Increase in COVID-19 cases at Harvey Mudd exhausts isolation housing

Social events at Harvey Mudd should be canceled this weekend and leading into next week, officials said. (Zoe Cowan • The Student Life)

Updated Feb. 21 at 4:05 p.m.

Harvey Mudd College students who test positive for COVID-19 will now need to isolate in place due to a lack of available isolation housing, Dean of Students Marco Antonio Valenzuela said in an email Friday.

The development came just one day after Karen Angemi, the director of the president’s office, told students in an email that five students and one employee had tested positive, for a total of 14 in isolation as of Thursday. On Friday, Angemi reported nine additional cases. By Sunday, according to college data, 19 students and one staff member had tested positive throughout the week.

“Student Health Services reports that they [are] not seeing any widespread transmission but have begun investigating these cases,” Angemi said. “We are asking that all social events planned for the upcoming weekend and next week be postponed or canceled.”

Once space becomes available, students will be moved to isolation housing, Valenzuela said. 

Club events over the weekend should be outdoors with only prepackaged food offered, he added.

The college will reassess next week on whether to cancel next weekend’s social events as well, depending on the amount of new cases. Students will also be required to test twice next week rather than once. 

Angemi said facilities and maintenance were currently cleaning areas that might have been contaminated by the positive individuals. 

She told students to remain vigilant in social distancing and mask wearing, strongly encouraging masks outdoors as well. 

The college “encourage[s] students to remain on campus as much as possible,” Angemi added.

Prior to the fall semester, Harvey Mudd offered gifts worth up to $2,000 to encourage students to move to a quad in order to free up isolation space on campus. 

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