Bixler Hall outbreak and increase in cases forces New Haven to move to yellow alert status

The University of New Haven has had a recent increase of positive COVID-19 cases and has changed its status on the COVID Dashboard from green to yellow on Mar. 2. If the alert status turns to orange, all activities and in-person classes are temporarily suspended.

Since the community is at yellow, according to the COVID Dashboard, the university is considered to be at intermediate risk. Because of this, on or off-campus travel is strongly discouraged, residential students may no longer sign in any guests and campus dining is strictly carry-out.

The COVID Task Force said via an email to the student body, “We must all continue to remain vigilant and re-commit ourselves to following the public health measures that are in place. This includes wearing face coverings, frequent hand washing, and physical distancing.”

In a statement to the Charger Bulletin, Summer McGee, dean of the School of Health and Sciences, said as of Jan. 26, there have been eight positive cases in Bixler Hall, most of which being on the third floor. McGee said most cases were roommates and all of the third floor were required to get a 24-hour rapid test.

“Dr. Jill Banatoski, medical director of Campus Health Services,” said McGee, “and myself met with all Bixler residents last Friday to inform the building of the situation. We shared our concern about the situation and gave recommendations about how to stop the spread.”

McGee said that students should remember to wear their face covering “at all times” and to wear a mask with at least three-ply fabric.
Bixler resident and fire science major Alexis Clark said, “During this meeting, [Mcgee and Banatoski] also discussed what may come of Bixler if this outbreak continues, first starting with a floor in lockdown then moving to locking down the whole building.”

bout the school’s attempts of keeping students healthy and safe, Clark said, “While they are proficient in some areas there is still lack at the overall containment considering we still manage to get these ‘outbreaks.’”

Freshman psychology student Steven Campbell believes the school is doing a good job of handling all things COVID-19 related.

“I looked at the COVID [Dashboard] stuff today, just for fun,” said Campbell, “and there are only like 40 people [with COVID-19]. It is not as bad as last semester, [where] an entire building was quarantined.”

McGee also said that there are many things students can look forward to with warming weather coming, but “We need all students to remain focused on the goal of keeping everyone safe and healthy. We all know what to do: masks and physical distancing work to prevent the spread. We have to double down on these efforts for the remainder of the semester.”

All students are still mandated to continue COVID-19 testing at least once a week. If you have any questions or concerns, please email [email protected] for further information.