The Spread Is Slowing, but We Must Remain Vigilant

Publication Date

Dear Students,

As we complete the first week of our campus quarantine, I want to share a few updates and observations:

  • Dean Fran’Cee just called with results from Friday’s COVID-19 testing. For the first time this term, there were no student positives! There were also no faculty or staff positives! Great job by everyone to limit interactions and slow the spread. Note that the dashboard will update tomorrow afternoon.

  • Nearly two-thirds of the students who tested positive this week were already in quarantine. Had these individuals not been quarantined, it is likely that we would have experienced much more spread this week. This is another reminder of how critical it is that individuals fully report their close contacts as soon as they learn they have tested positive for COVID-19. Please consider downloading COVID Alert NY now to help with contact tracing.

  • The seven-day positivity rate in Schenectady County has fallen to 6% ( It was 9% a week ago.

  • Despite this good news, we must remain vigilantmasks, distancing, hand washing. We must not confuse trends with levels. There were 28 student positives this week. That is more than week 1 and more than all of fall term. The seven-day positivity rate in Schenectady County is about six times higher than it was during most of fall term. There continues to be an elevated risk of contracting COVID-19 on campus and in the local community.

  • Given the trends and levels this week, we are modifying the campus quarantine. On-campus students will once again have access to all residence halls. Please remember that each resident can have only one guest in their room. Assuming we continue to see encouraging COVID-19 trends on campus, we look forward to ending the campus quarantine by January 31.

I know that this has been a stressful and difficult start to the term for all of us. Thank you for doing your part to keep our community safe and open, and helping others do the same.

Finding joy during the campus quarantine
Last, and because we all need it, here are some of the many ways to find joy on campus this week, in addition to all that occurs in and out of the classroom on a typical day:

  • “This or That: Influential Rappers” - sponsored by Student Forum and Speakers Forum, January 25 at 7 p.m.
  • “Scavenger Hunt” - sponsored by Green House, watch your email
  • “Life Beyond Borders” - presentation about refugee experiences and crises by Ren Garcia ’20, January 26 at 1:15 p.m.
  • Take a run or walk around the track (dress warm). Outdoor athletic facilities are open, but social distancing and masks are required.
  • See for dozens of ways to stay fit, expand your mind, learn a new skill, and find joy

As always, please see for the latest information, and email if you have questions or comments.

Take care, David

David Harris
Union College