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COVID-19 Updates

Dear all,

I am writing to follow up on the six new positive results of tests of students for COVID-19 that we received last week. Because contact tracing determined that the majority of these students had no apparent connection, and because we had had zero positive cases on campus for two weeks, we immediately investigated the positive test results. Before I detail that process, I need to let you know that those initial positive tests have been determined by the reporting lab to have been accurate, and those students—as well as their close contacts—must remain in isolation and self-quarantine, per New York state guidelines.

After the positive test results were received, a thorough investigation was launched by the local and state health departments in collaboration with Bioreference Laboratories and Westchester Medical Center Valhalla lab. Specific details that were researched included: whether these tests were all run in the same batch (they were not), if there was a common test administrator (there was not), and if these samples were collected around the same time (they were not). The determination of the investigators was that these positive tests were valid and not compromised.

That said, I also wanted to let you know that we have had several hundred tests run as part of our routine testing since those positives, and all of those have come back negative. While we cannot explain the origin of the six positives, this at least indicates that we seem to have contained the spread through our isolation and self-quarantine process, our thorough contact tracing program and the Vassar community’s adherence to COVID-19 prevention measures.

Thank you for continuing to follow the protocols that are keeping us all healthy and safe.

Elizabeth H. Bradley, President
VASSAR COLLEGE
Poughkeepsie, NY 12604
@EHBVassar