Jaspers Return Update: New Testing Policy Established

by, Kyla Guilfoil, Asst. News Editor

Jaspers Return addressed the Manhattan College community via email on Feb. 18, reporting a total of 1820 completed COVID-19 tests on campus in the last 14 days, with 19 positive tests and 371 pending test results. As for off-campus testing, MC Health Services received 402 tests, with 12 positive test results regarding on-campus personnel.

The email reads, “Positive COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continue to decline nationwide and in New York City. But they are declining from a very high ceiling. There are also new variants spreading within the country that are found to be more transmissible.”

Jaspers Return writes in the email that there is hope through the increasing number of vaccinated individuals, but that daily precautions such as mask-wearing and hand-washing are essential for keeping the community safe and healthy.

In New York City, the seven-day positive test rate was reported as 4.4% on Wednesday, Feb. 17, according to the email. In contrast, the positive test rate for Manhattan College over the last two weeks is cited as 1.7%.

In addition to updates on COVID-19 cases, Jaspers Return shares a new testing policy for the college. Initially, the college required all students, faculty and staff that were on-campus to abide by random surveillance testing throughout the semester. In this new email, Jaspers Return establishes a new policy that requires students to be tested every 14 days, and all employees to be tested every 21 days.

The only exception to this new policy for on-campus personnel is if in the previous 90 days you have tested positive for COVID-19. The college will be communicating testing timelines with the community via email.

“Each individual will receive an email with advanced notice when it is your turn to be tested,” the email said. “You might receive a notification a day or two after submitting a test. Please follow the instructions in the email notification and submit a test before your next due date.”

The email also sheds light onto orange passes that may be granted through the MC glance app. According to the email, if you receive an orange pass, you must be tested for COVID-19 and receive negative results to clear it and receive a green pass.

If you have an orange pass and are awaiting results from a COVID test, you are only able to leave your room in order to pick up to-go meals from Locke’s Loft. Until you have a green pass, it is not permitted for students to attend class in person, use the library or the fitness center.

Off-campus students with an orange pass must receive a COVID test from an off-campus location and submit the negative test result to the results portal for Health Services to receive a green pass. The off campus test must also be within seven days of the orange pass assignment date.

Via the same email, Jaspers Return also addressed the reopening of indoor dining at Locke’s Loft beginning on Monday, Feb. 22. Indoor dining will accommodate 25% capacity, and to-go options will still be available.

The email also announced a Student Town Hall meeting for Tuesday, Feb 23 at 2pm. There will be a Google Meet Invitation sent to all students via email in the coming days.

Jaspers Return added that the MC ITS team is in the process of creating a portal for students, faculty and staff who have received the COVID vaccine.

“This will be used to assist with new CDC quarantine guidance,” the email stated. “Please hold onto your vaccination card until this portal is ready. At this time, vaccination does not exempt anyone from any of the College’s current safety protocols.”

Manhattan College continues to call for students to become a Campus Ambassador to assist in keeping the MC community safe throughout the pandemic. Ambassadors are expected to encourage students to wear a mask around campus and follow COVID-19 guidelines.

For any further information on COVID-19 updates and information at Manhattan College, visit manhattan.edu or email jaspersreturn@manhattan.edu.