Cohort 2 ended their mandatory quarantine at 7:00 a.m. on Tuesday, October 20, five days before the original two-week quarantine was scheduled to end. Cohort One students completed their full two-week quarantine on Sunday, September 27. According to an email from Medical Director Dr. Amy Patel and Head of School Dr. Raynard Kington, the decision reflects the small percentage of positive Covid-19 cases and confidence in school protocols such as twice-weekly testing.
“Cohort 1 quarantined for approximately 2 weeks as we tested and gained confidence in our systems and protocols, and as we practiced our new habits together. Having only 0.02% of our almost 10,000 Covid-19 tests performed to date return positive is quantitative evidence that our systems and protocols are working,” Patel and Kington wrote in the email.
They continued, “We added a second weekly Covid-19 test for students starting last week to align with epidemiological modeling that suggests twice weekly testing will help to prevent an outbreak on campus. Cohort 2 (students who registered October 10 and 11) have now had 3 negative Covid-19 tests each since arriving on campus.”
The state of Massachusetts requires a two-week quarantine or a negative Covid-19 test for all those traveling to the state from high-risk areas. Patel and Kington stressed in their email that Andover’s protocol continues to follow all government requirements and recommendations.
“This update is in line or exceeds current evidence-based practice and state mandates, and our planning has always assumed some flexibility,” wrote Patel and Kington.
Olivia McManus ’23, a Cohort 2 boarder, is comforted knowing that the administration is continuing to take precautions to promote the safety of the Andover community. Though McManus is excited for the end of quarantine, she is grateful for the support system that helped her through the period.
“It’s exciting to know we are done with our arrival quarantine. I’m glad it’s over, but it wasn’t all that bad thanks to my proctors and house counselors who welcomed us and made sure we got to spend time outside every day. I can’t wait to get outside [on Tuesday], see some of my day student friends, and meet some more new students,” said McManus.
For Silvia Ng ’23, quarantine caused both boredom and stress. Like McManus, however, she expressed gratitude for the relationships she built since arriving on campus.
“Returning to campus as a part of Cohort 2 has been a pretty interesting mixture of complete boredom and unrelenting stress. Unable to leave my room for most of the day, I found myself low-key losing sanity, since I didn’t have much work to do then. But the past two weeks have been filled with midterm work and late nights. Being stuck in the same building with the same people has definitely helped me strengthen relationships with old and new students,” said Ng.
Although he is glad that Cohort Two’s quarantine ended early, Chenault Ellis ’22, who completed the full two-week quarantine as a Cohort 1 student, wishes his quarantine could have also ended earlier.
“I’m happy that I get to hang out with my Cohort 2 friends. Also, I kind of wish I didn’t have to stay inside for days at a time. But overall, I’m happy,” said Ellis.
According to Patel and Kington, the end of quarantine does not signal the end of protocols on masking outside of dorm pods and social distancing.
“Adherence to all elements of the Non Sibi Safety Pledge is still expected. Universal masking and physical distancing (6+ feet) are required,” wrote Patel and Kington.