Increasing Cases and Changes to Isolation Protocols

To Our Students:

The increase in COVID-19 cases that we wrote about Wednesday continued to accelerate through the weekend, with the total ultimately reaching 187—more than triple the previous week’s number.

Those testing positive included 165 undergraduates, 10 faculty or staff members, and two graduate or professional students, putting the total positivity rate at 8.6%.

The trends reflect the higher contagiousness of the omicron BA.2 variant, which now accounts for more than three quarters of cases across the U.S. To date, however, research has not shown BA.2 to cause more severe symptoms than its predecessors.

Unfortunately, this rapid pace of case growth has filled our isolation spaces almost to capacity. To prepare for the possibility of continued increases, we adapted our isolation policy for undergraduates testing positive. 

Effective today, students who have individual bedrooms within suites will isolate in place.

Meanwhile, students who live in campus spaces with shared bedrooms will continue to be transported to isolation spaces so long as isolation spaces are available. If isolation spaces are not available, the roommate who has not tested positive will be transported to a hotel within the boundaries of our main campus (at no additional cost to the student).

As a reminder, masks are required for all students in classrooms and teaching laboratories. Those concerned about contracting COVID-19 are strongly encouraged to wear masks whenever indoors. 

Students who are immunocompromised and experience even minor symptoms are urged to test promptly and contact University Health and Counseling Services (216.368.2450 or via secure message) for guidance.

Finally, we want to express our gratitude to faculty and staff for the continued empathy and concern they have shown students who are sick—with COVID-19 or any other illness—and cannot make class or other campus obligations.

Sara Lee, MD
Executive Director of University Health and Counseling Services

Lou Stark
Vice President for Student Affairs