A moratorium on in-person classes spurred by a rash of COVID cases on campus will be lifted at Marist College after a week-long lockdown.
"Although New York State requires colleges to move classes online if they reach a threshold of 100 cases or 5 (percent) of the campus population, Marist erred on the side of caution and paused campus activities with a significantly lower number of cases," read a letter to students sent on Friday, Oct. 16 to announce resuming in-person classes. "During the pause, the College placed the Fulton Townhouses under precautionary quarantine and conducted more than 1,200 tests over five days after the initial cases were identified."
On-ground classes and activities are slated to resume on Sunday, Oct. 17. Students are permitted to leave campus for activities, but encouraged to stay within the Poughkeepsie community; gatherings and parties are still prohibited, and students found hosting or attending such gatherings will be "disciplined accordingly."
According to the college's COVID-19 Dashboard, 27 individuals are currently infected with the virus, one an employee of the institution and isolating off-campus, up from 26 on Thursday, Oct. 15, while three are doing so on-campus.
Initially, all classes for Marist students on Friday, Oct. 9 and Saturday, Oct. 10 were conducted online, according to a letter sent to students by college Vice President Geoff Brackett on Oct. 8. Preceding the initial lockdown, 10 of 271 students tested positive for the virus on Thursday, Oct. 8.
Contact tracing on campus led to the identification and subsequent isolation of 20 additional students, leading campus administration to announce the extension of the school's hiatus until Wednesday, Oct. 14 on Oct. 11; after more positive test results, the school announced that they would halt in-person classes further, until Friday, Oct. 16.
Thus far, 11,136 have been tested at Marist. The school conducted its highest number of tests, 588, on Tuesday, Oct. 13; only two students tested positive. On Wednesday, Oct. 14, no students of the 138 tested had the virus.
Of the 37 students that tested positive before they arrived at campus when the semester began in late August, all have quarantined, tested negative for the virus and returned to campus. Of the now-39 who tested positive after they arrived on campus, eight have been cleared to return.
“We identified a small number of cases and immediately implemented our contact tracing and testing protocols and paused in-person classes and campus activities to contain the situation," said Brackett. "Our first priority has always been to protect the health of both the campus community and the greater community.”
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