School stops providing contact tracing and isolation housing for infected students – NBC Boston
Harvard students will soon return to campus and find new COVID-19 policies in place.
school announced last week that it will no longer provide contact tracing due to high volume, so students who test positive will need to self-report close contacts.
“I would be comfortable doing it myself,” said Harvard freshman Cristian Gaines. “I would like to make sure we’re transparent with each other. I think that’s the most important thing right now.”
The school will also no longer provide isolation accommodation for students who test positive.
Students will be required to self-isolate in most cases, but may request alternate accommodation.
“I sleep four feet from my roommate, so if one of us tested positive, the other would be screwed,” said freshman Evan Gleason. “Almost certainly end with COVID.”
Dr. Lara Jirmanus is a clinical instructor at Harvard Medical School and disagrees with the new policies.
“Harvard has made it clear that its COVID policy is ‘Let Them Get Sick,'” Jirmanus said. “Ending isolation and contact tracing altogether for the entire spring semester is irresponsible, and Harvard University knows it best.”
Jirmanus, who is also a fellow at the Harvard School of Public Health, worries about the virus spreading if students self-isolate in their dorms.
“They share bedrooms and bathrooms,” Jirmanus said. “They sleep in the same room with other people. They’re practically guaranteed to make their roommates sick.”
On its website, Harvard says most infected people on campus have minimal symptoms, and the school requires all students and staff to be reinforced and encourage strict masking protocols.
The school declined an interview on the new policies, but pointed to his online advice for COVID-19 cases in his community.
“Being roommates with someone who’s sick, if it was me, I’d probably find a way to not be in that room during this time,” freshman Diego Sotelo said.