Colby-Sawyer outbreak grows

  • Colby-Sawyer College's administration building, housed in Colgate Hall on campus, in New London, N.H., on December 9, 2016. (Valley News - Geoff Hansen) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to Geoff Hansen

Valley News
Published: 3/16/2021 6:30:40 PM

Colby-Sawyer College extended its remote learning period and entered a “modified stay-in-place phase” on Monday amid a growing outbreak of COVID-19, according to an announcement on the school’s website.

The outbreak at Colby-Sawyer grew over the weekend to include a total of 57 active student cases as of Sunday, nearly twice the number the college reported on Friday, according to the school’s COVID-19 dashboard. The college, which first moved to remote learning on Friday, also had nearly 100 people in quarantine, including 81 on campus in New London.

“Many of those who have tested positive this week are experiencing mild-to-significant symptoms,” said Gregg Mazzola, the school’s vice president for marketing and communications, in the announcement sent to students on Saturday.

The fully remote learning model is slated to continue until March 24, Mazzola wrote. In addition, the college was scheduled to enter the stay-in-place phase for students on campus beginning on Monday at 5 p.m.

“Colby-Sawyer was fortunate to have avoided an outbreak of COVID-19 cases on campus over the first five weeks of the semester,” Mazzola wrote. “And while some colleges and universities across the state may not have been as fortunate during that span, those institutions have proven that a temporary shift to fully remote learning and similar stay-in-place periods can successfully prevent further spread of the virus.”

For example, Dartmouth College in Hanover had just 27 active cases on Saturday, down from a high of about 150 earlier this month. Winter term final exams end Wednesday at Dartmouth and spring term begins March 29.

During the stay-in-place phase, Colby-Sawyer students will be required to remain on college property and be barred from entering residence halls other than their own. They are allowed to go outside in groups of six, but are required to wear masks and practice social distancing.

There are a few exceptions. Nursing and athletic training students may leave campus for clinical work, as can students studying with the Upper Valley Educators Institute, so long as they tested negative for COVID-19 during testing on Friday.

Students were offered the opportunity to leave campus before the stay-in-place requirement went into effect, but will be required to return by March 22 in order to participate in a round of mandatory testing in advance of the planned return to in-person instruction on March 24.

During the stay-in-place phase, campus tours have been postponed and the school’s sports center and library remain closed. The school’s dining hall is open for take-out only and school officials asked students required to isolate or quarantine to order meals online for delivery by campus dining staff.

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