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Sat, Sep 26, 5:47 PM
Dear Students and Colleagues,
Following the positive test of wastewater from Bonchek, some have asked why we are testing residents for COVID-19 on Monday and not sooner.
The College has reacted quickly and effectively to the notice of a positive wastewater test for Bonchek House and the discovery of three students (not living in Bonchek) with positive results in our recent surveillance testing. Students are in isolation and quarantine as necessary; we have notified everyone who needs to be contacted; and, as we have done once before, we are arranging to test all residents and employees in the residence hall from which the wastewater indicated the presence of the virus. We have a coordinated response procedure in place and are following it.
A large number of staff, including some with specific training, are necessary to conduct a large number of tests. The team consists of Student Wellness Center staff, employees from across the College who volunteer to help, and subcontracted medical personnel hired by the College for this purpose. The medical personnel are essential for the integrity of the testing and to reduce the likelihood of inconclusive tests. Monday is the earliest time at which we can assemble the necessary personnel.
We are moving quickly to mobilize this large-scale testing effort. Testing will start less than 48 hours from the time we notified the population living and working in Bonchek.
Until test results are received and processed, modified quarantine is necessary for exactly the reasons our students are raising: to minimize contact and possible transmission. If everyone wears masks, washes hands, cleans as they go, and limits their exposure to others, the risk of transmission is low.
As far as we know, no students in Bonchek are symptomatic. The College has a protocol for students who are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, which is available in the Health and Safety section of the fall 2020 reopening plan website. This protocol also includes instructions for students on what to do if they receive a positive test result for COVID-19. Please review the protocol and, if circumstances require, be prepared to follow it.
It’s important to keep in mind that a positive wastewater test does not necessarily mean there are positive cases of COVID-19 in the associated residence hall. Sixteen residents of Bonchek were tested in the last surveillance round on Wednesday, and none tested positive. Recently, when we conducted a special round of COVID-19 testing following a positive wastewater test for Brooks College House (Marshall Buchanan), none of the residents of Brooks tested positive. We are hopeful that the same will be true for Bonchek; however, we are testing all Bonchek residents and staff out of an abundance of caution.
Those affected will receive more information shortly about sign-up times for testing and accommodations for those observing Yom Kippur. Thank you for your patience.
Interim Vice President and Dean for Student Affairs