COVID Dashboard: Fall on Campus

Sierra Posey '22, Staff Writer

Berkshire School faculty members, including Amber West, Jean Maher, Peter Quilty, Pieter Mulder and Brooke Humes, worked with determined minds this summer in order to get students safely back to school. With the best interest of the students in mind, the faculty spent their summers studying CDC protocol and courses such as those offered by Johns Hopkins University.  

It was decided through reliable research that the PCR molecular test was to be used as the primary testing resource for the Berkshire School community. COVID-19 Testing coordinator Mrs. West explains this decision in a student interview, “We wanted to keep everyone here as safe as possible, having a test that had a higher accuracy rate was really important.”

Over the course of the first three weeks on campus, Berkshire initiated full rounds of school-wide PCR molecular testing. This number of tests added up to approximately 1600-1800 tests over the course of three weeks. Out of this number, only four turned out to be positive which accounted for the extremely low positivity rate of 0.0025 for the three weeks.

Mrs. West reflected positively upon these results and shared, “These numbers considered safe and almost to be expected in residential communities like this.” Despite the nerve wracking feeling of having any cases on campus, Berkshire is still very much a safe place, as long as the school continues to follow the advised protocol. 

Due to the optimistic outcome of the first weeks of testing, Berkshire is able to move into surveillance mode. This next step means that 30% of Berkshire’s boarding population will be testing on a random circulation each week. Residential and day students will continue weekly surveillance testing to best ensure the safety bubble of the Berkshire community. 

As the Berkshire community continues to become acclimated with the new environment on campus, Mrs. West reflects, “It’s a lot and it’s ok to admit to that and feel that, but also at the same time we need to continue to remember in order to be here it is really important that we continue to follow the measures that we have in place.”

As the community recognizes the difficulty of the situation that resides not only on campus but around the globe, the importance of protecting each other diligently is stressed amongst the members of Berkshire School. Uniting together combined with the strong leadership of the Berkshire faculty is the best resource for making this possible.