Gettysburg School quarantines all college students after spike in constructive COVID-19 check circumstances

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Gettysburg College quarantines all students after spike in positive COVID-19 test cases

The quarantine went into effect Tuesday night and will last “through at least the end of the week,” according to the Dean of Students

GETTYSBURG, Pa. — Gettsyburg College announced Tuesday it is initiating an immediate all-student quarantine through at least the end of the week after a spike in positive COVID-19 tests in the campus community.

“We were all just kinda bummed out about it because obviously it’s nice to be able to leave the room,” Jack Moran, a sophomore, said.

The quarantine went into effect Tuesday at 10 p.m., Dean of Students Julie Ramsey said in a letter to the campus posted on the school’s website Tuesday night.

“At (a) town hall on Sunday, we discussed that we were at an infection point: we were beginning to see a trend of positive cases on campus that, according to the results we had, were connected to certain affinity groups or social gatherings,” Ramsey’s letter reads. “As we discussed at the town hall, we determined that to better understand the state of campus — and to confirm that these were, in fact, clustered incidents — we would test the identified affinity groups and certain residences in addition to the surveillance testing we had already planned.

“We have begun to receive test results from this week and have more positive cases to report. As of 6 p.m. tonight, of the 348 test results we have received, 25 of those have been positive. Similar to what we were beginning to learn last week, it appears that most— but not all — of these positive cases relate to the previously identified clustered incidents.”

“It definitely changes a lot for all of us, because ya know, I’m sitting in my room listening rather than in a class room which is more engaging environment,” Moran said. “And socially we can’t do much.”

Ramsey said that while the college expected there to be positive cases in the latest batch of tests, due to the number of positive test results received so far, the number of test results that have yet to be returned, and the presence of a small number of cases that could be outside the existing clusters, the school is increasing its alert level to High.

A High alert is the second-highest level on Gettsyburg College’s four-tiered alert system. It means the number of positive test cases and potential exposures is rising, and confidence in the ability to accurately complete contact tracing is moderate, according to the school’s website.

The school’s response plan to a High alert includes an order for students to shelter in place. Students living off-campus are restricted from the campus, the college’s plan states.

Details of the all-student quarantine

All buildings will be closed by 10 p.m. tonight and each day that follows through at least the end of the week, the college said.

In addition, Gettysburg College said:

  • All classes and labs will be taught remotely.
  • Students should remain in their rooms and should only leave to:
    • Pick up food from Servo, the Atrium, or the Bullet Hole to take back to your room
    • Use the restroom
    • Go to their scheduled COVID-19 testing appointment
  • Students should call the Health Center if they need to make an appointment.
  • If students are found to be in non-compliance with the all-student quarantine, they will be required to leave campus and return home.
  • Mental health and student well-being during this time is essential. The college encourages all students to review our COVID-19 emotional wellness resources.
  • No in-person student employment will occur. Virtual work is permitted.
  • Employees who are already scheduled to work and provide support resources should continue to report to work.
  • Faculty will continue to have access to their offices to assist in their teaching remotely for the remainder of the week.
  • Students who live off-campus may only come to campus to pick up meals if they have a meal plan.
  • Students are asked to remain on campus for the remainder of the week and not return home. However, if they must leave, they should complete the following form.
  • If students need medication or academic materials that may be coming into the post office, contact 717-337-6450 between the hours of 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Questions should be directed to the Gettysburg College Phone Banks at (717) 337-8800 or emailed to fallreturn@gettysburg.edu. 

“We understand that a residential restriction will not be easy and that the current situation on campus is not what any of us had in mind when we decided to return residentially,” Ramsey’s letter concludes. “The days ahead will be challenging, and we’ve heard from you about the challenges you are experiencing with the restrictions that are already in place. This is a moment when we must join together, support one another, and fully comply with our community health and safety protocols.”

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