Davey Sullivan ‘22
With over 27.5 million cases so far in the United States, COVID-19 changed the way that education operations occur across the world. Even as vaccinations have begun rolling out, those at educational institutions have remained extremely vigilant. Colleges across the country have brought back students for on campus operations.
The spring 2021 semester at the College of the Holy Cross is the first semester of its kind. Inviting students back to campus this semester required the creation of sophisticated COVID-19 testing and management protocols in order to keep the campus safe—the most critical of which being the policy for tests. The new Joanne Chouinard-Luth “Jo” Recreation Center has served as a hub for testing, and testing for students is required twice weekly on non-consecutive days.
Holy Cross also implemented a campus COVID alert system, with alert levels at Red, being most strict and requiring no on campus operations, to Green, which represents operations as normal without COVID being a problem. So far into this semester, the COVID alert level was at Orange, which restricted campus operations, but it was moved to Yellow, which was slightly more lenient.
The state of Massachusetts and the city of Worcester have consistently much greater positivity rates than recorded at Holy Cross. As of Feb. 14, 2021, the P14 positivity rate for Worcester is 3.0 percent. The P7 positivity rate for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is 2.5 percent. The P7 positivity rate for Holy Cross has remained at less than 0.3 percent since the beginning of February, with it being 0.1 percent as of Feb. 14.
Holy Cross’ positivity rate is currently considerably lower than a selection of observed schools elsewhere in New England. At 0.1 percent, the P7 positivity rate is comparable to Worcester Polytechnic Institute at 0.2 percent, lower than Boston College’s P7 rate, which is 0.7 percent, and considerably lower than the positivity rate at Providence College, which is 1.9 percent.
Holy Cross, in comparison to the other schools examined in New England, has currently the lowest positivity rate. Both WPI and Holy Cross’ numbers demonstrate a success for higher education in terms of COVID mitigation in the city of Worcester.
Another aspect of Holy Cross’ COVID protocol is the dashboard, which tracks many of the metrics discussed here. You can view the dashboard here.
The Spire will continue to analyze the alert levels and the positivity rate of Holy Cross in the coming weeks.