News, Top Story, Coronavirus Updates

BC Records Largest Number of Undergrads in Isolation

Boston College reported that 91 undergraduate students were in isolation as of Thursday, the largest number recorded this school year, according to the University’s COVID-19 dashboard, with 58 in isolation housing and 33 recovering at home. 

Today’s update surpasses the previous high of 88 undergraduate students in isolation, a record set last Friday.

Forty-eight undergraduate students have tested positive for COVID-19 this week out of 7,039 tests, a positivity rate of .68 percent. 

By the end of the second full week of last semester, BC had reported 108 undergraduate cases of COVID-19 out of 15,273 tests, a positivity rate of .71 percent. Nearing the end of the second full week of the spring semester, 171 undergraduate students have tested positive out of 31,700 tests, a positivity rate of .54 percent, as of Thursday.

Executive Vice President and Interim Vice President for Student Affairs Michael Lochhead attributed the recent rise in cases at BC to “students letting their guard down” in an email sent on Tuesday. If the trend continues, BC may implement further restrictions, including further limiting the guest policy, requiring all students to quarantine in their rooms and potentially ending the on-campus semester early, the email said. 

In response to the rise in numbers of students in quarantine and isolation, the University is requiring all students to attend mandatory meetings on Zoom. 

“The number of close contacts has risen significantly,” Mogan said at one of the webinars. “We are reaching a crisis stage so although the positive numbers are manageable, it’s the quarantine numbers we are particularly concerned about at this time.”

Many students who have tested positive this spring have been listing a larger number of close contacts in comparison to the fall semester, according to Mogan.

“This is concerning from the ability of our facilities and resources to care for all these students in quarantine,” Mogan said.

At a webinar, Associate Vice President for Student Health and Wellness and Deputy Title IX Coordinator for Students Melinda Stoops asked students to be honest and comply with contact tracing protocols.

“If you’re worried about your friends being placed in quarantine, think about if you don’t give their names, and then they have contact with more people,” Stoops said. “Then it’s going to, in the end, link to more people being quarantined and being isolated and testing positive.”

BC is also conducting rapid COVID-19 testing this semester in University Health Services (UHS) for students who suspect they may have contracted the virus, Stoops said. After being tested in UHS, students are to remain in the Vanderslice Hall Cabaret Room until they receive their results, which takes about an hour, Stoops said.

Administrators reminded students at the webinars that penalties for violating the University’s COVID-19 policies may include suspension from the University and loss of University housing.

“We don’t want to do these things but it only takes a handful of people that can really create drastic ripple effects across the campus,” said Associate Director of Student Conduct Peter Kwiatek. “We ask you to talk to one another and be the person that says you shouldn’t participate in something because what they do has an impact on your time in college as well as other people within your community.”

Featured Image by Ikram Ali / Heights Editor 

February 11, 2021