11/06/2020

[PORT] Important COVID-19 Test Result Update

Dear Students and Colleagues:

As you know, the College is using modified universal testing for students during the course of Module 2. In this system, we have divided the student body into three groups and test each group every three weeks so that a significant portion of our student body is tested every week, and every student is tested at least twice per module. 

Until this week, the College has had zero positive cases of COVID-19 since Sept. 28. Unfortunately, in this week’s modified universal testing there were four students who received positive test results out of 478 students tested. We will update the F&M COVID-19 Dashboard on the pandemic operations information website this afternoon to reflect these results.

In response, the four students, who were not symptomatic, were moved into isolation, and we immediately conducted contact tracing to identify any connections between the cases. In an abundance of caution, we have asked groups of students connected to those who tested positive to adhere to a modified quarantine in their rooms until they receive a negative test result. We have set up additional surveillance testing for this afternoon to minimize the length of time that students must quarantine and to mitigate the potential of viral spread. 

In the contact tracing for one of these cases, we determined that individuals from a class the student was taking met the definition of close contacts. These individuals, including the faculty member, have all been appropriately advised and are in modified quarantine. This is an important reminder that physical distancing and mask wearing in the classroom are crucial for everyone’s safety.

National, regional, and local infection rates are rising rapidly, and we must maintain our high degree of vigilance to keep ourselves and our campus safe. Now is not a time to relax our precautions, especially with the start of colder weather prompting us to be inside more often. All of us on campus must reaffirm our commitment to the significant safety protocols that have served us so well. Let’s make sure that these last two weeks of classes go well.

Many thanks for all you are doing, and will continue to do, in this regard. 

Best wishes,

Alan Caniglia on behalf of PORT