5Cs see post-spring break increase in COVID-19 cases

A small, white COVID testing tent has three students inside.
Pomona College reported 33 COVID-19 cases in just the day after students returned from spring break. (Nancy Chen • The Student Life)

This is a developing story and will be updated as case counts are reported.

As 5C students rolled back to campus following spring break, an uptick in COVID-19 cases returned with them. 

In a Tuesday message to the community, Pomona College Dean of Students Avis Hinkson reported 33 COVID-19 student cases — just one day after students returned to campus. 

As of Thursday night, the college had only reported data for the week of March 13-19. There were zero faculty or student cases over spring break out of 890 tests, according to its COVID-19 dashboard.

“Even in the face of pandemic fatigue, we urgently need to work together to promote public health in the final stretch of our academic year,” Hinkson said.

At Harvey Mudd College, President Maria Klawe told students in a Wednesday email that the college will take additional safety precautions, citing the increase in cases across the consortium. 

“While the number of positive cases at Harvey Mudd has not been unusually high, we are seeing higher numbers of students testing positive at other campuses,” Klawe said. 

Klawe said the college expected to see cases rise as faculty, students and staff returned from spring break travels, but that the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health is not treating the case surge as an outbreak. 

Student Health Services reported mild symptoms among infected students, Klawe said. 

Klawe added that students are required to test twice this week as a result of the uptick and encouraged the community to be proactive about social distancing, mask wearing and monitoring symptoms this week. 

Harvey Mudd’s dashboard showed a single student testing positive out of 350 recorded tests as of Thursday night. The college also reported one positive student case from the 145 tests conducted during the week of spring break. 

Pitzer College’s dashboard reported three positive cases among students and one among faculty and staff out of 360 tests conducted on March 21.

But the school had discovered 13 cases as of Thursday morning, senior student representative on Pitzer’s Faculty Executive Committee James Karsten PZ ’22 said. Seven cases were on-campus students, three were off-campus students and three were students at home, he added.    

Claremont McKenna College had four cases reported on its dashboard, three faculty/staff members and one student out of 327 tests conducted during the week of March 14-20. 

Scripps College reported three student cases for the week ending March 18.

Editor’s note: Karsten is a TSL production editor.

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