STANDISH — A phased exodus of about 800 Saint Joseph’s College students began Monday and will end Friday, following Sunday night’s announcement that the campus was shutting down for the remainder of the semester because of its latest COVID-19 outbreak.

As of Tuesday, 15 students had tested positive within the last week.

Most students have adhered to the “Monk Strong Community Pledge,” a set of guidelines for COVID-19 prevention, said Chief Brand and Marketing Officer Oliver Griswold, but a few incidents of breached protocols, such as indoor gatherings in dorm rooms or student lounges, coincided with an increase in the number of positive cases.

“I think people are just tired. This is a marathon and some folks might just forget and some might be fatigued by the whole process,” Griswold said Tuesday afternoon.

On the other hand, “I think we’re a little more patient with the sense of fatigue and a little less patient when it’s pretty clear that the safety protocols are being ignored.”

“As we’ve seen across the country and around the world, maintaining the vigilance to contain this virus is really difficult. That’s especially true for students experiencing newfound freedom in a college environment,” the announcement from the college read.

The decision to close campus was also a matter of timing.

“It’s safer for everybody if we start testing and sending people home now,” Griswold said, rather than giving students an option to return to campus after the Thanksgiving break or finish out the semester remotely. The decision was made to implement remote learning for all students.

“That’s why we’re treating this as kind of a precautionary measure, sending students home a little early, rather than a reaction to something totally unexpected or scary.”

This is the second outbreak at the private, Catholic, liberal arts college. The campus went into “study in place” mode Sept. 13, a few days after officials announced the first two cases of coronavirus in the community. A total of 11 people tested positive in that outbreak, which lasted a few weeks.

All residential students were required this week to take a COVID-19 test before being cleared to leave campus. Students who test negative must leave campus immediately and those who test positive will be quarantined on-campus. Failure to take an exit test may compromise those students’ ability to return to campus dorms next semester.

Testing was scheduled to be completed Thursday with the last group of students being cleared on Friday.

Commuter students can opt to take a COVID-19 test at the Health and Wellness Center, but are not required.

The college will continue to house students over the break who cannot return home for personal reasons or because of the pandemic.

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