As of 5:43 pm on Oct. 6, Claver Hall is in quarantine for a 14-day period due to a disproportionate number of COVID-19 cases spiking in the residence hall.
Claver residents have been heavily monitored and contact-traced over the past few weeks, leading to Fairfield forcing the building to go completely remote for all classes. All interactions between students outside of one’s suite are prohibited due to the new “Stay-in-your-Suite Directive.” Students will only be permitted to leave their suite for weekly mandatory COVID testing and to pick up grab-and-go lunch and dinner from the Conference Center during limited hours.
Students in Claver also have the option of quarantining at home for the 14-day period but must provide a negative test result upon their return to campus on Oct. 29 or 30. The building will be under 24/7 security monitoring for non-compliance, which will be “addressed by the student conduct processes,” according to an email sent to Claver residents on Oct. 6. Students will be required to swipe in and out of the building when leaving and returning for meals.
Stags Laundry services will also be coordinated over the 14-day quarantine period to further prevent infection and exposure to the virus.
Any Claver resident that has tested positive and has been cleared of COVID-19 within the past 90 days will be exempt from these rules.
Madison Gallo ‘23 is frustrated with Claver for the new quarantine rule, especially after quarantining herself.
“I actually just got out of quarantine a few days ago so to go back into something similar is kind of awful,” she said. “It‘s especially frustrating because I was following the rules as were my roommates. About 20% of my building has tested positive, so it’s scary that we only just found that number out. Before I left for quarantine my floor felt like a ghost town because almost everyone was gone it felt like.”
Dean Will Johnson is confident that this strategy will work for Fairfield. “This mitigation strategy has proven to be effective in similar situations at other colleges and universities, and is the recommended course of action by the Town of Fairfield Health Department,” he said.
Niquita Dietrich, the assistant director of Residence Life, refused to comment.
Since Oct. 1, Fairfield has conducted 3,369 total COVID-19 nasal swab tests, yielding 113 positive cases, both on and off campus. Despite the seemingly large number, there were only 12 new cases this week. Currently, there are 44 total active positive cases and only 14 of these are on campus, quarantining in the Conference Center. 70 students have been cleared after their two-week quarantine and have tested negative, and are now allowed to return to campus.18 students remain under surveillance, as either their roommates or close contacts have contracted the virus.
Fairfield remains in Code Yellow as of this week out of public health concerns, although the infection rates among students are remaining relatively stable. In an email on Oct. 6 from Karen Donoghue, vice president of student life, she stated that Claver Hall has seen a “disproportionate number of positive cases” and will be placed under new restrictions in order to mitigate this positive testing rate.
This week also yielded two positive tests among faculty and staff, both of which are currently active.