January 24, 2022

Week 2 Update, Vice President for Student Life

Happy Monday, Students!

Welcome to Week 2 of spring semester. Our rigorous pre-arrival testing strategy continues and is paying off. By requiring residential students to test before returning to campus and also requiring all community members to test before returning to the classroom and work, we’ve been able to identify positive cases early and successfully support people through periods of self-isolation and isolation, even before they came to campus. To date, we have administered 1,274 tests at on campus clinics with an overall positivity rate of 3.77%.

Omicron is significantly more contagious than previous COVID variants, and while this positivity rate is higher than we have seen in past semesters, it is in line with, if not slightly lower than that of many of our peer institutions. And good news: the changes to our approach for isolation and quarantine rooms means that even with the number of cases identified as positive, students either isolated in place, returned home for isolation, or were placed in one of our quarantine rooms. The addition of designated COVID bathrooms, and the decision to have students who are in rooms in which sheltering in place is possible, is allowing us to weather this first surge.

You will receive an LC Bulletin in the coming days that will outline important information about upcoming entry testing clinics, booster shot clinics and other important information so please read this information carefully, but here are some of the upcoming details:

******Upcoming Testing Clinics******

  • Tuesday, January 25, 8 am to 3 pm, in Albany 220. For 1) recently arrived CAS students who have not tested previously; 2) employees whose work requires them to be working on campus in the next 10 days, and who have not been tested before in January; and 3) unvaccinated students and employees living or working on campus, whether they have been tested or not previously in January.

  • Tuesday, February 1; Wednesday February 2; and Thursday, February 3; for 1) all remaining students, employees and contacted staff who will be on campus in the next two weeks and who have not been tested previously; and 2) unvaccinated students and employees living or working on campus.

Here is the latest regarding positive COVID cases:

  • COVID-19 cases: We tested 697 individuals this week. Of the 697 tested, we had a total of 27 total positive cases: 1 graduate student, 1 employee, and all of the rest were CAS students (5 of whom live off-campus) for an overall positivity rate of 4.01%.

Now that there is a large number of residential students on campus, we will need to continue to be careful and mindful of maintaining our “bubble” as much as possible and to continue following all good health mitigation strategies. Avoid large, in-person gatherings until everyone has had a chance to entry test. As the weeks continue, we will welcome back more and more community members, so being careful now will hopefully pay off for our future safety.

All the best,
Robin H. Holmes-Sullivan
Vice President and Dean of Students