COVID on campus

GROVE CITY, Pa – A Grove City student tested positive for COVID-19 on Aug. 25. It is the first confirmed case on campus.

According to the student, who shall remain anonymous, the day after they arrived on campus, Aug. 19, their boss from the summer notified them that a family they worked with tested positive for COVID meaning they were exposed. 

The student immediately notified a friend who helped them get in contact with Joe Cirelli, Assistant Dean of Student Life and Learning, who became their direct contact.  The student and her roommate immediately quarantined in their room together Aug. 19.  The next day, Cirelli separated the students to designated quarantine dorms on campus.  On Aug. 21, the student was given the option to continue quarantine on campus or at their home to which they chose their home. 

Up to this point, the student had no symptoms until Aug. 21 when they lost their sense of taste.  At the time, Zerbe’s staff was in the midst of setting up logistics for testing, so the student offered to be tested at a CVS in Cranberry.  They were notified Aug. 25 that the test was positive.

“I wasn’t really expecting a positive test but once I found out I wasn’t worried about me, I was worried about all the people I could have infected,” the student said.

According to Student Life, three students, including the roommate, had exposure to the positive student and quarantined for 10 days after their testing according to CDC guidelines.

Zerbe tested eleven other students who had secondhand exposure to the positive student and instructed them to self-isolate for as long as they could.  Within days every test came back negative.

According to Susan Grimm, GCC’s Environmental Health & Safety Specialist, the school handled this case successfully. “Any time you have a first case on something this complex, you’re going to learn on everything you do,” Grimm said.  “But this week was very beneficial to us as far as all the little things that we need to think of.”

Although an outbreak did not emerge from this case, not everyone believes the school handled it well.  “It felt like the school was unprepared and we were confused,” a student involved in the case said. 

However, the student who tested positive appreciated the school’s response, “They were constantly in contact with me,” they said. “Cirelli even called me multiple times just to see how I was.  They made me feel really cared for.”  

Larry Hardesty, Vice President of Student Life and Learning, expressed that it is the school’s number one priority to make sure students feel cared for.  Considering this, many students have expressed a growing concern of being sent home due to COVID. 

“I want us to stay on campus,” senior Rebecca Cloyd says, “and for that to happen we must continue to realize what a sacrifice it is for the faculty to even have us on campus.”

Hardesty expressed that the school has worked tirelessly in preparation for this semester, “We’ve made the investment to build a plan because we want our students to have the experience that they long for.  We recognize that there are elements to their experience that are totally different right now, but sometimes we have to let go of the things that we want so that we can hold on to what we can have.”

When asked about the timeline the school may be in the clear from the threat of COVID Hardesty said, “We are going to have to be diligent all semester.  But if there is a student body that can do it, it’s ours.” 

For more information please see the COVID 19 Positive Case Dashboard – updated every Monday morning – located on the home page of mygcc portal.  If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID 19, report your symptoms on the mygcc portal under the Student tab.  If you have been exposed to COVID 19, directly contact Mr. Hardesty or Mr. Cirelli.   

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