Emerson reports 12 positive COVID-19 tests in 8 days of testing


Photo: Zhihao Wu

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

By Charlie McKenna

Emerson has reported 12 positive COVID-19 tests since the start of fall semester testing, according to the college’s dashboard—despite a vaccine mandate for all community members coming to campus on a regular basis. 

The string of positives come as students, staff, and faculty return to the Boston campus from across the world, and in the midst of a resurgence in the pandemic brought on by the Delta variant. Emerson has required all community members to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, meaning the positive tests racked up thus far are most likely “breakthrough” cases, which have become more common due to the variant.

Since the start of the fall testing cycle on Aug. 23, Tufts Medical Center has processed 5,114 tests— a positivity rate of .23 percent. After the first full week of testing last fall, when the pandemic in Massachusetts hit its lowest point before the availability of vaccines—the positivity rate sat at .12 percent. 

No dashboard updates have been released since the resumption of in-person classes on Aug. 31. 

The spread of the Delta variant has yet to spur any policy change from the college, though Acting Mayor Kim Janey reimposed Boston’s indoor mask mandate on Friday. Massachusetts has averaged more than 1,000 new cases of the virus across the last seven days after not crossing that benchmark between May and August. 

As of Wednesday afternoon, three people were in isolation on-campus and one was in quarantine, the dashboard said.

Emerson will mandate masking in all on-campus spaces until “at least” Sept. 17, when the college will shift to a “mask-optional” policy. All community members are required to undergo weekly testing at Tufts Medical Center.