Claremont McKenna Admits To Seven Total COVID-19 Cases, Strengthens Dining Hall Regulations

In an ​​email to the student body sent earlier today, Claremont McKenna College (CMC) admitted to having had a total of seven positive cases of COVID-19 on-campus during August, some of which occurred in fully vaccinated individuals. The college has urged students not to linger inside dining spaces to socialize or “connect with multiple groups of people.”

In its email, CMC informed students that “[t]he College has had a total of seven positive cases on campus in the month of August, including in some fully vaccinated individuals. These include three employees and four students. Two of the student cases appear to be related—or epidemiologically linked—whereas the other cases do not appear to be related. In each instance we have closely adhered to our clinical protocols for quarantine and isolation housing for students, completed contact tracing, and performed enhanced cleaning to disinfect any impacted areas.”

The news comes shortly after confirmation of a case of COVID-19 among CMC’s First Year Guides.

The email confirmed that CMC will “continue to observe anecdotal evidence in support of public health experts’ overwhelming consensus that vaccines are effective at limiting the spread of COVID-19 and dramatically reducing the risk of severe illness, hospitalization, or death. Consistent with the available national data, the vaccinated members of our community experienced flu-like or mild symptoms or none at all. This underscores the importance of vaccines to our collective health and safety as well as the need to continue to adhere to basic prevention practices (e.g. wearing face coverings indoors, hand hygiene), since we know that infections within some subset of vaccinated individuals can and will occur.”

The college underscored the point that “[v]accinations remain our most important prevention measure. If you have not already uploaded your complete vaccination information to Qualtrics, or if you may have reported incomplete data (e.g. only the first shot of a two-dose vaccine), please take care to ensure your record is accurate. If you remain unvaccinated, we urge you to get your vaccination as soon as possible, to protect yourself and our campus community.”

CMC also added that, in addition to complying with its extensive list of safety regulations, students should exercise caution in dining areas. “[W]hen dining inside at Collins, for example, do not utilize it as a social space to mingle or connect with multiple groups of people. Please respect the distancing between tables, and refrain from moving tables and chairs into large groupings. Take advantage of the outdoor dining areas we have designated for this purpose. Please try to minimize the time you spend in dense indoor locations unmasked, such as when dining. When classes begin, GrubHub will be deployed for all dining locations, which will allow you to order ahead. Those meals will be available for pick-up at the ‘to go’ door on the north side of Collins, if you prefer to dine outside or in your room or office. @Theo’s, our new food truck, will be a fun outdoor dining option. Please adhere to our numerous safety procedures such as social distancing when possible, increasing hand sanitization, and wearing your facial coverings as required in all indoor spaces.”

CMC also urged anyone experiencing even mild symptoms to “remain at home or in their campus housing until they are assessed by a medical professional (HHB or their primary care physician) for evaluation…Staff should inform their supervisor and Human Resources that they will not be coming to campus.”

Along with other members of the Claremont Consortium, CMC is “expecting students to arrive at CMC with proof of a negative PCR test within 72 hours of arrival.  We have begun surveillance testing of all early arriving students, and will continue to do so. Starting August 30, all students will also be tested weekly on a fixed schedule.”

According to CMC, “[f]aculty and staff can schedule a surveillance appointment in Qualtrics. The Children’s School’s front office building is now the central location where all testing is performed; the front doors are for symptomatic appointments, while the entry through the side gate leads asymptomatic faculty and staff to the side door for regular surveillance testing.” Previously, CMC stated that it would reopen the Children’s School “in the fall of 2021 if the public health situation improves by then.”

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