PLYMOUTH — Citing a “dramatic increase” in the number of students testing positive for COVID-19 since Sunday, Plymouth State University has switched to fully remote classes and cancelled all sports.
The changes went into effect Wednesday and will remain in place through Feb. 28, university officials announced.
According to Tuesday’s “COVID-19 Status and Summary” on the college website, 104 students and four staff members tested positive between Sunday and Tuesday, for an overall positivity rate of .91%.
On Feb. 9, only three students and one employee had tested positive in the previous two days, with an overall positivity rate of .74%.
As of Tuesday, 122 people were quarantining and 130 were in isolation, according to the university’s COVID-19 dashboard.
Cited in both a letter to students and the report was the fact that Plymouth State was nearing capacity in its on-site quarantining and isolation space, with 69 of 74 beds in use.
“To quickly address this trend and in an attempt to stop the spread” of COVID-19, the letter to students, faculty and staff said that PSU was also limiting all gatherings to “no more than six people with all appropriate public health recommendations in place, including physical distancing and face coverings.”
PSU also banned all events on campus; made on-campus dining “take-out” only; and forbade on-campus students from visiting residence halls where they don’t reside. The students were also told to “stay on their respective floors in their residence halls and go outside to socialize with anyone not living on their floor.”
All campus buildings will be closed, with the exception of residence halls, Prospect Dining Hall, and the Student Union for testing and mail pickup.
“Off-campus students are not permitted in any on-campus residence hall, building, or facility,” the letter said.
Because its quarantine and isolation space is “now nearly exhausted,” PSU said students who need to do either “will be asked to do so at home if at all possible.”
“We know this is difficult and that we are all weary of these ongoing restrictions and protocols, but we can get through this together,” the letter said. “Thank you for your vigilance, agility and commitment to keeping yourself and each other safe and healthy.”
A spokesperson for Plymouth State did not respond to a request seeking comment by Wednesday evening.