Trinity Reports First Faculty COVID Case and Separate Case Among Food Service Staff

4 min read

Brendan W. Clark ’21

Editor-in-Chief

Trinity reported two new positive cases among employees Friday evening, impacting “for the first time a faculty member” and a “member of our food service staff,” according to an email from Vice President for Student Success and Enrollment Management Joe DiChristina and Assistant Vice President for Human Resources Michelle Cabral Friday evening.

This is Trinity’s first faculty case and its fourth cumulative case among employees since the start of the semester. While the COVID dashboard only reflects three cumulative cases among employees and affiliates, the College has previously confirmed two separate cases in September and mid-October, bringing the current total to four.

It was not immediately clear if the College would be updating the cumulative totals or what had accounted for this error. Chief of Staff to the President Rojas told the Tripod that the Dashboard “reflects tests and/or confirmed cases that they have conducted and processed,” whereas the active cases “includes all individuals who tested positive including confirmed cases on campus which includes one case that was confirmed by a test conducted outside of our campus testing protocol.”

DiChristina also indicated Friday evening that five students remain in isolation, as announced Thursday afternoon, and that “through contact tracing, 30 other students are in quarantine.” Trinity’s cumulative case totals are 90, including 12 prior, since the start of testing in August.

An additional sixth student case was identified and added overnight to Trinity’s total. DiChristina indicated Friday that the total consists of “eight cases in our community”—among both employees and students—and added that five were quarantined at home and three were quarantined on-campus.

The College declined to disclose identifying details but did indicate that the faculty member case “was revealed through our campus testing” and noted that “a very small number of students interacted with the individual.” Those students will not quarantine because it [the interaction] was properly distanced and all individuals were masked.” DiChristina noted that the College does “not see evidence” that this case is connected to “the other currently active cases.”

The Chartwells team member was “tested externally,” but informed the College this morning. Trinity has “activated our contact tracing protocol,” DiChristina added, and as a precaution “10 individuals are now in quarantine at home.” As with the faculty case, “no immediate additional actions were required” and the College does not believe the cases are connected to other currently active, positive cases on-campus.

For the Chartwells case, DiChristina noted that the College “consulted with the City of Hartford Department of Public Health and were advised that the risk of transmission was low” given coronavirus protocols the College and Chartwells have instituted.

It was not immediately clear whether the College had consulted with the Department of Public Health on the faculty case.

Trinity has previously committed to updating its dashboard only twice a week, but Rojas indicated to the Tripod on Nov. 2 that the College “may update the dashboard as needed and we may choose to update more frequently as needed so that the dashboard reflects any significant changes in confirmed cases we may experience. We may update the dashboard more frequently for other special circumstances as well.”

SGA President Giovanni Jones ’21 also announced a partnership Friday with the College to “create a student support forum on Moodle designed to provide a space for members of the student body to ask about COVID-19 protocols and other questions regarding policies this semester.” Asked if Rojas believed this forum to be a response to insufficient communications, he added that the College has “communicated on a frequent and regular basis” and welcomes “feedback from any member of our campus community on how we can improve communication.”

As the Tripod previously reported, Trinity’s first employee case, impacting an “administrative staff person,” was confirmed on Sept. 9.

Trinity had had seven positive cases as of Thursday evening as the College attempts to recover from a previous outbreak that had seen a deluge of cases at campus facilities and forced the College to transition to remote learning for much of October.

bclark

Brendan W. Clark '21 is the current Editor-in-Chief of the Trinity Tripod, Trinity College's student newspaper.

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