As of Saturday, Feb. 13, at least one Spring residential student at Swarthmore has tested positive for COVID-19. All students on campus are tested three times within the first two weeks of arriving on campus, and the second round of testing following move-in began on Friday, Feb. 12.
Swarthmore uses BinaxNOW rapid testing kits from Abbott Laboratories, which provide results in fifteen minutes or fewer. According to the Minnesota Department of Health, “BinaxNOW™ had a sensitivity of 84%, which means for every 100 infected individuals tested, 16 would be [a] false negative, and a specificity of 99%, which means for every 100 infected individuals tested, one would be a false positive.”
The Phoenix has confirmed that a student residing in the NPPR apartments, “Leslie,” tested positive Friday afternoon and relocated to isolation housing in Mary Lyon Hall. Leslie’s suitemates all tested negative and relocated to quarantine housing in the Inn at Swarthmore.
This is the second semester in which Swarthmore has used the Inn and Mary Lyons for quarantine housing. In the Fall the college required students who had been in close contact with anyone who tested positive in the last 48 hours to move into quarantine housing, while the student that tested positive moved to Mary Lyon. It is unclear if contact tracing was done for Leslie.
One of Leslie’s suitemates told The Phoenix that after Leslie tested positive, they informed all of their suitemates about the result through private correspondence. All of the suitemates began preparing overnight bags for quarantine housing. Approximately 50 minutes later, Worth Health Center employees called all of the suitemates, asked them if they had experienced any symptoms, and suggested that they begin preparing overnight bags. Within two and a half hours of the positive test result, all of Leslie’s suitemates tested negative and moved directly into quarantine housing in the Inn at Swarthmore, where they expect to stay for two weeks.
Leslie’s suitemate said that students in quarantine housing are supposed to stay in their rooms and that the Inn brings meals from a limited menu up to their rooms. There is also a common area with snacks for the quarantined students. The Phoenix has not been able to confirm whether or not students other than Leslie and their roommates have moved into quarantine or isolation housing.