September 8, 2020
Dear Members of the Hobart and William Smith Community,
On Sunday, we reported that we had 4 positive cases of COVID-19 among students. Since then, and with the assistance of the Ontario County Health Department, we have instituted a thorough contact tracing protocol and subsequent testing through the Broad Institute. This has resulted in the identification of an additional 14 positive cases among students, for a total of 18 active cases. All of the students who tested positive are in isolation in a separate facility under the care of staff and health care practitioners. Currently, only one student is symptomatic and, so far, those symptoms have not required special medical attention. This is obviously a challenging situation for these students and their families, and our hearts go out to them.
We have quarantined 86 students who had close contact with the students who tested positive. Recall that a quarantine separates and restricts the movement of people who may have been exposed to COVID-19 in case they become sick. Isolation separates people who are sick and/or contagious from people who are not sick. We are monitoring and retesting students in quarantine as well.
We have created a COVID-19 dashboard on our Fall 2020 website to serve as a supplement to the one maintained by Ontario County. We anticipate updating this dashboard when new information emerges and indicating the time of the last update. We will also send weekly emails, and if we see a surge in cases in between updates, you will hear from us via email then as well.
Students have in general been diligent in their adherence to safety protocols, including avoiding holding large gatherings. If everyone continues to be conscientious in the use of face coverings, social distancing and enhanced hygiene, we should emerge from this period with very few additional cases. Should the situation escalate substantially, we would ask all students on and off campus to remain in their residence halls and off-campus housing for a 14-day, campus-wide quarantine with a shift to full remote learning during that time. Right now, we do not anticipate that happening, but want to be clear what the next step could be should we see a dramatic increase in the number of positive cases.
As always, if you have COVID-19 symptoms, please reach out to Hubbs Health Center (for students) or your health care provider (for faculty and staff) as soon as possible. All others should continue with normal campus activities with a heightened commitment to safety protocols. We know that the news of positive cases on campus is troubling, but we are a strong community and we will get through this together.
Vice President for Campus Life