Dear Allegheny College Campus Community,
I am writing with an update on the COVID-19 response on our campus. Today, 29 students tested positive for COVID-19, which brings us to a total of 55 students in isolation. The spread continues to be between friend groups. With finals on the horizon, we recommend that our community mask in public spaces. N95 masks and paper masks are available at the Wise Center.
There has been some concern about the members of the public who attended the MEC concert on Saturday night. All non-Allegheny guests were vaccinated and tested negative at the Wise Center in the hours before the concert. In fact, we have not yet noted spread between concert guests.
Despite the prevalence of COVID-19 in our community this week, I am relieved to report that all students and employees in isolation are resting comfortably, with minimal symptoms. As we continue to learn more about the latest COVID-19 variants, I am writing to inform you of some COVID-19 policy changes on our campus.
- Over the last two weeks, 17 students tested positive for COVID-19 who had been identified through contact tracing. That meant that they were masking and remaining physically distanced after being notified of the tracing. They also had shorter lists of contacts because they had refrained from socializing, eating with friends, and sitting near others in classrooms. Contact tracing allows us to protect our campus and therefore will remain in effect.
- We have also noticed that those who have been contact traced and subsequently test positive for COVID-19 do so within five days of exposure. We have had no cases that were uncovered by day 7 testing. Therefore, those who have been identified through contact tracing need only mask and distance until a negative test result on day 5.
- Because Allegheny students live in close proximity, it is imperative that they protect each other by remaining isolated while infectious with COVID-19. That said, research has shown that antigen tests can be a useful tool to guide recommendations for isolation after SARS-CoV-2 infection. Therefore, starting tomorrow, we will begin to test students in isolation at Quality Inn with the hope of returning them to campus earlier than 10 days. Here is a timeline of how this will work:
- Day 0 is marked by the start of symptoms
- Day 5: Are symptoms improving?
- NO: continue to isolate and receive medical support from ACHA
- YES: nasal antigen test administered by a trained professional
- Positive — we will test you again each day until you test negative or 10 days have passed.
- Negative — no longer contagious; student may return to campus.
- Students who choose to isolate at home can submit a negative test administered by a licensed medical professional.
- Allegheny employees are now permitted to return to campus after day 5 while masked. If an employee would like a repeat test on days 5-9 to confirm that they are not contagious, they can email ACHA for a testing appointment. To protect our community, if you know that you are positive for COVID-19, please do not walk into testing without an appointment.
Gator strong. Gator safe.