Second Smith student in isolation over coronavirus concerns

  • The Grecourt Gates of Smith College on Elm Street in Northampton. KEVIN GUTTING

Staff Writer
Published: 2/4/2020 11:53:05 PM

NORTHAMPTON — Smith College is evaluating a second student for potential exposure to the new coronavirus at the center of an outbreak in China, though campus officials say there is no risk to the Smith community.

In a letter to campus Tuesday evening, Susan Etheredge, the college’s dean, and Tara Dumont, the college physician, said a student who traveled to Hubei province in China — the epicenter of the outbreak — is in isolation after experiencing cold-like symptoms.

The case is unrelated to another student who over the weekend was placed in voluntary isolation after possibly traveling on a flight with a Boston man who later tested positive for the respiratory virus.

“Today, the student contacted the Schacht Center for Health and Wellness to report cold-like symptoms,” the letter said. “The college immediately contacted the [Department of Public Health], which directed the student to an emergency room for evaluation in light of her symptoms and travel history.”

The letter goes on to say that the student is not considered a “person under investigation” under the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s clinical guidelines, and that the state Department of Public Health did not recommend testing for coronavirus at this time.

“Medical staff will remain in contact with the student and DPH, and she will remain in isolation for several days in compliance with CDC guidelines,” Etheredge and Dumont said. “At this time, under CDC and DPH guidance, there is no identified risk to the Smith community.”

On Sunday, Smith notified its campus that a student with cold-like symptoms was being evaluated after possibly traveling on the same flight as a University of Massachusetts Boston student who came down with coronavirus.

In its letter on Monday, the college said that student has left voluntary isolation after being symptom-free for 24 hours.

Dusty Christensen can be reached at

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