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Trinity College extends remote instruction through end of week, reports 45 recent COVID cases

HARTFORD — Trinity College students and professors will stick with remote learning through the end of the week, after a spike in new coronavirus infections brought the school’s caseload to 45.

As of Monday, the small liberal-arts school of about 2,100 undergraduate students was still reporting the 45 active cases, all discovered within the last week.

Trinity officials said the move to stick to remote instruction through Friday, Oct. 16 is intended to “reduce circulation” and get the college “back on track and continue the semester as we’d all anticipated,” in a message to students Saturday.

The 45 cases are mostly affecting “clusters of students who live in off-campus housing and don’t appear to be diffusely spread across campus,” the message said.

Most of those students are in isolation or soon would be, Saturday’s message said.

Around 10 students elected to return home after becoming infected, the school said.

Health experts have advised against that as cases have emerged at colleges and universities around the country, since it can lead returning students to bring the virus back with them to their home communities.

Trinity raised its COVID-19 alert status to orange last week in response to the new cases, forcing students to go to remote-learning only through Monday before extending remote instruction on Saturday.

The heightened alert level comes with additional restrictions.

Students are banned from leaving campus for non-essential reasons. Gatherings of any size are prohibited. Students living off-campus are not allowed to visit dorms and vice-versa.

The school has also closed two athletic facilities except for COVID-19 testing, and the library is open by-appointment-only.

The University of New Haven, in West Haven, has also suspended classes through the end of the week and raised its alert level to orange after its caseload spiked to 97 active COVID-19 infections over the weekend.

Fairfield University has also raised its alert level to orange and has directed off-campus students to quarantine in their homes after 61 new cases emerged there last week.

It’s unclear whether the school recorded new cases over the weekend, because the university’s dashboard is updated on Tuesdays and Fridays each week, rather than daily.

Sacred Heart University, also in Fairfield, reported no new cases on Sunday. The university’s number of active COVID-19 infections has fallen to 107— 72 off-campus, 34 on-campus, and one case among employees.

Around the rest of the state:

Quinnipiac University in Hamden reported 16 new cases in the past week as of Monday, bringing the school’s cumulative total to 21 cases this semester.

Western Connecticut State University, which has campuses in Danbury and Waterbury, reported one new case – a commuter – last week, bringing the semester total to seven cases.

Southern Connecticut State University, in New Haven, reported seven new cases last week. Six of the new cases were among commuter students, one was a university employee.

The University of Saint Joseph in West Hartford reported one new case, a commuter student, between Oct. 3 and Friday, Oct. 9.

Central Connecticut State

Stevenson parents, students blast remote learning, call for hybrid model

Maria Newhouse moved to Long Grove so her daughter could attend Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire because of its reputation for academic excellence.

But attending classes in a pandemic through Zoom video conferencing isn’t the ideal learning environment Newhouse, and other parents, had envisioned.

        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        

 

“Remote learning is not an education,” Newhouse said. “Zoom (is) for conference calls. You don’t educate children via Zoom.”

Newhouse was among a group of Stevenson High School parents and students who rallied Monday outside the school demanding the district resume in-person classes. They sought to put pressure on the school board, which meets Monday, Oct. 19.

Stevenson High School District 125, which has about 4,300 students and more than 700 faculty members, was among the first suburban districts to switch to only remote learning at the beginning of the fall semester.

At the time, Superintendent Eric Twadell said it was more palatable than the alternative of mandatory, 14-day quarantines for students or employees who contract the coronavirus in school, as well as for people who come in prolonged contact with them.


        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        

 

Parents called for a hybrid model in which families that don’t want their students to attend in-person can continue remotely, while other students have the option of learning in a classroom, each with their own dedicated teachers.

In a statement released Monday, district officials said if and when the school transitions to hybrid learning, “the quality of the teaching and learning experience that we can provide all students will drop significantly.”

Another factor giving officials pause is the severity of COVID-19 transmission in Lake County — one of 26 Illinois counties state health officials placed at a warning level for an increased risk of contracting the virus on Friday.

The county averaged 90 new cases of the virus for every 100,000 residents over the past week, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health. The state target is an average 50 new cases or fewer, which Lake County has exceeded since the beginning of July.

        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        

 

Stevenson will be testing a new “Patriot Pods” program designed for students who would like to come together and study in small groups on campus.

“Over the next two weeks, we will be bringing students back to campus for specific and purposeful lab-based teaching and learning experiences that are better suited for in-person instruction, including courses in science and fine arts,” the statement read.

Newhouse said the pods idea is an effort to placate parents. She questioned why a wealthy district like Stevenson can’t manage in-person learning when its feeder elementary districts have switched to hybrid models.

“Stevenson is supposed to be a leader and hasn’t quite figured out in-person yet,” she said. “It’s a building with over 1 million square feet of space. There are so many schools that have managed to come up with an option that worked for those parents and

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