Winchester Hall residents quarantined amid COVID-19 cases on university campus


Photo courtesy of COVID Dashboard

On Tuesday, students at Winchester Hall and other university members were notified via email of a mandatory 14-day quarantine because of an influx of COVID-19 cases.

Winchester residents were alerted prior to the rest of the university in an email from the COVID task force, a group of university community members charged with creating the university’s response to the coronavirus. About two hours after the email went out to Winchester residents, an email that explained the quarantine was sent to other members of the university.

The email to the entire community said there have been seven new cases within 24 hours leading up to Tuesday, with five detected in Winchester. There are also residential students in other halls and commuter students who are required to quarantine.

The email to Winchester residents said that the quarantine is “out of an abundance of caution and to mitigate the potential spread of COVID-19.”

The email to Winchester residents also said that all quarantined students are required to take a COVID test on their fifth day of quarantine. Even if they test negative for the virus, the students must quarantine for the entire two-week period, the email said.

The email said the outbreak was caused by “an unauthorized large-scale gathering that took place over the weekend that was attended by a person who has since tested COVID+.”

According to the COVID Dashboard, there have been 24 new cases in the past seven days, 24 active cases, and 12 students in isolation on campus. There are also 280 students in isolation on campus along with 69 off campus, as of this writing.

Abigail Jones, a sophomore national security major and a Winchester Hall resident, said she is concerned about missing work during this critical time before midterms.

“I love my roommates but I don’t wanna be stuck in my room for 14 days since I had work and other commitments I have to miss now,” she said.

Selena Aponte, sophomore health science major, said she is upset about the quarantine. “Many people have made sacrifices and take precautions just pt be put into a mandatory 14-day quarantine.”

“My routine is completely different now,” said Aponte, “I can’t leave my room to do my laundry I can’t see my team or practice, I can’t see my sister.”

“Both my roommates chose to do quarantine at their homes, so the only people I can even talk to are over a screen,” said Aponte.

The email to the university community ended with a reminder for students to follow the school’s COVID-19 protocols. It said, “To be clear, the actions of a few could put the remainder of the semester at risk.”

The email also said: “Ultimately, we all have a responsibility – one that we should embrace — to keep each other safe and to do our part to ensure we are able to continue to have a successful – and complete – fall semester.”

Members of the COVID task force did not respond to The Charger Bulletin’s request for comments.