Inside Anderson Hall: Quarantine expectations and testing protocol

Abby Main, Staff Reporter

Three more students in Anderson tested positive for COVID-19 as of Thursday, in addition to the nine positive cases detected Wednesday. 

Representatives from Whitman’s health center, Dean of Students office, Residence Life office, and the Coronavirus Task Force hosted a town hall meeting over Zoom on Wednesday night to outline expectations and next steps for the quarantine placed on all students in Anderson Residence Hall.

Peter Harvey, Chair of the Coronavirus Task Force, said that two of Anderson’s new COVID-19 cases were caught in Monday’s random surveillance saliva testing. Contact tracing resulted in the discovery of seven more positive cases within Anderson. Due to this rapid spread, Whitman made the decision to place the entire hall under a general quarantine until the task force can understand the scope of any additional COVID-19 cases.

On Thursday afternoon, nurses from the health center tested all students quarantining in Anderson with rapid-return nasal swab tests. Two students quarantined in Anderson tested positive in this round of testing, and one additional student in Anderson tested positive in Tuesday’s pooled surveillance testing. 

Any positive results will be confirmed with traditional PCR tests, and students who received positive tests on Thursday have been moved to isolation housing. All Anderson residents will be tested again on Saturday, Feb. 13 and Monday, Feb. 15. Based on results from these testing rounds, the Coronavirus Task Force will consult with an epidemiologist to determine the length and severity of Anderson’s quarantine.

For now, Anderson residents who are not isolated in other college-owned housing must quarantine in their rooms. Sections are creating shower schedules, and students may go to the bathroom. However, residents are not allowed outside until after this initial period of quarantine for the entirety of Anderson. 

Students can order meals through the Mobile Order app (where residents must include a note reading “Quarantine meal” along with their building name and room number) and picked up in Anderson’s lounge. Orders can also be emailed to Bon Appetit. Urgent or perishable packages will be delivered to the Hall, and residents can access the laundry room but must sanitize any surfaces they touch.

Students quarantining in Anderson will not receive daily wellness checks through Everbridge until the quarantine period is completed.

Director of Residence Life and Housing Nancy Tavelli noted that staff will contact Anderson students currently isolated in North Hall and the Writing Interest House so they know where to direct questions and concerns.

“I just wanted to make sure, Anderson, that all of you heard directly from me that I recognize this is a really hard new imposition on your lives,” Anderson Residential Director Katie Davie said as she closed the meeting. “Our staff will be here for you.”