Overall this semester, Fairfield has seen both drastic spikes and drops in the number of COVID-19 cases on campus and at the beach, ranging from just a 0.5 percent infection rate, all the way up to eight percent among specific populations. We’ve been in Code Orange two separate times over the course of a few weeks and beach residents are currently in their second stint of isolation. This semester, Fairfield has had 584 cases of the virus among students and staff. This is significantly more cases than other schools throughout the state had, including Yale, which only had 223 cases throughout the semester and UConn, which had 327 student cases, both residential and commuter, over the course of three months.
Despite the complex situation, Fairfield has remained relatively transparent about COVID-19 cases both on and off campus, with a comprehensive dashboard updated every few days. The dashboard was changed significantly in late October, to reflect even more information such as how many beds remained in isolation and quarantine housing, how many students on campus currently had the virus and how many had returned from quarantine after testing negative. Although some students have continued to call for increased transparency of COVID-19 statistics from the University, Fairfield has provided significantly more information than some of its counterparts, including Sacred Heart University, whose COVID-19 dashboard only reflects results from the past week in percentages, not actually giving any hard numbers for students to reference.
Fairfield is currently in its second COVID-19 spike of the semester, returning to Code Orange for the first time in weeks. This likely is the result of large Halloween gatherings and parties that occurred on the weekend of Oct. 31.
However, despite the second spike in cases and the subsequent beach isolation period with new mitigation strategies, some students are pleasantly surprised that the University managed to remain open through the entire semester, especially when schools across the country were forced to close within just a few weeks of reopening.
“I’m shocked we made it this far,” said Tracy Ferguson ‘22.
Despite the second wave of cases that took over campus these past few weeks, Fairfield did its best to ensure the safety of its students, from continuous randomized testing to new guest and dining policies. As a whole, Fairfield has remained safe and sound, even with the looming threat of the virus, and it will hopefully further improve its strategies in the Spring 2021 semester.