NORTH ANDOVER — Merrimack College has closed a residence hall following an outbreak of COVID-19 school officials say resulted from a party last weekend.
In an email to the college community sent Saturday morning, Merrimack College Vice President Jeffrey Doggett said that the St. Anne Apartments were officially closed as of 10 a.m. and will remain closed for the remaining five days of the semester. While many students living in the building have already departed, those who remain are quarantining in their dorm rooms.
“We have now received the test results from Wednesday and Thursday and we see an increase especially in one residence hall, St. Anne Apartments which is a smaller residence on the campus with about 60 residential students remaining,” wrote Doggett. “We believe the increase in St. Anne’s is a direct result of an indoor unsanctioned student gathering last weekend.”
Doggett said the college was slow in identifying the new cases in the residence hall because of processing delays from the Broad Institute, which has been doing the school’s COVID-19 testing.
“The impact of processing delays in receiving test results from the Broad Institute slowed our ability to swiftly identify and isolate positive cases and quarantine those who may have come in contact with those positive cases,” wrote Doggett.
St. Anne Apartments was not the first residence hall at the college to get hit with the virus. On Sept. 16, the college identified 16 cases of the virus tied to one case reported out of Monican Hall the week before. The school responded by placing all 266 students who live in Monican Hall on quarantine. In total, more than 90 cases were associated with that outbreak.
In addition to closing down St. Anne Apartments, college officials have asked students who remain on campus to get tested on Friday, have changed the guest policies in the residence halls and have asked faculty to teach their classes online “at their discretion.”