Dickinson Confirms Six Total COVID Cases Amongst Students and Staff

Dickinson+Confirms+Six+Total+COVID+Cases+Amongst+Students+and+Staff

On Monday, the President’s Office announced that a total of three students have tested positive for COVID-19 on campus in addition to three employees. With just a few weeks of the semester left, students on campus were asked to restrict their movement and the Dining Hall switched from a takeout and dine-in option to takeout only for at least the next two weeks.

The three students who tested positive are quarantined along with their respective housemates, who were also tested. Two of the three cases were discovered via student initiative, according to Vice President and Dean of Student Life George Stroud. Once the first student reached out to the Wellness Center exhibiting symptoms and the results came back administration began working diligently to contact trace. “[W[e then began contact tracing…then informed those individuals, had those individuals quarantine themselves, and then tested those individuals as well,” said Stroud. 

The third case was a result of contact tracing, where the student was alerted they had been in contact with somebody that tested positive for COVID, were tested themselves, and then received a positive result as well.

President Margee Ensign emphasized that Dickinson has taken the additional precaution this semester of utilizing a daily symptom tracker for students on campus. According to Ensign, the symptom tracker assisted the first COVID positive student in visiting the Wellness Center and getting tested. 

According to Stroud, as soon as the first case was confirmed an email was sent to the entire Dickinson community, followed by a larger email this past Monday that contained information about the second and third cases. “[T]here was an email that was sent out to the campus community immediately as soon as we found out about the first positive test…And then the other two [positive COVID cases] came out pretty quickly, and so we lumped them all together and sent out the second [email] to say ‘Okay, here’s where we are now,’” said Stroud.

While two emails were sent out containing information about the positive cases on campus, some students felt as though there should have been more details.

While I’m glad that the campus community has been vigilant in its COVID efforts this fall, I wish that as students we had received more information regarding where the students lived on campus that have tested positive for COVID so we could all stay safe,” said Bridget Williams ’21, who is currently living on campus. 

Liam Riordan ‘22 appreciated the email blasts to the Dickinson community, but hopes that with more students on campus next semester, the information can be filtered directly to on-campus students first. “It felt like the news about the COVID cases was buried within a lot of other information. Even though I appreciated knowing about the confirmed cases and how the college was dealing with it, I was also preoccupied with all of the other changes and comments the emails contained.”

With plans to test students twice a week and continue utilizing the daily symptom tracker, both Ensign and Stroud feel confident that the college will be able to handle any additional COVID cases throughout the next semester. 

“It does make me a little more worried about going back to campus knowing that there are three students who have now contracted COVID, but with the situation changing daily I’m hoping that the college will be able to make sure that as few people as possible get sick once more students are back on campus next semester,” said Sophie Martin ‘21, who is doing her online classes from her home in New Mexico this semester. “I do think that it is pretty surprising that there haven’t been more cases sooner. Knowing that some students are probably going to get sick no matter what I think that out of 160 students on campus for only three to have gotten sick this far into the semester is somewhat impressive,” she added.

“[W]e are very serious about making sure we communicate with folks because this is a serious crisis…And we don’t want anyone to be surprised by anything, if we have information, we are going to share that information with the community,” said Stroud.