After arriving back to campus on September 14, Cohort 1 finished their mandatory two-week quarantine this Sunday. According to testing records beginning August 23, there have been two positive, 44 indeterminate, and 4,150 negative Covid-19 tests, and currently, there are no community members in isolation. For the week of September 28, Andover is at a High Transmission Risk level, according to the Andover website. Cohort 2 was invited back to campus on Wednesday and is scheduled to arrive from October 10-11.
With quarantine lifted, students are allowed to leave their dorms unsupervised while masked and socially distant, as well as remove their masks within their dorm pods. To celebrate the end of the two-week quarantine, Andover held an ice cream social for students inside Phelps Stadium.
According to Ben Perez ’23, as long as Andover continues to administer tests consistently and the community follows guidelines, there should not be much to worry about in terms of the transmission of Covid-19 on campus. Perez, a prefect at Andover, saw the end of the quarantine period as a way to see old friends and new prefectees.
“I am really excited! I have hope for the students on campus and I am hoping to see more familiar faces in the upcoming weeks… We can now be in other peoples’ rooms who are in your dorm pod so I am just looking forward to spending more bonding time with my prefectees,” said Perez.
Miles Lincoln ’21 held a positive outlook about the end of quarantine as well. According to Lincoln, multiple facets of campus life have improved since quarantine was lifted such as the food, freedom, and a restoration of normalcy on campus.
“Being able to walk around campus, hang out, and eat with friends from other clusters whenever I want makes campus feel more normal –– something that I think we all want. I also think the food during lunch and dinner has gotten better… I’m thrilled to be able to hang out with friends who live far away on campus and hangout with dorm mates to watch basketball and football together,” said Lincoln.
For Bianca Morales ’24, the end of quarantine has made Andover feel more like home. Similarly to Lincoln, she feels that with the two-weeks over, Andover gained a sense of authenticity and new freedom for students.
“The biggest change is being able to go outside unsupervised, because before it felt kind of restricted, but now we have a lot more freedom, and even with the masks and social distancing it feels more like the ‘authentic’ Andover experience,” said Morales.
Maximilian Dabbous ’24 is excited to meet people outside of his dorm. According to Dabbous, lifted restrictions, such as masks not being required outside if students are more than six feet away from others, are privileges, instead of rights.
“I’m ready to get started on the next period with added privileges, like no mask-wearing outside. Notice how I said privilege because wearing a mask is a rule. When that rule is taken away within a pod, for example, it becomes a privilege and shouldn’t be taken advantage of,” said Dabbous.
Although the quarantine period is over and socialization is allowed, Andover is still recommended to follow government and CDC guidelines that encourage social distancing and the use of masks. Lincoln and Perez both feel that most of the protocol has been correctly followed. However, both students feel that social distancing needs to be upheld.
“People have been following protocol as best as possible, but there is still work to be done with social distancing,” said Perez.
In addition to social distancing, Lincoln voiced concerns about day student integration. According to Andover’s current plan, all day students who have tested negative for Covid-19 are allowed on campus after October 26. As of this past weekend, both Senior and Junior day students were allowed on campus as of this past weekend.
“One complaint I’ve heard is that we’ve all worked hard to create a Covid-free bubble, but the school now allows day students on campus when they can go anywhere or do anything,” said Lincoln.
Although Lincoln finds the integration of Cohort 2 to be a possible issue, he has an optimistic outlook on welcoming the rest of the students.
“I think there’s higher stakes, especially if they come into the same dorms as Cohort 1. But I’m optimistic, I think there’s a really coherent plan in place, so if everything goes like it did for cohort 1, I think we should be good,” said Lincoln.