Two students test positive for COVID-19 while 36 students get quarantined

Masked+student+waits+to+get+tested+at+Union%27s+on-campus+testing+center+at+Field+House.+

Stephen Nadler

Masked student waits to get tested at Union’s on-campus testing center at Field House.

Akriti Dhasmana, co-Editor-in-Chief

After seven days of no new cases, Union College COVID-19 Dashboard reported that 2 students have tested positive for coronavirus since Thursday, October 1. The COVID-19 Dashboard has also been updated to reflect that 36 students have now been placed under quarantine, as of writing this article. This is the highest number of students to have been placed in quarantine under suspicion of exposure to the virus since Union reopened for the Fall term. The two new cases bring the total number of positive cases so far at Union to 10, with nine students and one faculty/staff member having tested positive since the beginning of this school year. According to the Dashboard, there are only two cases currently “active” at Union.

College spokesperson Phil Wajda confirmed that the two students have now been placed under isolation. According to Union’s website, the college policy dictates that if a student tests positive or is required to quarantine then the student must either arrange to be picked up by a parent immediately to isolate or quarantine at home, or coordinate with Health Services to quarantine in Union’s designated space.Wajda mentioned that some of the 36 students are quarantining in Union’s designated space off-campus while others chose to go back home. 

Contact tracing was completed by the Schenectady County Department of Health (DOH) and  individuals determined by the DOH to have come in close contact with the individuals that tested positive were quickly identified, according to Wajda. Explaining the sudden jump in quarantined students, Wajda said, “Our first cases were when the majority of students were in their initial quarantine, now that classes have started and students are interacting with each other more, there are more opportunities for close contacts. As a result, the number of students in quarantine rose significantly.

According to a recent survey of more than 1,600 American colleges and universities carried out by the New York Time there have been at least 130,000 cases on college campuses since the pandemic began. Most of the cases have been announced since students returned to campus for the fall term. Another New York Times review of 203 “college town” counties where students comprise at least 10 percent of the population reported that almost half of the surveyed counties experienced their worst weeks of the pandemic as students returned in August, and about half of those were experiencing peak infections this month.

“Union’s isolation and quarantine protocols, developed in partnership with the DOH, are critical to managing the disease on campus. In addition, we want to remind all in our campus community to continue to follow our health and safety protocols,” Wajda said.