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An Update on COVID-19

Dear Students, Parents, and Family Members, 

With the conclusion of classes and amid final exams, there are certainly other things I’d rather be writing to you about than COVID-19. However, in the interest of keeping you informed about what’s happening on campus, I want to give you a brief update on the current situation at the College.

As we shared with our campus community on Friday, rates of COVID-19 are again increasing in and around the Swarthmore area, and we are seeing a significant increase in individuals testing positive on campus. Last week, 62 students and 20 employees tested positive. Fortunately, we haven’t seen any severe illnesses associated with this recent increase; the vast majority of our students and employees who tested positive reported having cold-like symptoms.

Though we’ve managed to keep the number of cases on campus low throughout the pandemic, we’ve known all along that this sort of increase was possible. To help reduce the spread of COVID-19 on campus, we’ve temporarily reinstated our indoor masking requirement. As we shared at the start of the semester, we also anticipated that we may experience a time when the number of positive cases exceeded our isolation housing capacity. Unfortunately, we have reached that point. Based on recommendations from our public health and medical professionals, and following a model several other schools adopted in the past year, we have begun isolating in place, meaning some students who test positive are isolating in their rooms, rather than relocating to another location. Our staff in Student Health and Wellness are providing guidance and support to those students, as well as their roommates. 

We expect these to be short-term measures as we navigate the conclusion of the academic year. Students have already begun to leave campus for summer break, and the campus population will significantly decrease as we move through the next week. 

Thank you for your continued patience and flexibility as we deal with the still-shifting dynamics of the pandemic.  


Jim Terhune
Vice President for Student Affairs