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Holy Cross officials say positive COVID-19 case stems from off-campus party

Worcester, MA - August 23, 2018: St. Joseph Memorial Chapel at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA on August 23, 2018. (Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff) section: Lifestyle reporter:Craig F. Walker

Holy Cross officials say one student has tested positive for COVID-19 following an off-campus party last weekend and described the situation as “profoundly disappointing” in a letter to students Tuesday.

In addition to the one confirmed case, the school said there are “several reported potential positive COVID-19 cases among students who were at Saturday’s gathering.”

“Hosting and attending a gathering of this size, in close quarters, with no masks, is highly irresponsible,” read the letter, signed by Michele Murray, vice president of student affairs and dean of students; Kelsey DeVoe, director of health services; and Paul Irish, associate dean of students.


Public safety officers at the Jesuit college responded to a “large party” at an off-campus apartment rented by Holy Cross students, according to the letter. None of the people attending the party wore masks or followed social distancing guidelines, the letter noted.

“The students responsible for the party will be held accountable under our Community Standards process,” officials said in the letter.

Holy Cross announced earlier this month it would pivot to remote learning this fall after initially planning to have students back on campus, joining a list of higher-learning institutions that have reversed their plans this summer.

Governor Charlie Baker announced new restrictions earlier this month in response to a concerning uptick in cases, which included banning indoor and outdoor gatherings where people cannot maintain 6 feet of distance.

In their letter Tuesday, Holy Cross officials said the responsibility is on students to adhere to rules and guidelines issued by the state to slow the virus’s spread.

“Put it simply: We will not be able to welcome back the entire campus community, or even a larger cohort than we have this fall, if students cannot demonstrate the self-discipline, mutual respect, and care for others by following requirements to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” the officials said.


Nick Stoico can be reached at Follow him @NickStoico.