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Update on COVID-19 Cases on Campus

Dear Residential Students,

I hope your semester is off to a good start. As we complete the first week of classes, I want to provide an update on our first two rounds of COVID-19 testing, and on the transition to the spring in-person residential experience.

Thank you for the seriousness with which you prepared for your arrival on campus and your cooperation with the safety guidelines that were put in place for move-in. It is clear that you took great care to self-quarantine prior to your arrival and complied with mask-wearing and physical distancing requirements throughout the move-in process. This diligence has paid off with very low numbers of positive COVID-19 tests through the first two rounds of testing. 

I do want to make you aware of a few recent positive test results, both in the interest of transparency and to emphasize the continued importance of following campus safety guidelines and procedures to minimize the spread of COVID-19. During the first round of testing, there was one positive result. That student decided to return home and isolate there for the required period before moving back to campus. During the second round of testing, there were three positive results, two of which were connected to each other. The third positive test result was unrelated. 

Those three students are in isolation housing on campus. Staff members from Worth Health Center and Student Affairs are in contact with them daily to monitor their conditions and to provide additional assistance and support, and meals are being delivered to them. Four other students were identified as close contacts through our contact tracing process. Those four students are in quarantine housing and receiving similar daily support services from the health center and Student Affairs.

The third round of arrival testing will take place on Friday, Feb. 19, and Monday, Feb. 22. Please be sure to arrive promptly for your appointment. If you have questions about testing, contact Assistant Director of Student Health and Wellness Mary Reilly at mreilly1@swarthmore.edu.

We should all be pleased that the prevalence of cases has thus far been very low, but it is crucial that we remain vigilant and continue to closely follow the safety guidelines that have been put in place. Specifically, all students on campus are expected to:

  • Complete the daily symptom tracker, as required by Student Health Services.
  • Wear a mask at all times when not in your residence hall room or actively eating.
  • Practice physical distancing, staying at least 6 feet apart from others.


As your semester gets underway, I understand the desire to relax some of these safety practices, particularly within your residential areas. However, I cannot stress enough the importance of consistently following campus safety protocols and of adhering to the Garnet Pledge, both for your own well-being and for the well-being of all our community members. Without exception, though the amount of community spread of the virus among students on campus has been relatively small, what we have seen has been related to students in residential and/or friend groups relaxing their mask wearing and distancing around one another.

I want to extend a special thank you to the staff of Student Health and Wellness, the Office of Student Engagement, Public Safety, Environmental Services, and Facilities as well as the other staff volunteers who worked so hard to plan for and oversee the move-in process. Additional information will be provided in the coming days as opportunities for in-person classes, dining, library access, and athletic facilities become available, so be sure to watch for updates and announcements.

Again, thank you for your commitment to each other and to the well-being of the entire campus community.

Sincerely,

Jim Terhune
Vice President for Student Affairs