Multiple First Year Orientation Guides (FROGs) confirmed to The Breeze that Kristina Blyer, interim director of medical services in the University Health Center, told a group of FROGs during a training session Wednesday night that if the university has to quickly quarantine multiple groups of over 50 individuals, senior leadership may move to send JMU’s student body home.
A FROG who was in the training session with Blyer said she explained that if in multiple instances, someone who tested positive was in a situation involving more than 50 individuals, the necessity of quarantining and isolating multiple groups of 50 or more would quickly push the university’s quarantine and isolation space limitations.
“[Blyer] said, ‘If this were to happen, if we were to get enough people that are, like, at these 50-person gatherings and they have [COVID-19] and we have to quarantine all these students, the university will shut down,’” one of the FROGs who was at the meeting and who requested anonymity, said.
Caitlyn Read, director of communications and university spokesperson, said that while the move to dismiss the student body isn’t decided on any single component, the push on space limitation is on the list of “trigger events” for sending students home. Other trigger events include local prevalence of COVID-19, the capacity of local healthcare providers and the availability of PPE in the University Health Center, among other possible factors, Read said in an email.
“There’s a number of factors we’re watching that might trigger a closure,” Read said. “One of them is if we run out of isolation and quarantine space, but it’s no one trigger that’s going to immediately send us into, ‘Everybody goes home’ … It is on our list of trigger events, if we run out of isolation and quarantine space.”
Read said in an email that the university currently has at least 130 beds for individuals who need to quarantine or isolate locally instead of going home. Blyer was unavailable for comment, per Read.
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