More than 150 students at Colorado College were quarantined in Loomis Hall after an incoming student tested positive for coronavirus Sunday, officials announced in an email.
New students received COVID-19 tests as they arrived on campus Friday. The student received positive results Saturday. Between the time of being tested and getting results, the student did not follow the school’s social distancing protocols that are supposed to be adhered to while awaiting results, Colorado College spokeswoman Leslie Weddell said.
Several people in Loomis Hall were exposed to the student and 155 will be quarantined in the dorm for 14 days to reduce risk of further spreading the virus, said the email from Dean of Students Rochelle Dickey and Brian Young, vice president of the prevention work team.
“We have been testing all students on campus, conducting ongoing random testing, and observing risk-mitigation procedures,” the email read. “We are also following the advice of our partner, El Paso County Public Health. None of these collective efforts can succeed if we don’t follow public-health guidelines.”
Students will only be allowed to leave their rooms to use the restroom; movement into and out of the dorm will be restricted.
“The quarantine means the first week of these students’ classes will be delivered via distance learning as well; for some, that may not be a change from what was already planned,” Weddell said.
Oliver Kendall of Charleston, South Carolina, said he moved into the Loomis Hall Saturday and is now among those in quarantine.
“Its kind of tough. It’s a little frustrating but understandable,” Kendall, 18, said. “It isn’t what we expected, but that’s what happened. I feel comfortable and okay with it. It’s comforting to know 150 people are going through the same thing.”
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Kendall said college officials are updating students on the situation as soon as the information becomes available.
“They’re doing the best they can,” Kendall said. “As of now, we have to stay in the dorm room. We can leave for the bathroom and laundry only.”
Meals are to be delivered to students in Loomis Hall. The quarantine may affect class schedules for those students, the email noted. Classes begin Aug. 24.
The dorm is to be deep-cleaned to help limit transmission of the disease. Students assigned to Loomis Hall who have not arrived yet will be relocated to new dorms.
School officials also sent a statement committing safety protocols to students, faculty and staff to sign.
“Anyone who does not observe this commitment puts everyone’s experience and safety at risk,” officials said in the email. “We are asking CC parents and families to support our efforts by encouraging your students to adhere to our commitment and protocols.”
Kendall said he believes his fellow students are being careful.
“I think people are understanding and making the best of their time” in quarantine, he said. “People are competing in running a mile in their dorm and seeing who can run faster or are learning handstands to pass the time.”