COLCHESTER, VT (NWN) – Halloween parties were a major contributor to the outbreak of COVID-19 cases at St. Michael’s College, which prompted a Vermont school to switch to online instruction Friday, school officials said .
In-person classes resume Monday, but faculty may offer some or all classes through Thanksgiving. All individual student social gatherings have been suspended through Thanksgiving, and guests are no longer allowed on campus.
Seventy-one St. Michael’s students have tested positive for COVID-19 since last Monday.
“We were doing really well as a community up to the point where there were many Halloween parties where the students were spotless and in close contact. …This increase in positive cases points to Halloween parties being a significant part of the problem,” said Dr. Lorraine Steritt said.
In a letter to students, Steritt said the situation was not inevitable and that students who do not follow virus guidelines face “severe sanctions”.
The school is building a new testing center on the campus where any asymptomatic students, faculty and staff can take tests. It is also asking students to limit travel to and from campus for work or educational purposes.