Berea College Prepares for Coronavirus

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Even though there are currently no recorded cases of COVID-19 in Madison County, that hasn’t stopped officials at Berea College from laying out a plan to combat the virus.

In a letter sent out by Berea College President Lyle Roelofs this afternoon, a tentative plan of action for both individuals who have come in contact with someone who has been diagnosed with the novel Coronavirus and those who have been diagnosed themselves was revealed.

“If we become aware of any member of the College community having come in contact with someone having a confirmed case of Coronavirus illness,” the letter reads, “a two-week quarantine is necessary.” This involves the following actions: 

  • For faculty and staff, that would be a self-quarantine at home for that duration. An employee required to undertake self-quarantine would not be required to use sick time, and, to the extent possible, would be expected to undertake whatever responsibilities might be conducted through email, phone communication, etc. 
  • For students, quarantine space has been identified, labor would be excused, food will be delivered, and any course participation would need to be via on-line methods.
  • COVID-19 testing, as mandated by state and local health officials, will follow any period of quarantine. Individual(s) must be cleared before returning to campus and normal activities.

However, if the on-campus individual has contracted the virus themselves, a different set of guidelines would apply.

“At that point local government and health officials will step in and do contact tracing to identify others who may have been exposed”, President Roelofs stated in his letter. “The number of contacts any one of us has with others will make that complicated, and the number identified would likely be appreciable. In that event, all options will be considered but there may be no alternative but to close the campus under guidance from state and local health officials.”

Students who are able to travel home would be expected to do so under this contingency plan, and those who aren’t will be accommodated on campus with known contacts of the infected person(s) quarantined in so far as the college is able. 

“Non-essential” employees would be required to not report to work, except as directed by their supervisor. These employees would be expected to work remotely to the extent which would be possible.

Roelofs reminds campus residents that these guidelines are subject to change based on updated conditions regarding the illness.

Additional information and campus bulletins regarding COVID-19 can be found online at www.Berea.edu.