Medical Campus Students Were Warned Of Possible Exposure To COVID-19

A professor told a group of Medical Campus students taking a face-to-face class to self-quarantine on July 13 because they might have been exposed to the coronavirus after someone tested positive, according to an email obtained by The Reporter

It’s unclear if the person who tested positive is a student or works at MDC or how many students received the letter. 

Ramona Edwards, the director of campus administration at Medical Campus, said there have been a “handful” of positive cases among students taking face-to-face classes this summer. She could not provide a specific number Tuesday evening. 

“There are a few examples like this, and proactive measures have been taken to protect all students and faculty,” said MDC Spokesperson Juan C. Mendieta in a comment. “Beyond the student self-reporting, we have no evidence of anyone else testing positive. We have no evidence of transmission nor spread within the College. The health and safety of all students and employees remains the top priority.”

United Faculty of Miami Dade College President Elizabeth Ramsay said the email, sent on July 13, was written by administrators and sent by a health science professor, who asked to remain anonymous.

 Dear Student,

It has come to our attention that, unfortunately, you may have been recently exposed to COVID-19. Since we do not know if you will develop COVID-19, you will need to self-quarantine for 14 days from the day you were exposed, which was on July 7th, 2020. This means that you will not be allowed on campus until July 22nd, 2020. 

I want to reassure you that everything will be done to keep you on task for clinicals and labs when you return. Be safe.

Thank you for your time and patience. 

“I was asked to forward this to the students in my group that were around the person that returned with a positive test,” the professor wrote in a follow-up email to Ramsay. “The students continued to ask questions about the incident, including students who did not receive the letter.  One of the students on this list was asked to self-quarantine [and] has since gotten symptoms.”

The health science class is one of 24 classes that have been offered face-to-face since the summer term began on June 1 because they could not be replicated online. These classes include massage therapy, veterinary technology, clinical lab science, aviation, engineering, fashion, law enforcement, child care classes and more. Thirteen of these classes are being held at Medical Campus. 

Face-to-face classes are being held on a rotating basis. Not all of the students are on campus at the same time and some of the work is completed from home. 

Everyone is required to wear a mask. They are administered a temperature check and asked whether they’ve had any coronavirus-related symptoms or traveled anywhere in the last 14 days before being allowed on campus. 

MDC announced last week that the first four weeks of the fall semester will be held online with the possibility of resuming face-to-face classes in a limited capacity by Sept. 28. A small number of classes that cannot be replicated online will continue to be offered face-to-face. 

If classes return, social distancing will be practiced. Classes will be taught on a rotating schedule. Rooms will be limited to 10-15 students, and must be cleaned in between classes and at the end of the day.

A day after MDC released the plan, UFMDC penned a strongly worded letter to the administration saying the fall semester should be fully online. They argued that it’s “impossible” to implement social distancing, sanitize classrooms and ensure adequate ventilation on campus if students return. 

They also released a petition requesting that classes remain remote the entire fall semester. It has garnered more than 460 signatures. 

Their concerns echo that of the United Faculty of Florida, who urged state officials to hold the fall semester fully online during a press conference yesterday afternoon. They represent more than 20,000 professors from 12 public universities and colleges across Florida. 

Representatives from UFMDC held a conference call Tuesday morning with administrators to voice their concerns, but no changes were announced, Ramsay said. 

“We are disappointed with the outcome today,” Ramsay said following the meeting. “We know that most students would prefer to have this option as would almost all faculty.”