Dear Carleton Community Members,
This week, we experienced a set of COVID-19 cases within a segment of our student body and discovered that their close contacts tested positive or became symptomatic at a higher rate than we have seen on campus before. This leads us to suspect the presence of a more contagious variant of the virus. While we have not seen any transmission outside of close contacts—either in this set or in other positive cases— we write to urge you to continue to take your physical distancing responsibility seriously.
A recent set of 11 positive cases are connected in some way to residents of the fourth floor of Goodhue Hall and resulted in 15 close contacts being placed into quarantine. Out of an abundance of caution on the evening of Wednesday, April 7, all 53 residents of 4th Goodhue were told to shelter in place so they could be tested on Thursday and Friday this week. None of these additional residents tested positive for the virus, and they are no longer required to shelter in place.
There are additional positive cases on campus at this time that are not believed to be connected to 4th Goodhue but similarly suggest a more transmissible variant. In total, 20 students have been placed in isolation with positive test results or symptoms, and 30 students are quarantined as a result of their close contact with these cases. Our case investigation and contact tracing efforts continue to be thorough and efficient, and we are confident that all those impacted by these recent cases have been identified and moved to spaces where they can safely quarantine without risk of exposure to other community members.
This situation underscores the importance taking seriously the health and safety measures that have been a mainstay of the campus experience this academic year. Even as more members of our community are vaccinated against COVID-19, we all must adhere to the Carleton Community Covenant. In particular:
- wear a mask and maintain a safe distance from others,
- limit the number of people with whom you have close contact,
- participate in mandatory testing,
- wash your hands frequently and thoroughly,
- monitor yourself for symptoms of the virus,
- and stay home when you are sick.
Our aim is to be as forthright as possible while respecting the privacy of the students who are in isolation or quarantine as a result of this set of cases. If you have additional questions, please submit them through the COVID-19 website, and we will respond as quickly and completely as possible.
The COVID-19 Core Team
Carolyn H. Livingston, Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students
Eric Runestad, Vice President and Treasurer
Elise Eslinger, Vice President and Chief of Staff
Gretchen Hofmeister, Associate Dean of the College
John Bermel, Director of Security and Emergency Management
Helen Clarke, Director of Digital Strategy and Public Affairs