Coronavirus recap: Here’s what happened this week

By Gabrielle Cellucci
September 28, 2020

Screenshot of Cabrini's COVID-19 tracking site.
Screenshot of Cabrini's COVID-19 tracking site.

The Recap

Cabrini University reported its first case of COVID-19 on campus only a week ago on Friday, Sept. 18. Since then, COVID-19 cases have steadily risen from one to currently seven active cases. Here is a recap of everything that went down this week. 

Cabrini’s first case of COVID-19 was reported on the school’s tracking site Friday morning. The university’s tracking site displays the number of active COVID-19 cases on campus and separates the number of active cases into three categories: students, employee and total number of cases. 

Cabrini’s first active case of COVID-19 was reported not only by The Loquitur but also a local news station as well. 

Later on that same Friday morning, an email was sent out on behalf of Dr. Stephen Rupprecht, who is the dean of students and COVID-19 Task Force chair. In the first of what would soon be multiple emails concerning COVID-19 cases on campus, Rupprecht advised the Cabrini community about the first positive case on campus, while mentioning that the student who tested positive was in isolation and contact tracing was being “conducted at the county level” along with Cabrini conducting its own contact tracing as well. The email continued to read how the university’s main focus is the well-being of its students, along with links to the COVID-19 tracking website and a reminder to students to wear their masks, wash their hands and stay at least six feet apart from one another. 

The residence halls have flyers everywhere to remind students to of the rules.
Photo by Gabrielle Cellucci

By the end of the day Friday, Sept. 18, the COVID-19 tracking site was updated again to read that another student had tested positive for the virus, bringing the total of active cases to two. Another email to be sent out, this time by Dr. Donald Taylor, the president of Cabrini University, on behalf of Rupprecht. This email explained how the university took the necessary measures to isolate and quarantine the two students who had tested positive for COVID-19, along with telling the Cabrini community that these students would “have access to the appropriate medical professionals and can follow medical guidance as warranted.” The second email continued to read that the university’s first source of communication with its students is through the tracking site, which the university planned to update every day at 9 a.m. The email mentioned that most students who have tested positive had chosen to isolate themselves off campus, but seven other students, who had been in contact with them were now quarantining on campus. The email ended with a reminder that students feeling symptomatic should contact health services, an extension on guest restrictions in the residence halls, to keep checking the tracking site for updates, faculty being notified about students missing in-person classes due to having to quarantine, Cabrini not conducting its own testing but encouraging students to be tested by medical professionals, a reminder that students need to keep wearing masks and being socially distant and apologizing for the delays about extending the WiFi to be used outdoors. 

A poster by the elevators to remind students to be socially distant.
Photo by Gabrielle Cellucci

As the weekend came to an end, a total of four students had tested positive for COVID-19 as of Monday, Sept. 21. The following day, Tuesday, Sept. 22, the COVID-19 tracking site was updated once again to read that there were six active cases on campus, which were all related to students. 

A third email concerning the amount of active COVID-19 cases was sent out to members of the community to update them. The email addressed students’ concerns about the rising number of cases on campus, reassuring them that the university’s “established protocols are working well.” The email also updated the community that as of Tuesday, Sept. 22 only two students were quarantining on campus, while the rest were quarantining off campus or “or has met the time requirement for self-quarantine.” The email continued to read that the students who tested positive were all related to one athletic team at Cabrini; however, the email did not specify which athletic team it was. Though the Loquitur did previously report that members of the men’s lacrosse team were asked to self-quarantine. The second half the email served more as a reiteration of the university’s expectations and rules for students to follow such as reporting COVID-like symptoms to health services, remaining six feet apart from one another and guest restrictions in residence halls, which if broken, could possibly result in students losing their on-campus housing. The email also read that the university was now considering having COVID-19 testing available to students on campus. It also addressed that having six-foot-spaced desks in classrooms were working well, the identity of those who tested positive for the virus would not be revealed and, at the time, was not considering a shift to be completely online. 

However, the number of active cases on campus continued to rise to seven as of Thursday, Sept. 24. Though the Loquitur has been keeping track of the number of cases on campus, the editors notice a lag in the website on that same day. Though the website appeared updated to the current number of seven active cases to some of the editors, it also did not update for other editors. The COVID-19 tracking site was updated again the morning of Friday, Sept. 25, and it said that there were six active cases on campus. However, it was last updated at 2:20 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 25 and read that there were seven active COVID-19 cases on campus. 

The Loquitur reached out to ITR about the tracking site lagging. They have yet to respond back. 

One of many hand sanitizer dispensers around campus.
Photo by Gabrielle Cellucci

The latest email sent to students addressed that the seven students with COVID-19 were currently quarantining off campus; therefore, all quarantine-designated housing is currently empty. The email further explained that the university would never force students to isolate off campus and always be willing to provide housing for students needing to quarantine. According to the email, a total of 10 students needed to be quarantined, but only seven students have tested positive for COVID-19. 

As of right now, no faculty or staff member has tested positive for COVID-19. 

The Loquitur reached out to Rupprecht to answer further questions concerning the overall rise in active COVID-19 cases on campus. He has yet to respond back. 

Students’ Take on the Situation

Though not many students were surprised that there are active cases on campus. Many students believe it was bound to happen, especially with other schools in the area such as Temple University, St. Joseph’s University and other colleges and universities having reported multiple cases of students testing positive for COVID-19. 

“I feel like it could have maybe been more controlled if people were responsible with their actions,” Nicholas Kilroy, junior business management major, said. “I think that the way [Cabrini] is handling it right now with the quarantining and keeping people in specific location; I think that they’ll be able to keep the cases down for right now.” 

Though students think it was inevitable that there would be some students testing positive for the virus, many students believe that Cabrini is handling the situation well given the circumstances. 

“I’m glad how they’re keeping it under control,” Naim Taylor, sophomore communication major, said. “I heard some students moved off campus, so, I mean, it’s kind of scary at first, but, you know, you just got to adapt to it…You just got to adapt to it and keep going.” 

However, a fair amount of students believe that students should hold themselves responsible for their actions as well as be more aware of the rules that the university has put in place for students’ safety and health. 

Screenshot of flyer by Residence Life about guest rules in residence halls.

“I think it’s more of an issue with guest policy. I think that’s the biggest thing,” Alisa Takala, junior secondary education and English major, said. Takala is a resident assistant (RA) on campus. “I think [Cabrini is] trying their best…I think it would be a good idea to test their students, especially ones who have had some kind of contact with people who have tested positive.” 

Though the university plans to remain open until Thanksgiving break, a fair amount of students are unsure whether Cabrini will actually stay open that long.

“I’m hoping that they stay [open] until Thanksgiving, but as long as everyone follows the rules [then] we should be fine…I’m not really sure yet,” Kaitlyn Wagner, freshman exercise science major, said. 

Overall, students think that the university is handling the rise in COVID-19 cases well and are hoping that the school remains open until Thanksgiving break.

Gabrielle Cellucci

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