To the Saint Anselm community,
We are one week away from the end of classes. With the conclusion of the semester in sight, I wanted to provide an update on COVID-19 and share a reflection on the journey we have taken this fall.
Our health team conducted 767 tests this week, with six positives. Four of the incidences are students and two are employees, one of whom notified us of an off-campus test that was positive. As Maura Marshall detailed in her letter last night, students who tested positive were immediately placed in isolation and close contacts were moved to quarantine housing, with many choosing to return home for the remainder of the semester. The employees are isolating at home and close contacts have been notified and are quarantining as well. All positives this week were asymptomatic and the individuals are doing well.
Positive COVID cases were inevitable this semester and the days following Halloween were watched closely due to the high volume of social activity. Unfortunately, we had an outbreak as a result, with a two-week total of 18 positive cases emerging from two distinct clusters; thankfully, we are confident at this point that both clusters have been contained. For context, we have conducted 8,927 tests this semester, with a positivity rate of 0.48%. Our cases are mainly traced to two outbreaks, one in September and one over the past two weeks.
While we did not want to end the semester with an outbreak, it is important to note that our protocols continue to be effective in identifying and containing COVID cases. We are approaching Nov. 20 with the belief that our system worked well this fall, and we are encouraged about our plans for the spring. However, it is clear that adjustments are needed. Be assured the work is well underway to evaluate this semester and adapt for the spring.
I realize this has been a long road, and we are all feeling fatigued. The Thanksgiving break will be a welcome and well-deserved respite for our community. As we reach for that moment, I think about when we started this marathon, with students arriving over 10 simmering August days, and how many examples of ingenuity, compassion, fortitude and student-centric decision-making I have witnessed over these past four months. It has been both inspiring and unsurprising, knowing the dedication each one of you has to providing a transformative curricular and co-curricular experience for our students. Yes, there were a few bumps in the road along the way, and your ability to overcome every obstacle makes me even more grateful to be part of this Anselmian community.
One more week!
Joseph A. Favazza, Ph.D.