St. Michael’s administration blames Halloween parties for outbreak

Published: Nov. 7, 2021 at 7:29 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 7, 2021 at 11:14 PM EST
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COLCHESTER, Vt. (WCAX) - St. Michael’s College administrators reported another 14 COVID-19 cases among students Sunday, in addition to the 55 reported Friday. This week’s cases account for about 90% of the semester total, now at 79.

President Lorraine Sterritt says sick students are quarantining on campus or traveled home to isolate, some out of state.

She says Halloween parties, where students were unmasked and in close contact, are to blame for the outbreak.

In a letter to students, Sterritt wrote: “The situation we are in was not inevitable... We are managing this situation, and we will get back to where we need to be, but we need to be clear about what caused this disruption to all of our lives. It was the disregard for our health and safety guidelines and College policies on the part of some members of our community.”

She says the administration is ”deeply saddened” and is calling on students to act responsibly. She notes students who fail to follow COVID guidelines “will be met with severe sanctions.”

No students are being hospitalized at this time.

In-person classes will resume Monday, but faculty have the option to offer some or all classes virtually through Thanksgiving.

The school is also setting up a new testing center on campus where any asymptomatic students, faculty and staff can take a COVID test. The times and location have not yet been determined.

In-person student social gatherings through Thanksgiving are suspended, and guests are no longer permitted on college grounds. Students are asked to limit travel off campus unless for work or academic purposes.

The college is requiring all students to get tested after the Thanksgiving holiday.

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