Update on Recent Test Results

Dear Campus Community, 

This message is an update on our latest test results that are posted on the COVID-19 Dashboard

Monday’s test results came in from the Broad Institute in record time in roughly 8 hours. That certainly helped us respond quickly on Tuesday morning before the day got started so that we could limit the spread of the virus on campus due to a spike in cases. The antigen tests and Broad PCR tests from Monday led us to identify 66 students with COVID-19.   

Tuesday’s test results came in today, Wednesday, in roughly 24 hours. I know people were eager to receive results, but, as you can see from these two days of testing, the time it takes to receive results can vary depending on the sample load at the laboratory. The antigen and Broad PCR tests from Tuesday and antigen tests today led us to identify an additional 35 students with COVID-19. 

At the moment we have 107 students (including six students from last week) in isolation on campus, at a hotel, or at home. We have staff working around the clock to support these students with food, health checks, and other forms of assistance. 

Our student vaccination rate is roughly 99% and nearly all the students who are positive are vaccinated. I know that this is surprising to many who think that being vaccinated protects you from getting COVID-19. What we know is that, with the Delta variant, a vaccinated person can still contract the virus, they can have symptoms, and they can spread the virus. The vaccination can help lessen symptoms and allow a person to recover quicker than an unvaccinated person. Something we don’t know is how many vaccinated students on campus were exposed to the virus in social settings and did not contract COVID-19.  What we can hypothesize, based on the effectiveness of the vaccine, is that there must have been many students exposed to COVID-19 in these social settings to cause this significant number of breakthrough cases. There is still a lot to be learned about the Delta variant, but a critical constant in this pandemic is that your mask provides very effective protection for yourself and others--please wear your mask properly and in all required areas.  

Tomorrow, I will be in contact with colleagues and SGA to discuss adjustments to our current protocols in order to provide greater flexibility with outdoor engagement opportunities. I will be in touch again tomorrow with details.

Students, please do not forget to test on your testing day Thursday or Friday. Also, if you have symptoms, please do not have close contact with anyone and be in touch with Student Health Services. You should also test at the Testing Center at 4:40 p.m. even if it is not your testing day.  

I am confident that we can bring the case numbers down over the next several days and soon return back to in-person classes, meetings, and other engagement opportunities. Everyone wants to get back to doing the things that they are passionate about in and out of the classroom, but it is going to take a campus-wide team effort to do it. I know we can get this done because last year we proved that we can come together as a community to take care of each other.  

Go Camels! 

Victor Arcelus
Dean of Students