As we have been tracking new positive cases on campus we are witnessing a steady increase:
- Week of March 8 – 6 New COVID cases identified
- Week of March 15 – 7 New COVID cases identified
- Week of March 22 – 10 New COVID cased already (without Thursday test results)
While the situation is manageable and we are able to meet the current demands for quarantine and isolation, these rising cases demonstrate that community spread is happening on campus. Through contract tracing efforts, we have gained clear evidence that is linking much of our campus spread to three primary causes.
- Individuals eating in close proximity to each other
- Individuals spending prolong periods of time in spaces where social distancing is difficult such as riding in cars or shared time in personal dormitory or apartment spaces
- Individuals not observing social distancing in causal gathering space both outside and in Common Lounge spaces
In order to curb campus spread, the following actions will go into effect at 4 PM today:
- Students and employees should restrict eating on campus to their private room or office either alone or with a roommate. Dining outdoors is only permitted if individuals can maintain 12 feet of social distance while eating. You should only be eating at a picnic table by yourself or with your roommate.
WHY: Many of our new case can be traced to transmission over a meal while not socially distancing. We want to ensure that community members are either limiting their dining contact to their roommate or providing plenty of distance between themselves and their meal companions.
- Students should not visit other student’s personal dormitory or apartment spaces, this includes dormitory and apartment spaces on the students floor or within their building.
WHY: We are seeing evidence of spread in Residential Halls and know that socially distant gather is very difficult in personal residence spaces. This effort helps keep personal residences safe places for the occupants and helps reinforce the importance of preserving social distance across campus.
- Student should limit trips off-campus to essential errands and off-campus employment.
WHY: A number of current cases can be attributed to transmission from riding in a vehicle with others or gathering off campus for meals that aren’t socially distant. This is in efforts to help limit the number of close contacts an infected person might have.
- Planned extended travel (out-of-state travel that extends over 24 hours away) may continue, but students are expected to follow the State Travel Advisory and need to submit travel plans to the College utilizing the registration form.
WHY: This is to help students and employees comply with the Governor’s current Travel Advisory. State evidence shows that the more cross state movement there is the great the chances of introducing COVID and new COVID strains into communities.
- Only the following group gatherings are permitted: classroom and laboratory instruction, weekly Chapel services, supervised and social distant outdoor events, athletic with new restrictions related to practice and game day competition. Common lounges spaces are open only for socially distant use without food or drink consumption.
WHY: There is no evidence that transmission is happening in classes, labs, or Chapel. These will continued as planned. There is some evidence that transmission is happening at supervised events or athletic activity, but these areas do tend to contribute to higher numbers of students being identified for quarantine. These activity restrictions should help reduce the number of close contacts a positive case might have as well as reduce chances of transmission. Lastly, there is evidence that spread has happened in shared Common Lounges when social distancing is not being observed. We are attempting to keep lounge spaces open so that students have indoor locations to connect with friends, but we will only be able to maintain this is social distancing is being practiced.
We anticipate that these restriction will be in place through the Easter Holiday but are monitoring conditions daily and will notify you promptly of any changes in our situation.
Summary of Restricted Community Interaction:
|Indoor eating should be restricted to personal residence space.
(Only roommates or apartmentmates may dining together without social distancing in personal residences)
All campus meals are To-Go only.
(Eating is not permitted in any of the share lounge and dining areas on campus)
Personal living space visitation temporarily suspended.
(Student should not visit the private rooms of other students including rooms on the same floor or in the sam building)
Limit unneccesary travel or errands.
(Student should limit their off-campus travel to work and essential errands)
Face covering are required everywhere on campus.
(Students may only remove their face covering when in their room alone or with their roommates with the door closed. Employees may only remove their face coverings while only in their offices with the door closed.)
|Outdoor eating is permitted with enhanced social distancing.
(Community members must allow for 12 feet of distance between themselves and others who are eating)
Limited social gatherings.
(Official campus sponsored events can occur if they are fully supervised, socially distant, outdoors, and food offered is take-away only)
Limited athletic activity.
(Official practices and competitions may proceed under enhance restrictions managed by the Athletic Staff)
Classroom and Lab Learning activity.
(Faculty and students should continue to work together to ensure social distance is being maintained)
Limited contact casual gatherings.
(Students can meet with friends outside, in lounges and common spaces as long as they are wearing their mask and maintaining social distance. Employees should follow similar guidelines and conduct group meetings virtually whenever possible.)
Thank you for observing these new protocols. Look for further updates in the Weekly COVID Briefing tomorrow afternoon. Thanks for Protecting the Den!
Vice President for Student Life and Campus Services
Emergency Response Team, Chair
23 East Elm Avenue
Quincy, MA 02170-2999