says, due to this new increase, they will continue will all remote classes through Friday, Oct. 16.
In a letter to students, faculty and staff Saturday, the school said, “We now have 45 active cases among the student body with a majority of new cases affecting clusters of students who live in off-campus housing and don’t appear to be diffusely spread across campus.”
Officials said, of the 45 active cases, about 10 will be returning home to isolate. The rest will be dedicated to the school’s isolation facilities.
“All students are doing well; a small number of them are reporting mild symptoms.”
Trinity said it is critically important students adhere to the following guidance:
- No gatherings of any size are permitted, indoors or outdoors.
- Students may not travel from campus (including locally) for nonessential reasons. If they need to travel for an urgent matter, please contact the office of the dean of student life at email@example.com.
- Students living off-campus may not visit residence halls; students in campus housing may not visit off-campus houses.
- Indoor athletic facilities remain closed (the COVID-19 testing center in Ferris will remain open).
- The library is closed, including the 24-hour zone; call the Information Services desk for remote services or to make an appointment.
More guidance on allowable individual outdoor activities will be provided sometime on Monday.
Trinity College administrators sent a letter to students, faculty, and staff on Wednesday announcing that the school is suspending all in-person classes through at least Monday, Oct. 12.
The move comes as 21 students have tested positive for coronavirus in tests conducted on Monday, Oct. 5, and Tuesday, Oct. 6. The letter refers to the increase in cases as “significant.”
The letter also states, “The students who have tested positive are either in isolation or are being moved to isolation this evening. Most will remain in isolation in a separate building on campus; some have decided to return home. The students are doing well; a few of them are reporting mild symptoms.”
Trinity College administrators also say in the letter that the majority of the new positive cases appear to be connected – saying the cases are among students who live together in off-campus apartments/housing.
The letter also explains the school’s decision to act swiftly in suspending in-person classes, among other changes:
Please know that the decision was made as a result of careful review of numerous indicators, most significantly the rapid increase in the number of active cases on our campus over the past 48 hours and the number of individuals in isolation and quarantine as a result of those cases. We also continue to watch carefully the positivity rates in Connecticut and Hartford, which have risen over the last week.
Our focus at this point is in moving swiftly to contain the spread of the virus within our community. The individuals who tested positive in recent days live in different locations on and off-campus.Trinity College letter to students, faculty and staff
Some of the changes during the elevated “alert level” are as follows:
- All classes will be conducted remotely
- All dining is grab-and-go; no seating is permitted inside any dining facility
- Athletic facilities are closed (the COVID-19 testing center in Ferris will remain open)
- The library is open by appointment only
- Cinestudio is closed
- Students’ residence hall access is limited to the floor of their own residence; common areas are closed
- Only employees whose work requires them to be on campus should report to their offices
This move by Trinity College comes on the heels of the University of New Haven quarantining an entire residence hall following a spike in cases on campus as well. UConn took similar action, quarantining multiple residence halls and an off-campus apartment building earlier this semester.
Ever since the college made the announcement that they are going all online, parents have been swinging by to pick their kids up and take them home, but they are definitely in the minority. A lot of students are saying they’re going to stay on campus and go online from the dorms, and hope things go back to normal.
Charlie Campbell, a freshman told News 8 Thursday, “We had problems before and I went back to normal after that, so I’m hoping by next week we will be good to go again.”
Gilbert Otoo, also a freshman said, “We were kind of shocked by the news because we were just in yellow and then we had gone to green which means we have no more cases, and then it just spiked right back up.”
“I was a little worried at first but I think Trinity is handling the situation very well making all of our classes remote. I think it is the safest option at the moment,” Freshman Emily Dirico said.
And Trinity is doing everything they can to return to classroom learning, so they’re doubling down on sanitizing especially in the high touch areas.
“We spray them and wipe them down and sometimes we use backpacks to spray them down so we don’t have to touch anything at all,” a member of the cleaning crew explained.
News 8 spoke to students from all over the country and they said – interestingly enough – they feel safer on campus than going back home during the pandemic.
Dirico added, “I’m from Florida, Key Largo. Connecticut is handling it a lot better and then Florida is for sure. It’s a nice change to see that everybody wears their mask and outside too because it’s just not the same.”
The president of Trinity College was very outspoken during Governor Ned Lamont’s news conference earlier this year when they were talking about education. She is a big believer in the college experience and in-person learning, and they’re working very hard to get back to that.