Emerson cancels non-academic in-person activities after twelve new positive COVID-19 tests


Zhihao Wu

Emerson’s COVID-19 testing center at the corner of Kneeland Street and Harrison Ave.

By Charlie McKenna

All non-academic in-person activities on Emerson’s Boston campus are canceled for the remainder of the semester, following a sudden rise in positive COVID-19 cases in the community, administrators announced Wednesday. In-person classes will continue as scheduled through next week before Thanksgiving break. 

Four on-campus students, four off-campus students, one vendor, and one faculty member received positive test results overnight, an email from Assistant Vice President for Campus Life and “COVID Lead” Erik Muurisepp announced. 

In total, the college has reported 12 new positive tests over the last two days, more than double the highest weekly total of five positives the college had reported to date. That accounts for 27 percent of the total 44 positive tests since testing began in August. 

The college fitness center will also shutter for the remainder of the semester, and 172 Tremont and the dining center will operate under severe restrictions through the last week of in-person classes. Students are slated to attend their final in-person class next Tuesday before returning home through Jan.19, the first day of spring semester classes.

Emerson Athletic Director Pat Nicol also cancelled winter sports practices for the remainder of the semester as soon as she heard about the uptick in cases, she confirmed in an interview with the Beacon.

Wednesday’s dashboard update revealed 12 new positives on 1,935 new tests administered on Nov. 16 and 17, a positivity rate of .6 percent. The number of students in quarantine is up to 25 from four, and the number of students in isolation is up to two from zero.

Cases in Massachusetts continue to soar as the lowest total reported by the state in the past week is 1,967. Nationally, deaths caused by the virus have shot up 42 percent in the last four weeks, according to NBC News. 

“We have a few more days before departing for the semester and we encourage everyone to remain vigilant, wear your masks anytime you’re around other individuals and not alone in your private space, keep physical distance at all times, practice healthy hand hygiene, and continue to follow the testing protocol we have put in place,” Muurisepp’s email reads.