The Collegian
Wednesday, April 14, 2021

374

Total cumulative cases

24,507

Total COVID-19 tests

1.5%

Total positivity

7

Current cases

0.5%

Current monthly positivity rate

Students left campus early, COVID-19

<p>Boatwright tower on an early October afternoon.</p>

Boatwright tower on an early October afternoon.

Some students left campus a week early this semester, concerned about being exposed to COVID-19 after a spike of positive COVID-19 cases on campus in the last weeks of in-person classes. 

The increase in positive cases on campus corresponded with nationwide case surges. On-campus numbers reached a peak of 31 active cases on the UR COVID-19 Dashboard. Because of the uptick in cases, UR returned to the Red Stage of its COVID-19 distancing framework from Nov. 13 to 22, according to a Nov. 13 email sent to students from Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer David Hale and Executive Vice President and Provost Jeffrey Legro.

First-year Ellie Estes left campus on Nov. 15 after noticing an increase in positive cases the past few weeks, including among students living on her hallway in Moore Hall, she said. She and her parents decided a week before her Nov. 15 departure that Estes would leave earlier than previously planned, as they worried she might spreading the COVID-19 virus to her grandparents, who Estes' parents take care of, Estes said.

Estes knew leaving early was the right decision as she noticed classes going remote, she said.

“It made me feel better because I know that I wasn't just making a random decision,” Estes said. “I know that it was actually a threat, considering teachers and other students are worried.”

Sophomore Laura Roldan flew home on Nov. 14, which was a week earlier than she had planned, she said. After hearing from a friend who left campus early because of rising cases, Roldan said she had also had become worried.

Roldan quarantined in Keller Hall earlier this semester and did not want to repeat the experience again, she said. Roldan was sad to leave campus early as she had planned to spend time with her friends during the final week on campus before leaving for winter break, she said. 

First-year Hannah Wang left on Nov. 14 as well, she said. Wang was worried that she could come into contact with someone who would test COVID-positive and would need to quarantine, Wang said. A student living in her dorm thought they had caught the virus, which made her nervous and want to go home, Wang said.

“I felt like if I stayed it would just be another day of me being exposed or contact-traced and I didn’t really want either of that," Wang said.

Wang did not think she had COVID-19 when she left campus, she said. Her parents drove to pick her up and brought bags to help her pack her belongings, Wang said. Mostly people Wang knew on campus left early because of the rise in COVID-19 cases, she said. 

UR offered COVID-19 exit testing to students during the last week of in-person classes on Nov. 17, 18 and 19. As tests represent a specific point in time, even if students tested negative they could have been exposed to COVID-19 afterward, before they left for home or during travel. 

Students with positive COVID-19 test results could isolate in UR’s isolation spaces or leave campus in a private car, according to a Nov. 16 email sent to students.

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The Centers for Disease Control advised against holiday travel for Thanksgiving and also warned households welcoming home college students of the risk of infection from those students.

Contact newsletter director Eileen Pomeroy at eileen.pomeroy@richmond.edu.

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