Alert Level Change – Alert Level 3 to Alert Level 2
Dear Members of the Connecticut College Community,
We are approaching the end of our third week with students on campus and wrapping up our second week of classes. These weeks have been unique in how students moved in, how we conducted orientation and began classes, and how we live our lives on- and off-campus. Nearly everything we have done in the past few weeks is different from the way we normally operate, but it has allowed us to have students back on our beautiful campus engaging with each other in person and connecting with faculty and staff.
As we have discussed over the past couple of months, we have been working closely with Hartford HealthCare to manage our testing and COVID-19 protocols on campus. This past Friday, Keith Grant, HHC’s Senior System Director for Infection Prevention, visited Conn and met with staff, viewed the testing center and walked around campus. He was pleased to see the level of compliance with our COVID-19-related expectations. We have been in regular contact with him about our test results and he has been happy to see our progress through the onboarding process and with the test results thus far. Out of nearly 8,000 tests, we have seen a total of only four positive cases–all students–which yields a positivity rate of .05 percent. In each of these cases, the students were experiencing no symptoms when they tested positive. Having the positive test result before symptom onset meant we were able to respond quickly, thus limiting the spread of the virus. The students were relocated, we provided them with resources and support, and we worked with them to identify any close contacts who should be quarantined.
Given the low prevalence we have seen so far, we are pleased to announce that today we are shifting from Alert Level 3 (Orange) to Alert Level 2 (Yellow). If you go to the COVID-19 Dashboard, you can read more about what these levels mean and the different ways we can operate under Yellow. Most notably, in-person classes will begin tomorrow, as we hoped. You will start to see other changes in a number of areas, including dining, athletics and in-person programming. These will occur over the next several days as faculty and staff adjust to the shift.
However, this change in status does not alter the basic expectations for how we live on campus with COVID-19. We must continue to follow the Camels Care Pledge and wear masks, socially distance, practice good hygiene and follow all the specific expectations that relate to student, faculty and staff life on- and off-campus. The vast majority of students we see are deeply engaged with and passionately advocating for compliance with the Camels Care Pledge. We have also learned of students not complying, and where we have names, we are adjudicating the cases through our conduct process. You already know what has happened at other colleges and universities when students did not follow their campus’ pledge: Outbreaks led to building quarantines, campus lockdowns, or even depopulation, with the vast majority of students sent home. We do not want that to happen at Conn. We need to be in this together.
In the days and weeks ahead, we recommend reading our This Week at Conn emails to see what programming is available. Students have also started to receive This Weekend at Conn messages that list weekend programming. We also recommend that you visit our What’s Open webpage, which is regularly updated and lists important campus resources.
We wish you all well and hope that you have a wonderful and safe weekend.
Dean of Students
Vice President for Finance and Administration