Testing Update and New COVID-19 Dashboard and Alert Levels

Dear Faculty, Staff and Students,
 
The testing center at Conn opened on Aug. 17, 2020 and over the past two weeks we have received results on 1,982 tests of faculty, staff and students. Phased student move-in to campus started on Monday with upperclass students arriving the first three days and first-year students moving in on Thursday and Friday. All students are currently in onboarding quarantine, which is a critical period of time for student to be on their own but connecting with peers virtually. As students shift out of onboarding quarantine, they can begin to connect in person with face coverings and socially distanced (preferably outside). 
 
Given our testing schedule, we are receiving test results on Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. In this morning’s results one student’s test came back positive. The student was moved to isolation housing, where they will receive all necessary care from Student Health Services and receive meals from Dining Services. The Student Life team is also working closely with the student to offer support and guidance.
 
Ledge Light Health District, our local public health department, is aware of the case and we are working with them on necessary next steps in supporting the student and proceeding with contact tracing. Our trained contact tracers on campus will work with the student to identify close contacts, and those individuals will be instructed to follow contact quarantine protocols for 14 days while continuing with their regular twice a week testing. Student Life staff will be in regular contact with these students providing any support that is necessary.    
 
Over the past several months we have been preparing to have positive cases on our campus.  We have been consulting with public health experts and, in particular, our infectious disease partners at Hartford HealthCare, to develop plans and protocols to test for COVID-19, mitigate the spread of the virus and support our community. Robust testing, identifying positive individuals and contact tracing to identify close contacts are critical to achieve our goal of maintaining the health and safety of the Conn campus and broader New London County community during a pandemic.
 
In the days and weeks ahead, you can track the College’s testing and COVID-19 level on a new set of webpages that we developed as part of the Path Forward website. These pages contain the College’s COVID-19 Dashboard and Campus Alert Level Status and Response for 2020-21. There are four alert levels (Green, Yellow, Orange and Red) and during this onboarding period we are set at Alert Level 3-Orange, which means that our operating status is reduced. If the level of COVID-19 is low after onboarding quarantine is completed then we will reevaluate our operating status and shift to a lower alert level. 
 
The College’s COVID-19 Dashboard notes some important data related to the number of tests administered, number of positive cases and the percent positivity. These three data points will be reported cumulatively and within a given week. We will also note the number of active cases (people in isolation due to testing positive). The dashboard will be updated four times a week (Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday) following a schedule that corresponds to the four days a week that we are collecting samples. There is a lag in posting results to the dashboard as there is typically about 36-48 hours of processing time to allow for the samples to be tested at the Broad Institute, receive results from the lab and have the data summarized and posted to the dashboard. This means that results are typically posted on the dashboard two days after the sample was collected.
 
Future updates about positive test results will be published on the COVID-19 dashboard, but given that today’s positive case is our first through our testing program, I wanted to bring it to your attention while also introducing the College’s new dashboard and alert levels. 
 
Sincerely,



Victor Arcelus
Dean of Students