STORRS, Conn. (WTNH) — The University of Connecticut has lifted its COVID-19 medical quarantine on Belden Hall residential building Wednesday.
In a letter to Belden Hall residents Wednesday, the school reported the dorm’s quarantine and frequent testing affectively stopped the spread of the virus in the building in under two weeks.
The quarantine was lifted for the building at 4 p.m. Wednesday.
Since the beginning of the Belden Hall quarantine, 160 tests have been performed with no new
positive results detected over the past seven days. As communicated last Friday, the rate of
positive tests peaked at 15% early in the quarantine; however, you continued to observe the
precautions of the quarantine and be tested regularly.
It worked. You stopped the spread of COVID-19 in Belden Hall in under two weeks. That is an
incredible achievement. Based on these results, the residential quarantine of Belden Hall will be
lifted today (10/7/2020) at 4 p.m.
Students in isolation or medical quarantine under the care and direction of SHaW should
continue with their current precautions. Students who are released from isolation must continue
to follow the public health guidelines that keep everyone safe, whether or not they have tested
positive for COVID-19. This includes mask-wearing, hand washing, and physical distancing,
which will protect the community from all respiratory viruses including COVID-19. These
measures keep everyone healthy.
In its daily COVID-19 dashboard released Friday, UConn announced another dorm is being placed under quarantine due to a “concerning trend of positive cases” at Belden Hall.
In a note sent to students who live at Belden Hall, UConn officials said the rate of spread in that dorm is disproportionate to the rate seen at other residential locations.
The letter continued:
Our medical team continues to promptly isolate and quarantine directly impacted students. It is, however, necessary that we place all Belden Hall residents under quarantine effective Sept. 25 at 4 p.m. As a result, the following changes are in immediate effect for Belden Hall residents:
Letter to residents of Belden Hall, on UConn campus
• Students will participate in an enhanced testing regimen with twice-weekly surveillance testing of this population until we are able to assess the ongoing trends.
• Quarantine status will need to continue until a clear decrease in transmission can be documented through this testing effort. This may be greater than 14 days. SHaW will update you on your quarantine status on Oct. 2.
• You are not permitted to participate in in-person instruction. The Dean of Students office will be contacting you to ensure appropriate measures are in place to ensure your academic progress.
• Grab and go meals are available only at Buckley Dining Hall.
• No guests are permitted.
• If you are a student currently under medical self-quarantine or medical isolation, you must continue to follow all guidance provided by SHaW.
“It is scary,” said Andrew Cubell. “At first, you don’t know what to expect, but after a few days, you get used to it, walking around with friends were in quarantine with you.”
The university is walking a fine line between keeping the campus safe and open. When a dorm or residence hall has enough students that test positive, it is put into quarantine. The sick students are transferred to a medical facility, the entire dorm is then tested and students are not allowed to mix with the general population.
“We really do want you to stay put, but you were not locked in your room,” said Elanor Daugherty, Dean of Students. “If you are a quarantine student, you are at a greater risk of becoming sick but you’re not sick yourself.”
“We are still allowed to go out and get meals and go on walks and stuff, you just have to be socially distant from other people in our building, but we cannot hang out with other people in other buildings,” said freshman, Matt Cristiano.
Governor Ned Lamont said he thinks UConn is doing a great job of containing the virus, not only the faculty and staff but the students as well. He did tour Eastern Connecticut State University on Thursday, and he said they’re working on hotspots in other places in Connecticut.
“Sacred Heart [University] looks like my school that is most risky right now, not for on campus behavior, nothing going on in the classroom, but off campus.”
While adding the quarantine for Belden Hall, UConn also announced Friday that the quarantine that has been in place at The Oaks on the Square Apartments has been lifted. The Oaks on the Square is an off-campus apartment complex that houses UConn students.
In the letter to residents of The Oaks, UConn praised the students for their work in helping contain the spread of the virus, saying, “Over the past two weeks. the spread of COVID-19 amongst our students at the Oaks decreased significantly and has remained stable. Your adherence to the quarantine measures shows. Thank you.”
As of Friday, UConn currently lists 69 positive cases among students living on the Storrs campus.