Students at Marist College will continue to learn remotely after efforts to lower cases of COVID-19 are unsuccessful.

Marist has been on a voluntary pause due to an increase of positive test results after St. Patrick's Day week. Last weekend the school saw cases climb to 180, causing in-person classes to be suspended and sending students back to their dorm rooms to learn remotely. Campus activities, sports and in-person dining were also put on pause.

Along with the dining halls, the McCann Recreation Center was also shuttered temporarily in order to lessen the chance of more students becoming sick. Even with all of these precautions, the number of active cases has not gone down. On Thursday the school reported 179 active cases, which is an increase from the day before and brings levels back up to where they were last weekend.

In a letter to students, officials say that they have seen "some encouraging trends in the data," but did not elaborate on what statistics they were referring to. Marist currently has a 3.27% positivity rate. Dutchess County, as well as much of the Hudson Valley region, has also seen an increase in cases over the past few weeks.

Marist College will continue at its "code orange" alert level until at least Wednesday, March 31. The school acknowledged how difficult this current lockdown has been for staff and students, but stressed that it was necessary to get the current outbreak under control.

This is not the spring semester any of us had hoped for. Our students, who have faced so many challenges over the last year, are once again being asked to restrict their activities to help protect their community. Please know that this decision is not taken lightly. We know how difficult and disruptive this pause has been for our students. Be assured that, as soon as it is safe to do so, this pause will be lifted.

Marist says they hope the current restrictions can be lifted soon so students can return to in-person classes and resume sports and activities.

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