Seton Hall is seeing its first coronavirus cases since the start of the new year according to an update to its coronavirus dashboard, which reported 10 new cases in the last week.
The update, which came on Wednesday evening after a week of dormancy on the page, indicated that nine students and one employee of a University-contracted vendor tested positive for the virus between Jan. 21 and Jan. 27.
Prior to Wednesday, the University’s dashboard had not been updated since Jan. 20, tracking by The Setonian shows. In total, the University has reported 14 cases since Jan. 1, half of which have come in the last three days.
The cases come just two weeks after Seton Hall began welcoming students back to South Orange on Jan. 15 under a return strategy designed to mitigate the spread of coronavirus on campus.
Under the guidelines, all resident students were required to submit a negative coronavirus test at least five days before they were slated to move in, while students traveling from outside New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, New York, and Connecticut were placed under a mandatory 10-day quarantine upon arrival.
Seton Hall did not specify whether the nine students who tested positive for the coronavirus are living on or off campus.
Classes officially began for students on Wednesday under a hybrid mixture of in-person and online classes similar to that of the fall semester. So far, the University has not indicated there is any degree of community spread on campus.
On Wednesday, University President Joseph Nyre called on students to continue practicing the Seton Hall Pledge in his spring semester welcome address, calling it “the best weapon against the spread of COVID-19” available to the school.
“I am confident all of us will actively practice the Pledge and live by its precepts,” Nyre said. “If not, we risk losing the academic year we have spent months planning, building and experiencing together.”
The University has now seen over 200 cases since the start of the pandemic in March of 2020, the bulk of which were detected during the latter half of the fall semester. Seton Hall was ultimately forced to pivot to remote learning entirely in November mere weeks before its in-person semester was originally slated to end.
In January, the University’s Health Intervention and Communication Team announced its intention to continue its surveillance testing initiative, which randomly screens 5% of the resident student population per week. Additionally, it has promised that students regardless of residence status may request a test from Health Services up to once per week as part of the program.
Nicholas Kerr can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Find him on Twitter @nickdotkerr.
Editor's Note: Jan. 29, 2021
Seton Hall has since reached out to The Setonian to dispute that the page was not updated between Jan. 20 and Jan. 27 and expressed that the page was updated by its IT team three times prior to Jan. 27 on Jan. 21, Jan. 25 and Jan. 26. The University also said that it updates the site each day with city, county and state-wide coronavirus information as well as the total number of coronavirus tests the University has conducted.