- Erin O'Donnell
COVID-19 Surge on Campus
President Timothy Trainor announced on April 20 that the Mount started operating under a Level 2 health alert status due to the surge in COVID-19 cases on campus. This is the first time that the University has been placed under a Level 2 alert since the initial implementation of the Mount Safe Initiative. Level 2 represents a heightened health alert that requires additional campus restrictions because of the elevated numbers of cases in multiple areas around campus.
As of April 20, 47 students and seminarians along with three employees have tested positive for COVID-19. Although the 50 people who currently have COVID-19 only make up 2.19 percent of the entire Mount community, it is still the highest number of cases the university has seen thus far. In order to move from Level 1 to Level 2, the number of cases on campus needed to exceed 40. In just seven days, the Mount community has seen a 74% increase in cases.
Trainor has been urging all members of the Mount community to cooperate in getting the surge under control by following all risk-reduction measures. In his messaging, he made the community aware of the different variants of COVID-19 that are more contagious. He also reminded the community of the basics: wearing a mask, maintaining physical distancing, avoiding large gatherings, washing your hands and completing the daily health survey.
A total of 10,329 COVID-19 tests have been performed so far this semester and more than 700 tests will be administered to students on April 22. Trainor has been appealing to all students and faculty members to register for vaccination as soon as possible. Approximately 26% of Mount employees have been vaccinated and the hope is that by the beginning of the fall semester that number will be much higher.
Additionally, three large athletic teams have been temporarily shut down because of the increase in cases. Student-athletes are now doing increased COVID-19 testing to reduce the chances of spreading the virus within their teams further.
Women’s lacrosse is one of the teams that has been temporarily shut down due to the quickly-spreading virus. Multiple players on the women’s team tested positive on April 16, 18 and 19. In addition to those who tested positive, many other team members have to quarantine because of contact-tracing protocols. The team was scheduled to play its last two games of the regular season at home against Saint Francis University on April 21 and away against Long Island University on April 24.
Head Coach Lauren Skellchock was happy to announce that she is in the process of scheduling the missed games. She noted, “However, we will more than likely only play our SFU game. Due to time constraints and number of days left to make up games, we can’t fit the LIU contest in.” Although missing out on the opportunity to play is not ideal, Skellchock added, “We are guaranteed to host the NEC semis between our team and the fourth seed since we have been named the NEC regular-season champions.”
Men’s lacrosse also took a brief pause to practice and game-play since approximately 13 players on their team tested positive for COVID-19. Head Coach Thomas Gravante noted, “I think the spread has been some bad luck vs. bad social decision making. I think all our student-athletes understand the sacrifice to play outweighs the social gatherings post-games and on weekends.” Gravante is upset about the current circumstances, but described his positive outlook as, “sometimes bad luck wins in life, but how we respond as humans will help us become stronger.”