Manhattan College Sees Small Increase in COVID-19 Cases

by GABRIELLA DEPINHO, Editor-in-Chief

In an email sent out on Thursday evening, Manhattan College leadership informed students, staff and parents that Manhattan College’s positive coronavirus cases have had a slight increase. 

The email stated that during the week of August 24, there were 748 tests completed on campus or submitted through the portal that led to the discovery of two positive cases, one a student and one an employee. The data for the week of August 31 is pending as testing continued through Friday afternoon; however, as of Thursday evening at 6:18 p.m., the time at which the email was sent, 300 tests had been conducted, with one positive result and some results still pending.

Combining these results with the positive case from the week of August 17, Manhattan College has seen four positive cases among the campus community, prior to the completion of the first week of classes. 

The email also updated the community on quarantining guidelines, as well as the threshold of cases it will take to send the school completely remote. 

Resident students who are required to quarantine must do so in a sanctioned room in Horan Hall and must do so completely through day 14 of the quarantine. Those students are then allowed to move into their actual room for the semester on day 15; if those students have in-person classes on day 15, they must begin to attend class in-person. 

In a separate email on Thursday morning, Richard Satterlee, vice president for student life, reminded students that if they chose to go home for Labor Day weekend, “our College community is counting on you to make smart decisions.” Additionally, Satterlee advised students not to travel to states currently on New York State’s travel advisory. If students choose to travel to one of those states, they will be subjected to quarantine upon returning to campus.

“We ask you to continue to wear a mask or face covering, ensure social distancing and above all avoid large gatherings and parties,” Satterlee wrote. “We have done so much to avoid the spread of exposure to COVID 19 in our community and we cannot afford your behavior over this weekend to diminish these efforts.”

Until the Thursday evening email, the college had yet to announce the threshold of cases that would send the school into remote learning. 

“Having 100 cases or 5%, whichever is lower, will result in a college having to go to fully remote for two weeks,” wrote Jaspers Return leadership in the email. “During that time, cases will be evaluated and a course of action will be determined. Manhattan College had already determined that it would implement a 5% threshold, however, 100 students will be its threshold because that is the lower number.”

While the college plans to test three to five percent of all members of the school community each week, including students, faculty and staff, the email stated it will be following the threshold of 100 student cases for a shift to remote learning, rather than 100 total cases.  

  The email also stated that local and state health officials have the right to suspend campus activities even with a lower positive caseload if they feel the college is struggling to control an outbreak.

All students, faculty and staff are still required to fill out the daily symptom tracker and receive a green pass before coming to campus or leaving their dorm rooms each day.