DRYDEN, N.Y. — Tompkins Cortland Community College (TC3) announced on Tuesday that its first round of testing, which included 275 faculty, staff and students as the school began in-person classes on Aug. 31, had revealed just one positive coronavirus test.

The tests took place over three days, and the one positive case was not a student who lives on campus. The person who tested positive was asymptomatic and, according to the school, would not have known they were positive if not for the testing regimen. They are now following health department guidelines at an off-campus residence.

“One of the best ways to stop the spread of COVID-19 is to identify positive cases through testing, followed by isolation of positive cases and quarantine of close contacts,“ said Tompkins County Public Health Director Frank Kruppa. “The Health Department uses test results to run contact investigations. We’ve seen many of our positive cases in Tompkins County show up as asymptomatic individuals. TC3’s testing protocols are designed to help identify positives, even if they’re asymptomatic. Along with thorough testing, people should still be wearing a face covering and keeping six feet of distance from one another.”

In its announcement, TC3 emphasized the changes they’ve implemented to deal with the ongoing pandemic, including lowering classroom density and providing remote options for students who don’t feel comfortable returning to in-class learning.

“Our goal this semester is to strike the right balance between protecting the safety of our faculty, staff, and students and providing a flexible and high quality learning experience,” said President Orinthia Montague. “We are thankful to have had the support of our other local higher educational institutions, the SUNY system, the Tompkins County Health Department, and Cayuga Health Systems to ensure a smooth and safe restart to our semester.”

Matt Butler

Matt Butler is the Managing Editor at the Ithaca Voice. He can be reached by email at mbutler@ithacavoice.com