UMass Amherst is the latest Massachusetts college to face a coronavirus outbreak after 13 students tested positive for the virus in the last week.
Campus officials found the cluster through the university’s asymptomatic testing program out of the Mullins Center.
“All the students are known to have socialized together, and a number of them attended a party together,” Brandi Hephner LaBanc, vice chancellor for Student Affairs and Campus Life, wrote to students.
More positive cases could be reported in the coming days as the university continues its contact tracing of the cluster, LaBanc said.
“I want to thank the students living on campus and in the local area for their efforts in adhering to the public health guidance issued by the state, the town, and the university,” she wrote. “It is through that cooperation with testing protocols, our asymptomatic testing program, and contact tracers that we were able to identify this cluster and take measures to reduce the spread of the virus in our community. Please keep up these proactive and responsible efforts!”
With a look toward the spring and the university’s goal of repopulating the campus with in-person operations, LaBanc stressed that students should avoid parties and gatherings, wear masks, and get tested.
“If the numbers continue to rise at the pace they did this week, our return to more normal operations may be further delayed,” she wrote.
“This cluster of positive test results reminds us that, despite the low numbers we have seen on campus and in the community in recent weeks, we cannot allow ourselves to be comforted into complacency,” LaBanc later added. “The decisions we make now — the choice to skip the party, to wear a mask — will allow us to come together sooner in the future.”