To the Campus Community,
As a routine part of our #FortifyFranklin plan and consistent with NCAA guidelines, weekly surveillance testing of student-athletes began last week with the initiation of practice activities. Last week’s testing of 46 student-athletes revealed 1 positive COVID case. Appropriate isolation, quarantine, and contact tracing protocols were followed as a result.
This week’s test results received last evening revealed 15 positive COVID results out of 73 student-athletes tested. The positive cases were not clustered within a single team, and most infected students are asymptomatic. Again, appropriate isolation and quarantine protocols were immediately followed. Contact tracing by the health department is also underway per protocol.
This higher rate of positivity is concerning and unusual, especially compared with the sample of a week prior. At the direction of our health care advisers, we are asking each of the students who tested positive to be retested while isolating at home so we have data confirming the validity of the original tests. That data will be informational only and will not alter our isolation protocol. That request is being made only because the rate of positivity is dramatically at odds with the previous week’s sample, with the local rates of infection, and with typical samples of largely asymptomatic persons in this age group. We are communicating today with our partner physicians for their recommendations on other appropriate next steps and will keep the campus community informed moving forward as needed.
We are making you aware as a reminder of the importance to continue adhering to all the mitigation protocols of the #FortifyFranklin plan. We must not become complacent or too comfortable with any periodic reprieve from this illness. We must remember that our goal is to limit the possibility of exposure and appropriately manage the positive cases that will inevitably arise. Please be reminded that wearing a mask and maintaining six feet of physical distance is the recommended protocol to mitigate risk of infection if exposed to a positive case. As long as you’re following these protocols, your classrooms, in particular, will be among the lowest risk shared spaces you encounter.
Thank you to everyone for your continued diligence in keeping yourself and one another safe and healthy.
Dr. Andrew B. Jones
Vice President for Student Development & Dean of Students