As we continue to monitor cases of COVID-19 on campus, our numbers continue to show us trending in the wrong direction. In response to these trends, we are extending the current campus guidelines until at least the morning of Tuesday, March 23 morning, with additional health and safety measures required for any residential students who have left campus.
Our positivity appears low (compared to Waltham and the statewide average) only because we are testing every single member of our community. In fact, the rate of positive cases in our residential population is about 12 times higher than the statewide average case rate. The number of students requiring isolation and quarantine is stressing the availability of space and the services needed to support those students. This is not a sustainable situation.
If you are a residential student who has left campus after having notified the university, to return to campus you must produce a negative COVID-19 test result and be tested again immediately upon return at the screening/testing site. Residential students who have not notified the university of their off-campus travel may not return without prior approval from the Residential Center.
We continue to advise against leaving campus for any overnight stays. Students who must leave campus are required to complete the “Off Campus Travel Form” which the Housing Office will make available in the Housing Portal under “Forms & Applications.” An additional day of testing will be added on Sunday, March 21 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. for students planning to return to campus. Returning students must complete two on-campus tests on non-consecutive days (the day they arrive and at least two days later) and must remain in self-quarantine, leaving their room only for testing and take-out food pickup, until getting a negative result from both tests.
We are in close contact with state and local departments of public health, and they agree with our approaches to date and current guidelines. As we chart a path to when we will be able to ease restrictions, the state has advised us to follow qualitative measures as opposed to exact quantitative data:
- Contact-tracing effectiveness. Are members of the community honest and forthright with contract tracing? Is that information leading to quarantining before positive tests?
- Sustainability of Isolation/Quarantine. Do enough bed spaces and capacity to support students remain to ensure the community can remain safe?
- Downward trend of numbers. Is the data trending in the right direction?
This is a difficult time for our community, but we must continue to do what is right if we hope to reopen all on-campus services and opportunities for engagement. We continue to depend on our testing numbers and are obligated to keep these measures in place until positive cases trend downwards.