COVID-19 Update: Recent College COVID-19 Test Results

Dear Staff, Faculty and Students, 

As we start the week, we want to update you on employee and student test results from this past week, share the College’s response protocol for employees that was developed this summer with the guidance of Hartford HealthCare’s infectious disease professionals, and remind you of the need to follow all COVID-19 safety protocols at all times. The response protocol for employees is similar to the one followed for students, which has been described in previous messages.

Employees
Since Sept. 21, we have had three employees test positive for COVID-19, and the most recent two work in Dining Services. In all three cases, we initiated our COVID-19 isolation and contact tracing protocols as soon as we received these results:

  1. The College’s doctor contacted the employees to discuss their positive test result and inform them of the next steps to take, including contacting their healthcare provider, following Centers for Disease Control isolation protocols and participating in contact tracing.  
  2. The employees then received a call from Steve Langlois, director of environmental health and safety, regarding contact tracing. Steve is responsible for conducting employee contract tracing for campus interactions.

Steve’s interviews with each affected employee helped determine whether there were any people on campus who were in close contact with the employees when they were infectious. Following the interviews, Steve alerted the close contacts and notified them that they needed to move to contact quarantine. To facilitate contact tracing outside of Conn, Steve contacted Ledge Light Health District to assess any interactions the employees had off campus. Human Resources also contacted the affected employees and sent them additional information and helpful resources.

Through contact tracing, Steve identified several other dining staff members who are now in contact quarantine for the next 14 days. No students were identified as close contacts of the affected employees. Because of the staffing implications, we have made immediate adjustments to our dining operations. Beginning Tuesday, Oct. 6, and for the next two weeks, we will not offer dining services at Jane Addams. Dining staff who were working in JA will relocate to Harris Refectory and Crozier-Williams to support these larger operations. We appreciate your cooperation and flexibility with these changes.

Students
In the past week, we have had 10 positive student cases and an additional 30 students placed in contact quarantine. The 40 students who have been in isolation or quarantine are directly and indirectly connected to each other, and we suspect that additional students may test positive this week, most likely students who are currently in contact quarantine. No employees were identified as close contacts of the affected students.

This set of circumstances demonstrates why it is critical to follow the College’s COVID-19 expectations. We are carefully managing our response to all positive cases, isolating and quarantining impacted individuals quickly to limit the spread. We have seen other colleges and universities facing similar circumstances shifting to a campuswide quarantine or shutting down all in-person operations when they have experienced multiple instances of group spread happening simultaneously. In order for us to remain on campus until mid-November, we must work together to avoid having this happen at Conn.

It is vitally important to participate in testing on campus every week and to follow all College safety protocols, including wearing face coverings, practicing social distancing at all times, frequently washing hands or using hand sanitizer and submitting daily symptom checks through CoVerified.

This has been a challenging week, but based on what we know right now, the circumstances are manageable. But they will only remain so if every member of our community actively practices our safety protocols.

Thank you for your continued commitment to keeping our campus community safe and healthy.  

Sincerely,


Victor Arcelus
Dean of Students
 

Richard Madonna
Vice President for Finance and Administration