Story | Michael Sagna (he/him), Managing Editor
Photo | Darren Ang (he/him)
Two Covid-19 cases have been confirmed on campus. Dave Stanfield, Dean of Students announced the first in an email to students on the morning of Sept. 26. The following day, Stanfield confirmed another case. The second case, he explained, was a suitemate of the first. These are the college’s second and third cases on campus respectively since the start of the pandemic, after a Covid case was discovered in late April.
The first student, an Elm College resident, is symptomatic and stayed at the college during recess week, Dr. Stanfield explained in his email. It is expected that they will be transferred to a medical facility soon, though exactly when is unknown. The case’s close contacts were contacted, and likely received a government-mandated Quarantine Order, which lasts for 10 days after the latest interaction with the infected person.
Under an NUS-wide policy, Yale-NUS students and NUS students residing on campus who are vaccinated were previously expected to self-administer antigen rapid tests on a monthly basis. Unvaccinated students were required to administer the tests weekly. The email did not mention the student’s vaccination status.
However, in an email from NUS sent to students on Sept. 30, it was announced that all vaccinated hostel residents will now have to self-test on a weekly basis, with tests to be taken every Sunday. For unvaccinated residents, this requirement will be twice a week, on Sundays and Wednesdays.
In recent communication with The Octant, Stanfield said that the college’s official vaccination rate was 80%. Despite this, he explained that some students were vaccinated abroad, and have yet to upload their vaccination certificates to uNivUS, NUS’s proprietary student management application. For this reason, Stanfield suspects that the actual rate is slightly higher.
When last year’s case was uncovered in Cendana Tower A, the case’s close contacts were taken to NUS’s Prince George’s Park Residences to serve their government-sanctioned quarantine order. In addition, the entire tower where the student had been residing, Cendana Tower A, was quarantined for a 7-day period to ensure that there had been no linked infections.
In an email to students, Stanfield explained that “The protocols for Covid-19 case management have evolved since our last suspected case several months ago. We do not anticipate needing to place the Elm tower on LOA as of now unless the situation evolves, and the authorities decide otherwise.”
Nevertheless, the locations visited by either of the contacts have been closed since the cases were discovered, awaiting deep cleaning before they can be used. These areas include Elm’s buttery and outdoor seating area, the fitness centre, and the multi-purpose hall.
“In the meantime,” Stanfield wrote, “we urge all students to stay calm, monitor your health closely and be attentive to further updates from the College. Please practice social responsibility and see a doctor immediately if you are unwell to prevent further spread.”
Recently, there has been a significant rise in cases in Singapore, with the country reporting 1,443 cases on Sept. 25. Restrictions are also being tightened, with a return to an in-person dining cap of two vaccinated people effective from Sept. 27, as the government warns cases could more than double to 3,200 per day by next week.
The information in this article was last updated on 30th September.