Conn. College reports COVID outbreak despite vaccine mandate
NEW LONDON — An apparent COVID-19 outbreak prompted Connecticut College to shift to a remote schedule as colleges and universities — all under vaccine mandate — have begun recording cases among newly arrived students.
In a statement on Tuesday, the private liberal arts college announced classes and activities were canceled for the day as it upgraded its status from a level one alert — green — to a level three alert — orange. This status means the college’s operations are reduced, with students in “cautionary quarantine” as needed, according to the school.
Like many colleges and universities in the state, Connecticut College required students and employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 for the start of the fall semester, according to the school’s website. Many have also adopted indoor mask mandates as cases have spiked around the state, fueled by the delta variant.
New London County, where the college is located, is one of the two Connecticut counties with high transmission of the virus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Since the school year began on Aug. 23, the college has performed 6,320 tests, with a total of 68 students and two employees testing positive for the virus.
The school’s records indicate a small number of students tested positive during the first two weeks back on campus. Then there was a spike this week, with 57 students who tested positive so far during the week of Sept. 6 through Sept. 12, the data shows.
Cases at other schools
Several other colleges and universities around the state are also reporting cases as students returned to campus.
The University of Connecticut reported eight total cases as of Sept. 1, all at the university’s Storrs campus. Four of the cases were among residential students, while the other four involved off-campus students. One isolation bed is in use. The university also reports 11 cases among on-campus faculty and staff since Aug. 1.
UConn is among the schools requiring students to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
Yale University in New Haven reported 19 cases in the previous seven days as of Sept. 7. Ten of the cases were reported were among students, while nine were among staff and faculty. Yale is also requiring students and employees to be vaccinated.
Quinnipiac University in Hamden reported 10 active cases as of Tuesday. The university required all students and employees to be fully vaccinated by Aug. 1. Students, faculty and staff must wear a mask indoors except when eating or in a living space or private workspace.
The University of New Haven reported six cases in the past week — four among offcampus students, two among residential students. The university is requiring students and employees to be vaccinated. Those who haven’t verified their vaccination status or been granted an exemption are not being allowed on campus, according to the school’s website. Masks are required indoors regardless of whether someone is vaccinated.
Wesleyan University in Middletown reported 10 active cases as of Monday, according to the school’s dashboard. The school is requiring students and employees to be vaccinated, and masks are required indoors.
Eastern Connecticut State University in Willimantic is requiring students to be fully vaccinated and is requiring masks indoors while on campus. The school reported a dozen cases the week of Aug. 30 between residential and off-campus students.
The University of Saint Joseph in West Hartford is requiring students and employees to be fully-vaccinated against COVID-19. The school is also following West Hartford’s local indoor mask mandate, the school said in an Aug. 20 memo. The school’s most recent test data shows four cases of COVID-19, all among commuter students.
Albertus Magnus College in New Haven, Sacred Heart University in Fairfield and Trinity College in Hartford reported no new cases among students and employees. Like other schools, both are requiring masks and vaccinations.
Some schools have yet to publicly share COVID-19 cases on campus, or have not started testing. Southern Connecticut State University has not published a COVID-19 dashboard of cases on its website. Fairfield University said it plans to resume its COVID-19 dashboard on Sept. 17. At Fairfield University, students who had been vaccinated in the previous 90 days did not need to submit to testing.
While Southern Connecticut State University had yet to publish its COVID-19 dashboard, Central Connecticut State University had and it showed no new cases recently.
The University of Bridgeport plans on performing random weekly testing among commuter students, residential students, employees, service providers and other community members. That testing will resume this fall, the school said.