According to Concord Academy’s case tracking spreadsheet, there were 83 cases of COVID-19 between students and faculty in April, easily surpassing all other recorded months for most cases on campus. From the second week back from winter break until the end of March, there had been just 28 total cases on campus. The April surge at Concord Academy appears to be subsiding as the school year wraps up. In 2022 so far, there have been one hundred student cases at CA, including duplicate cases, representing about one-fourth of the student body.
CA’s changing COVID-19 restrictions, namely the mask mandate being lifted, reimposed, and then lifted again, does not appear to have had a major impact on positive case numbers. However, one may speculate that, without the added layer of protection masks provide, the April surge may have been longer or more severe due to more on-campus spread
It seems that the original source of increased cases is likely school breaks during which the entire community scatters, interacting with many more people who are not testing weekly or closely monitoring symptoms.
The timing of surges in cases at CA have not always mirrored those in the county, the state, or even the country. While the state’s caseload data show a surge in January and gradually increasing cases over the past couple months, information from the Biobot wastewater tracker, which measures the amount of COVID-19 in Boston-area wastewater, shows a slightly more nuanced story. The January surge is still present across both data sets, but the wastewater shows a surge in April, followed by a small drop off, and now increasing levels of COVID-19 in the last week or two, while the state rates showed no surge but rather a very gradual increase that has continued. This tracks nicely with the April surge on campus followed by the quick drop-off, but hints at the possibility of another surge as the year progresses. No doubt formal, packing hundreds of students and chaperones into a crowded space on a boat with few masks worn, would help to accelerate this surge should it come to pass.
Based on case numbers, it appears that the school has handled COVID-19 fairly well this semester. While 155 members of the community have tested positive, most missed just one week of in-person classes and activities. The occasionally fluctuating restrictions have adequately responded to the levels of COVID-19 while recognizing that a fully vaccinated and boosted community is at quite low risk for longer term illness or severe complications resulting from this virus.