Saint Joseph’s College in Standish announced Monday that another outbreak of COVID-19 has been detected in the student population.

President James Dlugos, in an announcement to the college community, said three students have tested positive for COVID-19. In addition, 13 students have been placed in quarantine. Those students who may have been exposed were identified following contact tracing protocol.

Colleges and universities across the state have begun to see more COVID-19 cases despite low numbers when classes resumed this fall. The University of Maine System in a message posted on its website Monday said there are 33 known cases of students and staff in isolation – six more than Sunday – due to contracting the virus. Five are residence hall students.

Saint Joseph’s officials said the 13 students in quarantine are being housed in the health center residence hall, one of two buildings on campus that were converted for such use. The health center residence hall still has 32 beds available to accommodate more students if necessary.

“Our thoughts are with them as they isolate from the rest of the campus,” Dlugos said of the three students who tested positive.

“Given what we learned in the course of our last outbreak, we expect this outbreak to grow, along with the scope of the contact tracing,” Dlugos said. “The Pandemic Response Team is currently meeting regularly, and is reviewing all options as we manage this situation. We now have a process for this kind of event, and we’re following it.”

Oliver Griswold, the chief brand and marketing officer for Saint Joseph’s, said the three positive tests appear to have occurred through close contact in a residence hall, though the college is not certain how the virus was introduced into the campus environment.

The college will continue using a mix of remote and classroom instruction, Griswold said in an email.

“Our Pandemic Response Team is currently keeping all options on the table as we manage this latest outbreak,” Griswold said. “We are putting a safety and education first, as we always do.”

This is the second COVID-19 outbreak at Saint Joseph’s College since classes began. On Sept. 13, the college reported that nine students tested positive for the virus. The college enacted a study in place model after the outbreak. Under “Study in Place,” students are asked to remain in their room as much as possible, avoid congregating in groups of more than two and avoid off-campus travel unless absolutely necessary. Commuter students were told not to come to campus.

In person classes resumed Sept. 30 after no new cases were reported.

In his announcement Monday, Dlugos urged students to wear masks and follow physical distancing recommendations.

“You have a part to play as well. When each of us follows campus safety protocols to the letter, we can stem this outbreak as quickly as we did the last time,” he said.

Dlugos urged students to wear masks whenever they are not in their rooms or eating. He said students must wear masks outside on campus, in the Alfond Center, in their car if others are with you, at athletics practice , and in all residence hall common spaces.

“Both the outbreak and our enhanced measures to control it reflect what is happening out in the rest of the country,” Dlugos said. “There is evidence of community spread in the state and region and a significant increase in positive cases. Each of us must do everything in our power to protect ourselves and others.”

 

 

 

 


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: