Victoria Mione

Managing Editor

A student who resides in the Park Avenue Residence Halls has tested positive for COVID-19, according to a Tuesday evening email sent to students who live in the building.

The email, sent by Nancy Moran, the interim director of Student Health Services, comes one day after some in-person classes began. On Sept. 9, the university reported there were no confirmed cases on either of the New Jersey campuses at that time. 

“You are receiving this email because a resident in your residence hall has tested positive for COVID-19,” Moran said in the Tuesday email, which The Pillar obtained a copy of. “The student is currently isolating and is not residing in the hall at this time.”

Any person who was in direct contact with the unidentified resident has been contacted by the university’s Health Services department and was instructed to quarantine, Moran continued. Public areas in the residence hall underwent additional cleaning to “reduce the potential risk of transmission.”

Moran did not immediately respond to a reporter’s questions about the confirmed case. Several university officials, including a university spokesperson and the university president, did not immediately respond to requests for comment as of Tuesday evening.

Photo taken by Victoria Mione. 

Surveillance testing of students began last week, and results for those tests were pending as of Sept. 9, according to last week’s university update posted online.

“As cases emerge, we will work with local health departments to complete contact tracing,” said Hania Ferrara, Senior Vice President for Finance & Administration, in the Sept. 9 update. “Those who have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19 will be individually notified by Human Resources (for employees) or Student Health Services (for students) and given appropriate instruction.”

This week’s confirmed case is not the first. One day after the beginning of the fall semester, a staff member on campus also tested positive. At that time, virtually no students were on campus, as classes were largely remote. The staff member, who was described as asymptomatic, was on campus the day they received a positive diagnosis.

FDU students on Tuesday evening expressed concern about the confirmed case at the Park Avenue residence hall.

“When I got the email I was definitely worried about whether or not I had been in contact with the person. I wish they would’ve given a little more information, such as which side and which floor,” said Madelyn Gay, a senior living in the building. “I’m not sure if the school is going to handle it correctly. Only time will tell.”

Students moved into their dorms over Labor Day weekend from Sept. 4 to Sept. 7 after being required to get tested with proof, quarantining at home prior to moving in or quarantining on campus when they arrived. In-person classes began on Sept 14.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that “the incubation period for COVID-19 is thought to extend to 14 days, with a median time of four to five days from exposure to symptoms onset,” and also reported that “97.5% of persons with COVID-19 who develop symptoms will do so within 11.5 days of SARS-CoV-2 infection.”

“I think that this case can determine how long we will be on campus for,” Gay said. “If this one gets handled appropriately, then I will feel more confident in the school’s ability to control the spread of the virus.” 

This is a developing news story. Keep in touch with The Pillar via email and social media to stay updated on all campus news.