By Anthony Garcia
A “meaningful decline” of positive Covid-19 cases was reported by President Kathryn Foster in a campus-wide email in response to the Feb. 28 outbreak and potential “shelter-in-place” plan.
“In the past 14 days, we recorded 30 positive on-campus cases and 22 off-campus cases, with generally declining positivity rates, indicators more encouraging than we have seen since early in the semester. Thank you for doing your part to keep these numbers in check,” she said.
Even though the College was considering a “shelter-in-place” due to a virus outbreak that yielded a total of 67 positive cases and 200 close contacts over a 10 day period, “promising metrics” in the last two weeks are allowing adjustments that will open up campus protocol, according to Foster.
These adjustments include expanded hours in the Brower Student Center, more study spaces available to students in the R. Barbara Gitenstein Library and the ability for students to have one masked resident from their building or townhouse in their room as of March 15.
“A concerning rise in positive cases or behavioral violations will require us to reverse these adjustments,” Foster said.
Since the College has seen improvements in protocol since implementing testing twice a week, this will continue for residential students as it allows for a safer campus life.
After Executive Order 320 was signed by Gov. Murphy regarding indoor and outdoor gatherings, the College will look to follow up to receive guidance for protocol on campus grounds.
In the email, Foster addressed questions about Commencement for the class of 2021 and confirmed that the College is anticipating an in-person, outdoor event. More information will be given out in the next few weeks and can be found at commencement.tcnj.edu.
Foster took the chance to remind students to enjoy the weather and the upcoming days off on March 18 and March 30.
“Repeatedly over this week’s beautiful spring days I thought to myself, ‘we needed this,’” she said.
“Winter can be long and dark in the best of times, but it is particularly challenging in our physically distanced, isolating pandemic times,” Foster wrote. “I hope you had a chance to enjoy the mid-semester thaw and look with enthusiasm to the second half of this memorable semester and time.”