First Covid Case on Campus

November 19, 2020

Per CDC guidelines, we quarantined those identified as close contacts and they are being tested a second time today, Monday. So far, all testing has come back negative. This was our first and only case. We had remote classes for one day, Thursday, while we completed contact tracing and notifications, but went back to in-person classes on Friday. We have increased our surveillance testing this week as a further precaution and continue to reinforce the three W’s: wear a mask, watch your distance, and wash your hands.

We knew the day would come, but Gould now has a confirmed positive case of COVID-19 on campus. Testing and tracing of close contacts began on Wednesday evening, and any identified individuals have been notified and are in quarantine. Today (Thursday) also marks the start of the school’s winter trimester, but classes are remote and athletics are canceled as that process continues, possibly for Friday as well. 

In order to respect the privacy of that person and their health information, there is a limit to what Gould can share. It is worth noting that community exposure was minimized as the case happened over the break between fall and winter trimesters when students were not in class or practicing with their teams. Gould has completed more than 1,000 COVID tests this fall, testing 25 percent of the community each week as a surveillance measure, and has had no positive cases. To the best of the school’s knowledge, there are no other cases on campus, and it doesn’t appear as though the virus was acquired at Gould.

“We knew, given the numbers, that we would see a case on campus eventually, but we prepared well. We are following our plan to prevent any spread in the community.”
– Tao Smith ’90, Head of School

The foundation of the school’s plan are the three pillars—masks, distancing, and hand hygiene. Other precautions the school has taken include increased sanitizing procedures, de-densifying mealtimes and classrooms (fewer students in class; some may be remote on certain days, even if they are on campus), and limiting travel. 

The school has minimized community exposure by limiting the number of times students may leave campus during this school year. Those who leave campus are asked to study remotely until the next testing and intake period in January.

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