WESTFIELD- Westfield State University reported five new confirmed cases of COVID-19 this week as students move off campus due to the return to remote learning.
In a letter to the campus community Wednesday, Interim Westfield State President Dr. Roy H. Saigo said that 21 students were isolating and five students were quarantining in the downtown Lansdowne Place apartments. An additional 21 students are quarantining on campus.
The relatively low number of new cases comes at what was supposed to be the end of the campus’ shelter-in-place period. Instead, most students are moving off campus after the spread of COVID-19 among students became unmanageable.
Dozens of students became infected and Lansdowne Place quickly reached capacity, limiting the school’s ability to quarantine infected and exposed students.
“Following Monday’s disappointing news pertaining to the rest of the fall semester, our community’s cooperation in fulfilling our plans to de-densify the on-campus student population at Westfield State has been appreciated,” said Dr. Saigo in his letter to the campus community. “In addition to students and families following the guidelines of the residence halls controlled move-out, faculty, staff, and students continue to pull together to continue to advance Westfield State’s academic rigor despite the switch to all remote learning for the remaining semester.”
Additional surveillance testing will be conducted for the few students who remain on campus for the duration of the semester. This will include students who have classes that are impossible to conduct remotely, like nursing students or those who have intensive lab work.
On Nov. 13, the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference announced that the 2020-2021 winter sports season would be cancelled due to the worsening pandemic. In his letter, Saigo said that Westfield State athletics would likely pursue sport training and practicing opportunities for the winter season in lieu of the normal season.
Westfield State athletes who participate in the winter practices will not use a year of eligibility for collegiate sports.
“Although I have not been sharing the brightest news with my recent messages, know that all decisions and modifications have been intended to protect the health and safety of our full community,” said Dr. Saigo to Westfield State students, “Thank you for your continued cooperation and adherence to our safety and public health protocols.”