More than 250 students at Merrimack College in North Andover are in quarantine after 16 students in one residence hall tested positive for COVID-19 in the past day, officials said.
The 16 new cases follow one other positive test result from a student who lives in Monican Centre, bringing the total number to 17, Merrimack College said in a statement.
The college was made aware of five new cases by 8 a.m. Tuesday, and by 5 p.m., the number of new cases grew to 16, the statement said.
Of the 266 students who live in the residence hall, more than 250 are quarantining off-campus, and the remaining students are isolating in campus-designated quarantine spaces, the statement said.
The students should plan to remain in quarantine for 14 days or until the college contacts them with further information, the statement said.
They will attend classes remotely and faculty should assist students them with whatever help they may need to learn online, according to the statement.
Monican Centre is empty and will be systemically and professionally cleaned before anyone moves back in, the statement said.
“The College considers the number of positive cases in Monican Hall concerning, and is moving aggressively through its protocols of contact tracing, isolation and quarantining to minimize the effect on the campus and community,” the college said in the statement.
College officials anticipate more positive tests as the result of their “aggressive testing” of students who live in the residence hall, the statement said. The college conducted surveillance testing on more than 150 students as they entered quarantine and are awaiting the results.
All students who live in other residence halls will need to be tested by 5 p.m. Wednesday, school officials said. Students, faculty, and staff who have been in close contact with one of the students who tested positive will be contacted by the college’s contact tracing team.
The college will remain open, school officials said.
Outside of Monican Hall, three other community members—two commuters and one staff member—tested positive for COVID-19, the statement said.