27 Students in Quarantine in One Day. We Need Your Help.

January 27, 2021

Dear Students,

We want nothing more than for you to have an amazing semester on the hill. But the trend so far has not been positive. Yesterday, there were eight positive COVID cases; bringing us up to 25 since move-in began. That much isn’t surprising; you’re traveling from around the world to be here and the virus continues to spread across the country, so we knew some of you would have it -- that was inevitable. We’re ready to handle it, and we’ve spent months preparing to do so.

What is concerning is that 27 of you were close contacts of COVID positive students. That’s more than three times the number of close contacts eight students should have. Those 27 people had to be sent home, or to quarantine in the hotel. That was just yesterday. Over 60 students have had to quarantine since move-in began.

This is not sustainable. You should not have any close contacts besides your roommates if you’re following these rules:

  • Don’t gather in close contact. Don’t gather in cars, don’t gather in hallways, and absolutely don’t gather in your rooms or off-campus apartments -- don’t gather anywhere.
  • Stay 6 feet apart from one another;
  • Wear a mask at all times;
  • Be honest with contact tracers. Lying, or minimizing behaviors, in your conversations with them only compounds our mutual problem, as even more people will inevitably get sick if you do.

Avoiding becoming a close contact is one of the most important things you can do this semester, not only to stop the spread of the virus but to avoid being placed into quarantine. Furthermore, violating the expectations with respect to gathering will result in serious sanctions, including loss of residential privileges and suspension.

This does not mean that you cannot socialize at all. Here are a few things you CAN do on campus this semester:

  • Take a walk, with masks, physically distanced.
  • Go sledding or build a snowman, masked and physically distanced.
  • Have a watch party of your favorite movie or show, using Zoom, or Scener or another platform.
  • Take advantage of some of the offerings the College has created, listed in an email earlier this week.
  • Come up with your own ideas; be creative, but wear your mask and stay six feet apart.

We’ve worked really hard to give you a semester on campus, and we know you want this semester on campus. The ability to remain together is now in your hands. At this rate, we won’t be able to. At the moment, we are not expecting to be able to move out of an Orange alert level for the start of classes on Feb. 1. Once we run out of isolation and quarantine space we will have to close the residence halls and send everyone home.

Worse, the downstream effects of an infection can end up in serious illness or death. It may not be someone you know. It’ll be someone you know’s best friends’ aunt or grandfather. We don’t want that. You don’t want that.

PLEASE, help keep #HCTogether by following the rules. This virus is unforgiving if you don’t.

Sincerely,

Michele Murray, Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students
David Shettler, Director of COVID Response Operations
The 20+ members of the Holy Cross COVID Response Operations Team