by, Kyla Guilfoil, Asst. News Editor
Manhattan College’s COVID-19 positive test average overtook that of New York City for the first time on Wednesday, March 10. According to the Jaspers Return email on March 11, the college’s positive test rate for the previous 14 days landed at 4.2%, while New York City’s seven-day positive test average was 3.9%.
These numbers are representative of last week, when an influx of both exposed and positive testing students were sent to Springhill Suites in Tuckahoe due to a lack of vacancy in the Horan Hall quarantine suites. For more information on the students’ evacuation to Springhill Suites, see Caroline McCarthy’s issue six article, “Jaspers Quarantined in Westchester Hotel as Horan Suites Reach Maximum Occupancy”.
On March 4 the college reported 74 active cases on-campus; that number has now reached 110 active cases according to the most recent Jaspers Return update on March 11.
As reported last week by Gabriella DePinho, the college’s general counsel and vice president for external and legal affairs, Tamara Britt, stated that the college will not transition to fully remote learning until there are approximately 130 positive on-campus cases.
A week ago, this number indicated that the college still had some flexibility before having to shut down. Now, just 20 active cases away from the threshold, administration may need to make adjustments.
The college has already implemented some new protocol in recent weeks to address the rising cases. Jasper Hall has begun the process of de-densifying, as an attempt for there to be less interaction in the shared bathrooms and communal areas of this traditional style dormitory.
Additionally, the bridges leading into Lee Hall and Horan Hall have been blocked, to ensure that any students entering the buildings are first passing through security.
Indoor dining has also been suspended from its 35% capacity opening, but outdoor seating has reappeared with the warm weather. Specifically, the large tent outside of Draddy Gymnasium, across from the bridge into Thomas Hall, has been reinstated. Outdoor dining is much lower risk than indoors and the tent features tables with seats for eight.
However, in their most recent email, Jaspers Return did not address any further changes to on-campus dining. Instead, the email does address meal delivery and improved conditions for quarantined students.
The email announced that there will be a new concierge staff member working on campus to assist students in quarantine with quick deliverance of care packages and meals. There will also be additional staff members working to further manage these floors.
“To ensure that our students are being properly attended to in quarantine, regardless of the numbers, we have added a concierge staff member to assist in coordinating meal delivery, making sure care packages are delivered quickly and assisting with any needs a student may have,” Jaspers Return wrote to the MC community. “We are also adding additional staff to make sure that coverage of students’ needs is comprehensive and efficient.”
The email adds the current amount of quarantining students has decreased in recent days, and the One Manhattan team hopes that that number will continue to drop. The email concludes by reinforcing the recent testing protocol that was established in the Jaspers Return email on Feb. 18, which states that all on-campus students must receive a PCR test every 14 days, and all employees must receive a PCR test every 21 days. The only exception to this is for positive testing students, who should abide by the 90-day waiting period before receiving another PCR test.
For any further concerns or questions, Jaspers Return asks that you contact the One Manhattan office at 718-862-6398 or firstname.lastname@example.org.