All UConn dorms under quarantine; prisons plan video visits

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HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — The University of Connecticut on Friday placed all dormitories under quarantine at its main campus because of rising coronavirus infections, and school officials said all 5,000 residential students will be tested before leaving for the Thanksgiving break.

UConn placed five more dormitories under full quarantine Friday, adding to the five put under full quarantine on Wednesday, said Eleanor Daugherty, associate vice president and dean of students.

All other residence halls in Storrs are under a “modified” quarantine, meaning students are allowed to leave their dorms only for in-person classes and essential research and clinical activities.

“We don’t have the COVID spread under control,” Daugherty wrote in a notification to students. “This is about family, my friends. We all want to go home and be with our loved ones. It is essential that we return home to our families in our best health.”

UConn on Friday reported an additional seven residential students, 24 students who live off-campus and one employee tested positive for the coronavirus since Thursday. It was the highest daily total of positive student tests this semester. Since Wednesday, 35 residential students, 44 off-campus students and two employees have tested positive.

A total of 288 residential students and 181 students who live off-campus have tested positive for the virus this semester. UConn officials said the positive test rate for residential students is 1.2%, lower than that state’s daily average of just over 4% over the past two weeks.

In-person student activities and use of the recreation center have been suspended through Nov. 20.

PRISON VIDEO VISITS

The state Department of Correction will launch a new program Monday allowing prisoners to visit with family and friends via video conference free of cost, as part of efforts to contain the coronavirus.

Prison officials announced the program Friday. It will be rolled out initially at the Manson Youth, Brooklyn and Carl Robinson prisons, and then to other facilities at a later date.

The department said the program will especially benefit family and friends who live far away, have no form of transportation, or have mobility problems.

The agency also is continuing in-person, non-contact visits that were reinstated last month.

The state will not be charging fees for the video visits. Prison agencies on other states charge up to nearly $8 for one 30-minute video visit, Connecticut officials said.

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