Olivia Silvey ‘25
Trinity College identified 12 new cases of COVID-19 earlier this week, according to an email from Chief of Staff Jason Rojas and Vice President for Student Success and Enrollment Management Joe DiChristina Thursday morning. All but one person is isolating from home.
There are a total of 17 active cases as of Friday, Dec. 30. This number–which includes 14 students and 3 employees–is down from last week when cases surged to 21 and the College shifted to a yellow alert level.
DiChristina told the Tripod via email that there are currently 375 students on campus. This number includes J-Term students, student-athletes, and international students who were given permission to stay over break. DiChristina also reported that a total of 15 students have an approved medical or religious exemption.
Responding to questions about Trinity’s COVID-19 reporting practices, DiChristina noted that “test results do not come in large batches to us. It is usually over a period of time (8-12 hrs) that we may have received 20-30 results every hr. We wait until all the tests from a given period of time (for example a full day) before we compile the results into the full report for the dashboard.” He did not indicate whether the College would begin updating its dashboard more frequently in the spring.
Rojas and DiChristina also announced more details about Trinity’s reopening plans for the spring and J-Term. The Tripod previously reported the College postponed the spring start date to Monday, Jan. 31 to support its efforts to mitigate the spread of the virus.
All members of the Trinity community will complete a weekly PCR test at least through the first month of the spring semester. Testing will be done at the on-campus testing center in the Memorial Field House. In the fall, only unvaccinated individuals with an approved exemption were tested on a weekly basis, while 10-15 percent of vaccinated students were tested each week. More details about the spring testing schedule will be released on Jan. 14.
All returning students will be required to submit a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of arrival back to campus. Rojas and DiChristina urged students to secure a test the week of Jan. 10 and report a negative test outcome to the College. Any individuals who test positive before returning to campus will be exempt from on-campus testing for 90 days. If students test negative, they will have to complete another pre-arrival test within the 72-hour window of their arrival date.
Students granted medical and religious exemptions in the fall will automatically be granted an exemption from the booster and will not be required to submit a request for the spring. Students who met the vaccine requirement in the fall, but now wish to apply for a medical exemption from the booster shot for spring 2022 must submit a form to the Health Center by Jan. 14. Rojas and DiChristina’s Dec. 30 email indicated that religious exemptions from the booster will not be granted at this time unless a student was not enrolled (e.g., new first year or transfer) for the fall semester.
J-Term students are scheduled to return on Sunday, Jan. 2, and they must be tested before attending class on Monday, Jan 3. Students waiting for their test results are required to wear a mask at all times: outside when with groups of people, in all indoor spaces such as classrooms, shared residence hall spaces, the library, and while in the dining hall to pick up grab-and-go meals. Winter sport athletes who are on campus will continue to follow their pre-existing testing schedule.
This article was updated on Thursday, Jan. 6 to include comment from DiChristina.