UPDATE: The State of the 55th Street Dorms
Two Students and One Staff Member Test Positive this Week –– The MMC COVID Response Team Comments
November 14, 2020
Reading Time: 3 minutes
An email sent out by Residence Life at 9:29 pm EST on Thursday, November 19 informed 55th Street Dormitory residents that there’s a new COVID-19 case. The student is a resident of the 21st floor; early reports of COVID-19 came from residents of the 29th floor. This brings Marymount’s total cases to six so far this fall semester.
In a Friday, November 13 afternoon email from Residence Life sent in follow up to several emails from the past two days from Residence Life and Public Information Officer Graham Ciraulo, a student who tested positive on Thursday after another student tested positive on Wednesday, both residents of the 29th floor, is now isolating on the 28th floor “[p]er our quarantine and isolation protocols,” the email states. In addition, the email continues that “all close contacts have entered quarantine and are monitoring for symptoms. Fortunately, all of these individuals have reported no symptoms.” Deep cleaning and sanitation of “high-touch areas on the first floor, the common areas in [the student’s] suite, and bedroom” have been disinfected.
According to an email sent to students Safety at MMC Friday afternoon, any student or faculty member “determined to have been potentially exposed to COVID-19 will be directly contacted by our contact tracing team.” The contact tracing team at MMC is composed of staff trained in contact-tracing via Johns Hopkins University. Friday afternoon’s email warns that anyone who has been “potentially exposed” is defined as: “within six feet of distance for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more within a 24-hour period—with an individual who tests positive for COVID-19 within the MMC community and/or on campus.”
Thursday, November 12 evening at 9:50 PM, EST students received an email from Public Information Officer Graham Ciraulo stating a second positive case revealed itself at Marymount’s 55th Street dormitory. This email comes in addition to another sent Wednesday evening, also from Ciraulo, that the College was “alerted that a resident of our 55th Street Residence Hall has tested positive for COVID-19,” the November 11th email states. Additionally, a “non-resident member of the MMC community” tested positive for COVID-19 earlier in the week, according to a November 10th email from Ciraulo. The email later specifies that it is a staff member. The staff member was last at the main campus on November 4th. The November 10th email then states “[as of November 10 at 8:50 EST], we have found that there was no close contact with other members of the community.”
Both emails further state that “The student is now in isolation and our contact tracers are working to identify close contacts and potential spread,” as well as deep cleanings have been scheduled.
Marymount Manhattan has a designated team that “guides MMC’s actions in responding strategically to instances of COVID-19 at the College, which includes the residence halls.” This is according to Robin Nackman, the COVID-19 Management Chair. Nackman commented on the unfolding situation in an email to the Monitor. Nackman and the Response team says that any student of Marymount who tests positive “must contact [email protected] immediately with their positive test result.” If it is a resident student (i.e. living in any one of the three dorms affiliated with the College) who tests positive, the student “must also notify [email protected] A Marymount Manhattan staff member will contact the student to gather more information and identify next steps.”
The student who tested positive Wednesday was reported to have been on Marymount’s 71st Street main campus on October 23rd, and contact tracing was put into effect after officials learned of this. This student is isolating at home according to a November 12th email from Residence Life. The second student from the 29th floor is now in isolation in a designated isolation suite on the 28th floor. It is additionally being reported that the second student has not visited campus this semester.
Nackman states that “[i]solation space has been identified within the residence halls for isolation of resident students.” Nackman says that isolating at home is an option. “Residential students may isolate at home; they should work with Residence Life to coordinate their move. The Quarantine and Isolation 101 guide has more information for students about the College’s current policies.”
In two emails sent on November 11th and 12th, by Resident Life to 55th Street residents these cases are originating from the 29th floor of the dormitory. According to reports from 55th Street dormitory residents, these cases could be attributed to various Halloween parties that were held by students. These parties occurred well within the 14-day incubation period the COVID-19 virus has to show symptoms. This report has yet to be acknowledged and/or certified by officials at Marymount.
“Residential students should expect from the College the same amount of care and concern for their safety and well-being as when the semester began.” Students should additionally continue to wear face coverings outside of their apartments and “report any symptoms to [email protected] Residents with concerns or questions related to quarantine or isolation should contact [email protected]”
This is a developing story. We will continue to bring the Marymount Manhattan community updates as we receive them. Please check back here for updates. Also check MMC’s Restart MMC: COVID-10 Dashboard