A delay in COVID-19 test results led a group of Ithaca College students to have extended quarantines after returning to campus.
Cayuga Health System (CHS) notified the college Jan. 30 that there was a delay in evaluating the arrival test results of some students, Rosanna Ferro, vice president for student affairs and campus life, said in a message to the campus community Feb. 2. The delay in results impacted students who were quarantining on campus and off campus in hotels.
Usually CHS delivers test results by the morning following the COVID-19 test, Ferro said. She said CHS informed the college that results would instead be delivered by the afternoon and the college moved to its contingency plan. Students were moved from hotels to Terrace 13, Emerson Hall or a physically distanced space in the Emerson Suites.
“Although unfortunate that these issues occurred, I am proud of our move-in staff’s ability to adapt in this rapidly changing set of circumstances, all the while maintaining our students’ needs and safety as the highest priority,” Ferro said in the message.
She said students in Emerson Suites were given food and beverages as well as a hot dinner. Students quarantined in on-campus residence halls were also allowed to request extra food.
“I want to assure you that we are continuing to evaluate the circumstances surrounding Saturday’s events and are committed to learning from this experience should we encounter similar situations in the future,” Ferro said in the message.
From Jan. 24–31, there were 11 positive cases at the college. As of Feb. 3, there are four residential student active cases and eight off-campus student active cases. There are 10 students in public health isolation/quarantine and three in travel advisory quarantine. Christina Moylan, director for public health emergency preparedness, said in an email that she is not aware of any current outbreaks in dorms that may have occurred over the weekend of Jan. 30.
“My sense from arrival testing and the low number of positives so far is that our first-year students took seriously our request to quarantine and limit contact before coming to campus and testing prior to arrival,” she said.
She said that if a cluster — more than five positive cases associated with a single exposure — occurred on campus, the campus community would be notified. Continued vigilance and surveillance testing will help keep cases at the college low, Moylan said.