Quinnipiac University announced Friday it will implement a two-week, campus-wide quarantine period and will test every student after the school reported 115 new COVID-19 cases in just 48 hours.
The move includes raising the campus to red-alert status just two days after elevating it to orange status on Wednesday as school officials tracked an increase in cases on campus amid a surge in coronavirus cases across the state.
“This weekend we must be especially vigilant in our efforts to reverse the trend,” the university wrote in a notice to students and staff Friday evening.
“These containment measures follow the advice of public health experts and state guidance to take every possible measure to safely house students on campus,” the letter continued. “The above measures are the quickest and most effective strategies to contain and reduce contagion levels.”
The on-campus quarantine will be in effect through Nov. 18 and will require students to restrict activities to only their family or roommates and limit their time outdoors to picking up meals and “fresh air breaks” with only the people they are quarantined with, per the new red status rules.
Residential students will not be allowed to leave campus and off-campus students cannot come to campus, and the rules put in place Wednesday to make all classes remote, close dining halls and prohibit in-person events are extended through the end of the quarantine period.
“Similar to the governor’s advisory for all state residents, students are required to remain in their university housing from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.,” the letter said.
School officials also will test every residential student on Monday and the university has scheduled hour-long blocks for students from each dorm to report for testing. Off-campus students, both undergraduate and graduate, will be tested on Tuesday.
Beginning Friday night, students quarantining in their room can begin picking up grab-and-go meals from the dining hall, but they will not be permitted to leave their room during the quarantine period, school officials said. Students in isolation who tested positive will have meals delivered to their room each evening.
The sharp increase in cases and new quarantine rules come a week after some Quinnipiac students and peers from other colleges attended a huge Halloween party at Anthony’s Ocean View in New Haven late last week. About 20 Quinnipiac students were sent home after the school learned of the party, which was caught on social media posts that became public the next day, and Anthony’s was promptly shut down by the New Haven health department.
The university’s announcement came just hours after state health data reported 22 additional COVID-19 hospitalizations, for a total of 402, the highest number of hospitalizations in five months.
The state also reported another 15 coronavirus deaths on Friday as it began a rollback to Phase 2, including limiting in-person gatherings to 10 and returning to lower limits on restaurant dining capacities and hours while officials try to hold back a seeming second wave of COVID-19 across Connecticut.
Zach Murdock can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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